lines as was necessary and compelled such arrangements as will secure to the general commanding information from time to time of the forces, designs, an movements of the enemy, as well as other information of general use to the Confederacy. I have also placed within the lines a person who will within the next dew weeks traverse a large part of the West and North, gathering all the general movements of the enemy, their strength, and future plans as far as an individual can. This person is a highly intelligent and observant lady, and one who from her connections has access to influential and popular leaders of different political parties. She proposes to be in Richmond during the month of April. Letters by flag of truce, chemically prepared, will be sent me at Fort Valley, Ga., as that was the best point I could arrange for the present, and I respectfully suggest that I be sent there or a time at least. These agents will be named to the department commander or yourself if deemed prudent.
I trust the letter forwarded you on my route from time to time have been received and were useful. I regret to say that the condition of affairs in Northwestern Mississippi exhibits much demoralization, and the none of feeling toward the South is much weakened. This is attributable to the association with Yankees in Memphis, the want of protection afforced against robbers, and a depreciated currency of no value in procuring such supplies as the necessities of the people demand.
Immediately upon the withdrawal of the forces of General Forrest from the line of the Tallahatchie a general movement of cotton took place toward Memphis, and not less than 2,000 bales were carried in. The excuse for this traffic with the enemy was the necessity for procuring food and clothing for family use and for relatives in the Confederate army, and in some instances it was true, but in very many cases it was for the purposes of speculation and extortion, and to carry into memphis such information as would be of use to the Yankees in their future raids.
This traffic is encountered by the Federals for many reasons - for the cotton, for the purpose of obtaining from the citizens of the South an oath of allegiance to the United States, thus giving foundation to the reports of a returning Union sentiment throughout the country, and by this means encouragement to the Federal administration.
No one can buy or sell produce or supplies without taking the oath, and the practice is dangerous in its effects and pernicious in its influence, and whether regarded as binding or not by those who take it creates them in law, if not in fact, alien enemies, and I have found that those who associate much with Yankees adopt many of their opinions.
I find that of late some very influential and wealthy citizens of Memphis have gone back and taken the oath to secure their property, collect their rents, &c., and those, too, who were loudest in their professions of attachment to the South, telling of their sacrifices for her welfare and the sons given to sustain her in her hour of trial, but no word has been said of their increased wealth by speculation and extortion. Some of those persons have large property among us. The following persons are among the number: W. B. Greenlaw owns a large amount of cotton in the South, has taken oath; Newton Ford;
Flarrity owns property in Selma; a brother of W. K. Brinkley collects his rents in Memphis. Such men as these influence others.