thereby making it probable that much of their cotton was transferred to Mexican hands at San Antonio, and might pass out of the country safely as Mexican property. The enemy did advance as far as Roma. The object of the order was to save the cotton, both of the Government and country, from falling into his hands and to gain time, until I could make my military arrangements for protecting its transit. These arrangements were made promptly, and before even I knew of the publication of the order organizing the bureau. I announced that the cotton of the Government and people could then pass in safety, and revoked my prohibitory order.
At the time the letter was published I also ordered that cotton should not be transported, either public or private, on the railroad until further orders, because the army, men and horses, had nearly been starved for the want of provisions and forage, by the indisposition of the subordinate employes of the railroads to permit these articles to be transported over their roads while cotton paid them so much better. This prohibition had been made some time previous as to private cotton, and it was now extended to Government cotton, as the transportation of troops and supplies from the Sabine, where Lieutenant-General Smith had ordered me to mass them, with a view of marching to Cotile, on Red River, back to the relief of Saluria, taxed all the means of the railroads to their utmost capacity, and I did not and shall never hesitate, when the safety of the country demands it, to order the transportation of troops and supplies over railroads in preference to cotton, Government or private, whenever the transportation of the latter interferes with that of troops and supplies, and of this I cannot consent, in the absence of specific orders in each case from some officer superior in rank to myself, that anybody shall be the judge except the proper officer of the Quartermaster's Department charged with the transportation of troops and supplies. Accordingly, before the reception of Lieutenant-General Smith's instructions, through Captain West, assistant adjutant-general, I had informed the cotton bureau that whenever they had cotton to send over the roads, Captain Garey, assistant quartermaster, Provisional Army, C. S., at Houston, charged with the duty, would give orders for the transportation of such cotton over the roads whenever it did not interfere with that of troops and supplies, which must in all cases have preference. Thus it will be seen that I could not have made other arrangements to guard and protect the districts intrusted to my charge. I will here mention that as soon as the danger of the enemy's moving up Matagorda Peninsula became apparent, I proceeded in person to the mouths of the Caney and San Bernard, near which places I concentrated the larger portion of the army under my command, and finding that the mouths of those rivers could be easily and strongly fortified, so as to retard or prevent a successful flank movement by the enemy into the richest part of Texas, I called upon the planters of Fort Bend, Matagorda, and Brazoria Counties for their negroes to do this work promptly, and my agents found that a number of negroes had been exempted by the cotton bureau from impressment. Not believing that such a power as this could have been conferred upon the cotton bureau to act thus independently of myself, I caused these exemptions to be revoked, and directed the cotton bureau to be informed that the labor of the country was required for its defense. Again, before I left that region, a vessel with 300 arms and some 20,000 pounds of