War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0834 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.

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ton to meet this new demand, and these other gentleman I knew had, and not having the remotest idea that the Board would be under any orders but mine, and the commanding general of the department through me, so far as these military interests were involved, I wished to prevent any hasty action on their part in reference to these two contracts, and to have a personal interview with them as soon as I could be spared from the front. With this view I hastened to Houston, and learned that Lieutenant-Colonel Broadwell had been sent to Shreveport with the complaints of this Board, which, without the courtesy of a reference to me for explanation by the commanding general, in accordance with the usages of the service, produced the only offensive official letter ever received by me since I have been a soldier. On my arrival in Houston I had a short interview with two members of the Board, and finding that but few slaves had been exempted by them, I confirmed them, but shall publish an order in a few days confining this power entirely to the labor bureau, to which the cotton office, and all others in the District of Texas, must apply for exemptions, otherwise there will be endless confusion. This power, I presume, is not intended by the order of the lieutenant-general to be conferred upon the cotton bureau.

Whilst at Victoria, and of course in ignorance of Lieutenant-General Smith's decision in relation to Cortina, learning that the Mexican soldiers who had stood by Colonel Benavides, C. S. Army, had remained perfectly faithful, withstanding the tempting offers of the Federal officers, had not been paid for six months, and that their families were in a destitute and starving condition, I authorized him to impress 250 bales of cotton with which to pay his men, and directed Major Dickinson to impress 250 more and place it to his credit in Monterey. I also informed Colonel Benavides that I would send, if possible, to Monterey 1,000 additional bales, all of which will probably realize $ 150,000 in coin, and I directed him to buy arms from the Federal soldiers, and deserters, and to offer such inducements as would probably bring to his standard the whole of the border population of Mexico, and thus entirely defeat the plans of the enemy there. I also promised to use my influence to make him a brigadier-general as soon as he raised a brigade. I am satisfied that this is the only plan by which the cotton trade to Mexico can be protected, and if that or something similar be not adopted, the trade will not remain open six months.

If Lieutenant-General Smith, however, disapproves of my course it is not too late for him to countermand my orders. I have to state that I revoked the orders concerning Cortina before Lieutenant-General Smith's decision was made known to me, because I found a better mode and a better man for accomplishing the same thing. The above is a statement of what has occurred during my absence to the front, from Houston, as fast as I recollect, not having my records with me, and I desire specific instructions from Lieutenant-General Smith upon the following points, viz: First. Whether I am to fulfill my agreement with Mr. House, for the procurement of our arms from Vera Cruz, making use of the steamer Clifton and the bark Cavallo, in addition to such transportation as Mr. House may have or can otherwise procure. Second. Whether or not I am to revoke my instructions to Colonel Benavides. Third. Whether my decision that the cotton bureau shall apply to the labor bureau for the exemption of slaves is sustained by the lieutenant-general commanding or not. With regard to the first, it is my duty to state