War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0836 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.

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cases, I would refer the contract to them as soon as possible, and look to them for the cotton for its fulfillment.

I expected also that they would report from time to time their operations to and correspond with the lieutenant-general commanding through me. In short, I could not imagine an independence of all military authority of a body of gentlemen, of however exalted reputations in the management of a matter so closely connected with the efficiency and very existence of the army, and if they are controlled by any military man at all, it certainly should be by the general commanding the district in which they are operating, at least as far as the wants of the army and the military necessities of his district demand it. Having declined in this communication to obey the order of Lieutenant-General Smith which directs me to confer with my junior officer as to my military action, and many grave interests remaining in abeyance until he can be heard from, I have the honor to request that this communication be answered at the earliest convenience of the lieutenant-general commanding department.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

P. S. - A copy of Captain West's letter* is inclosed for the reference of the lieutenant-general, as he may, being in the field, not have the records of his office with him.

N. B. - That paragraph in Captain Alston's order stating that Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchins will exercise "his discretion in executing any order upon the subject of cotton previously issued from these headquarters" I directed to be revoked.

Although I left instructions with Captain Alston to facilitate the establishment of a cotton bureau, I have no recollection of having agreed to issue such an order as that contained in that paragraph. No censure, however, is attached to Captain Alston, to whom I gave [the] general instructions above mentioned.

J. B. M.

Since writing the above I have calculated the quantity of cotton that can be taken to Vera Cruz at one time by all the means of marine transportation at our control in Texas, including the steamer Clifton, the bark Cavallo, and the Harriet Lane, captured from the enemy, which will be about 2,500 bales, and as I estimate that it will take about 8,000 or 9,000 bales to pay for the arms, they cannot be introduced under three months and a half. Upon a careful inspection at Galveston, I find that the Harriet Lane cannot be as useful in the defense of the harbor as her guns in a fort, which I have ordered to be erected at Bolivar Point. As she has been pronounced by the navy officers as being unfit for a cruiser, and as she and the Clifton would fall into the hands of the enemy or have to be destroyed in case of the occupation of the post by them, I propose to sell her (her value being already appraised), as well as the Clifton, to Mr. Champlin, have her loaded with cotton, and send her and the Clifton out, with supercargoes on board representing the Government, to sell the cargoes and pay for the arms at Vera Cruz, with an understanding that both vessels are to be sold and the pro


* See Vol. XXVI, Part II, p. 538.