In regard to the sale of the three vessels to which you allude, the sale would be an assumption of power, and you can judge for yourself of the necessity, are much more familiar with the whole matter than he is, and make the sale or not upon your own responsibility, as you may deem best for the interests of the Government.
In reference to the cotton already impressed by Colonel Benavides and by Major Dickinson in San Antonio, to which you allude, the commanding general instructs me to say that those orders have probably been executed, and there is no necessity in now revoking them. Since the organization of the cotton office it is better and will prevent confusion for all future impressments of cotton to be made through that office. He further instructs me to add that the complication of our affairs with Mexico growing out of the seizure of the Government cotton and public funds, with the tacit sanction of the Mexican authorities, will for the present prevent any compliance with your promise of sending 1,000 bales for Colonel Benavides to Monterey. The cotton office will be instructed as soon as its liabilities will admit of it to place the cotton at that point for the purpose indicated. In this connection he deems it proper to inform you that he has made arrangements by which he is confident he will soon be able to place probably $1,000,000 in sterling exchange in the hands of a trusty agent in Mexico for the purpose of paying for army stores, &c.
In reference to the third point of inquiry, the commanding general instructs me to say that the cotton office has no power to exempt slaves from impressment for the use of private individuals. Where they require for their own use any large number of slaves for service in their operations they should apply to the labor bureau. In their general authority to impress it may become necessary for them to impress negroes, in which event they will be directed to notify the labor bureau the number impressed, the names of their owners, and the counties where they reside. In carrying out the policy which the cotton office may wish to adopt, should it be deemed advisable by them to exempt the slaves of planters whilst transporting cotton under authority from that office and for which the Government is to be benefited, they will be instructed to consult with you before adopting and carrying out their policy, in order that there may be no collision or interference with the labor bureau. He further instructs me to inclose the within order relieving Colonel Ford from duty and directing him to report to you.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. WEST,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT INDIAN TERRITORY, Doaksville, Choctaw Nation, January 16, 1864.
Captain R. W. LEE,
Insp. General and Mustering Officer, 3rd Choctaw Regiment, Present:
CAPTAIN: In mustering the Third Choctaw Regiment into Confederate service I desire you to inform them that they will not be taken beyond the limits of the Indian Territory unless by their consent; that to be of any value to themselves or their own people they