culties to contend against, and it will require patience and attention to correct them. I regret I have not funds and stores to furnish you what you require. The quartermaster's department has had no money for months, and all my officers are compelled to give certified accounts. You shall have money as soon as we are provided. I will see that Winfield's battalion is paid; if necessary will send my paymaster to do it. You must endeavor to have rigid camp orders to collect and hold this battalion.
As regards Powers' regiment and Carter's battalion, you will have to be a little patient. I would allow the captains three weeks to complete their organizations, and if they did not do it in that time I would then consolidate or conscript the men. Inform them of this and it may bring them in. I intend sending some troops to your locality who don't live there, and will be able to enforce this order, I purpose that General Ferguson's brigade be sent to your district, at least until your command can be organized an moved from their homes. At present he will not be able to come, as the enemy are threatening a formidable move from Vicksburg in this direction, and he is required here. If you inform me what officers you need I will try and supply you; will approve of your application for the two officers you mention. The quartermaster and commissary, I think, I will be able to send you. As regards the battery, you shall have one so soon as you have men to take care of it. I do not think it prudent to supply you now.
The existing orders are to use every effort to prevent the illicit traffic which is so demoralizing our people on the frontiers. The order is to confiscate all teams and property engaged in the trade. You can burn the cotton and use the wagons, &c., goods coming from the enemy to be confiscated. I do not desire you to resist forcibly the writs saved on you, but see that the property is protected by bonds and kept out of the hands of the parties trading. Where the case is perfectly clear, in the absence of the proper commission, it is best to auction them off at once, making the paymaster responsible for the goods, and keeping a record of the sale, &c. As regards cotton, the paper you referred to was not received. Cotton liable to fall into the hands of the enemy must be destroyed, and particularly Government cotton. Where you find a few bales n the hands of the poor it has not been my custom to destroy, and to destroy only where the amount would be an inducement to the enemy.
Write freely as to your wants and views, and you shall have all the assistance in my power to give. I suppose Major Elliott, my inspector, has visited you before this. I send the circular* concerning the paroled prisoners issued by General Polk.
I am, colonel, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Ewing's Plantation, February 2, 1864.
Colonel P. C. WOODS,
SIR: Your communication dated 9 p. m. reached me at 6 a. m. You will inquire into and report the cause of this delay. The desertion of 157 men with arms in their hands and at the same time