me to desist. Fortunately I refused to listen to them, and much valuable property was saved from the enemy's grasp. My previous conduct in such matters has been very reprehensible. Transportation of incalculable value has fallen into possession of the enemy because I have had the weakness to listen to individual complaints. Not one owner in ten thousand will admit the necessity of surrendering his property until the enemy is at his door, when it is too late.
The views expressed by the lieutenant-general commanding as to the policy of removing property likely to fall into the enemy's hands were correct, and I shall follow them in future. The rage for cotton speculation has reached all classes of the people. Foreigners of every hue and of all religions are swarming over the land, and Confederate currency near the lines has ceased to have even a nominal value. I have ordered all persons coming within our lines arrested and sent here under guard with their letters, papers, and all money other than gold or Confederate currency. Unless the most stringent measures are adopted we shall soon have Federa currency-national or bank-the common currency of the country to the entire exclusion of Confederate paper.
Notwithstanding my warm sympathies with the sufferings of our people, I am now convinced of the necessity for destroying every pound of cotton likely to reach the enemy. The possession of any large amount of cotton will in the end destroy the patriotism of the best citizen as surely as water will in time wear away stone, unless the certainly exists that he cannot realize the value of the cotton under Federal rule. I have been extremely cautious about speaking of the policy to be adopted in case the enemy invades the country, yet I understand the impression prevails that no cotton, baled or in seed, within the enemy's reach, and I shall continue these ordes until otherwise directed from department headquarters. Major douglas reports that two guns are in position at Harrisonburg, and that he will retain them. Every possible felicity has been furnished Major Douglas to push on the Ouachita defenses.
Your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., February 21, 1864.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose for your information copy of a communication from Major-General Walker, giving information of a reported engagement between the forces of Generals Polk and Sherman near jackson, Miss. The lieutenant-general commanding directs me, in acknowledging the receipt of your communication asking that General Walker's division be sent to you, to say that it is evident from the information forwarded by General Walker, as well as the fact of the enemy having lately moved from Vicksburg, that Mobile is the main point to which their efforts are directed. The mounting of their infantry in lower Louisiana may look to operations on a small scale in Texas this spring in conjunction with their