of a military necessity paramount to every other consideration, It is our firm conviction that Orders, Numbers 28, in which General Magruger sought to the extent of his power to thwart the effects of unscrupulous enterprise, would have accomplished its object had it not been revoked.
* * * * * * *
We have the honor, &c.,
A. W. TERRELL,
T. J. DEVINE.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., March 4, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel W. J. HUTCHINS,
Chief of Texas Cotton Office:
COLONEL: The contracts of Bouldin, riggs & Walker and of contacts approved at department headquarters have been revoked, and your office will necessarily be laked to as the great medium for furnishing the department with supplies. I have considered carefully the matter, an feeling the importance of prompt, systematic action, I have determined upon systematizing the workings of your office, so that there shall be but one set of Government agents in the market, and that the supplies may be obtained promptly without competition and be distributed properly and expeditiously. Your office is the purchasing agency for the department, but it can neither judge of the quantity nor the quantity of the supplies required. Especially is this the case ordnance department, in which the purchase of articles is a specialty, requiring a peculiar experience, if not professional acquirements. Many class of ordnance stores must be proved and tested before being purchased. the introduction of a large amount of bad powder through the Mexican frontier, in which the nitrate of soda instead of the nitrate of potash entered as a component part, caused our troops to be defeated on the Arkansas, and resulted in the loss of the greater portion of the Indian Territory.
The chiefs of the several departments must judge of the quantities of supplies required by the necessities of their departments. They will be directed to furnish lists required for the consumption of the nest twelve months. These lists will be forwarded through the adjutant-general's office at department headquarters for your governments and guidance. All supplies purchased by your agents will be turned over to officers designated by the chiefs of the ordnance, quartermaster, and subsistence departments at headquarters, to be received by them at the general depots, and to be distributed according to the necessities of the several districts. I have directed Major S. J. Lee to report to you, as a purchasing agent of ordnance and ordnance stores. He was selected by me for this duty, just previous to the organization of your office, for his integrity, business capacity, and experience. In addition to his qualifications he will be acceptable to the chiefs of ordnance, General Huger and Major Rhett, with whom, and yourself, it is important there should be cordial understanding. I would recommend that the agents for the purchase of ordnance stores be entirely distinct from the agents for the purchase of quartermaster and commissary supplies.