HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
New Orleans, La., November 19, 1864.
Major General J. J. REYNOLDS,
Mouth of White River:
In case any of General Dana's posts should be threatened by a large force you will, please, when called upon to, render such assistance as the state of affairs in Arkansas and other circumstances will permit.
E. R. S. CANBY,
HEADQUARTERS NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Mouth of White River, Ark., November 19, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff, U. S. Armies, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have seen in the hands of traders a printed document, "relative to the purchase of products of insurrectionary States, Executive Mansion, September 24, 1864." The last paragraph (8) of this executive orders directs the Secretary of War to make regulations, &c., and further directs the Secretary of the Navy to issue instructions in conformity therewith. No regulations from the War Department have been received at this point, nor at any other, as far as I can learn, but the purchasing agent at Memphis, Mr. George H. Ellery, claims that the President's order is nevertheless effective at the present time, and has given permits to purchase and transport cotton to Memphis. (See inclosure Numbers 1.) General N. B. Buford seems to agree with Mr. Ellery. (See inclosures 2 and 3.) Attention is also invited to Admiral S. P. Lee's General Orders, Numbers 9, inclosed. Mr. Ellery, "as an especial favor," has furnished one George L. Nicholls with a printed copy of his (Mr. Ellery's) instructions from the Secretary of the Treasury, dated october 5, 1864. (See inclosure Numbers 4) Now comes the above-named George L. Nicholls, armed with all the above-named documents, and claims to land bagging, rope, &c., at any point in Arkansas or Mississippi, and further claims not only permission, but protection from the military and naval forces on the Mississippi River and its tributaries (he has gone now up White River to make purchases), to aid him in his speculation. (See paragraph 5, Executive Order, Executive Mansion, September 24, 1864.) As I read the executive order, paragraph 8 has not been complied with by the War Department, and the executive order is not now operative. Nevertheless, proceedings are taking place as though said order had been officially announced to the Army and Navy for their guidance. This note and the inclosed papers are respectfully submitted for information (direct, to save the time which would be lost by sending through headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi at New Orleans). It seems to me the proceedings herein referred to are unauthorized. This case is only a beginning, and it will be demanded next that supplies shall be transported through the lines in return for this cotton, and thirty days of such a system of supply will undo the work of a year in suppressing the rebellion. If the cotton is required it can be obtained without furnishing the rebel army with supplies, which the proposed plan will undoubtedly do. But my object in this communication is not to presume to make suggestions, much less to find fault. Let us know plainly what the Government requires of us.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. J. REYNOLDS,