Terr. Their avowed purpose was to take the life of Gabriel Renville, chief of scouts. Should those of Indian or mixed blood, hitherto employed as scouts in your sub-district, be found at any time during the winter in a suffering condition with their families, you are authorized your discretion the necessities of the case may demand.
By command of Brigadier-General Sibley:
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. OLIN,
HEADQUARTERS SPECIAL SCOUTS, Natchez, Miss., November 24, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Military Division of West Mississippi:
SIR: I have the honor to make the following statement in regard to the cotton trade in this department, which I feel confident is carried much further than you are aware of: Since I left this place, twenty-three days ago, I have been in Confederate uniform a greater portion of the time, and I find that persons claiming to be agents of the United States Government, most of whom have papers from the local agent at Memphis, Tenn., are scattered all along the river for the purpose of buying cotton, for which they are to pay one-third in produce. They (the agents) say when they talk to U. S. soldiers that the produce is to be such as will be of no material aid to the Confederate Government, but in talking to Confederates they tell them that they are to get gray cloth, provisions, boots and shoes, and some ammunition, and some quinine for family use. Our agents are permitted to go through their camps and their agents to go on board our transports, and in some cases their soldiers. At Bayou Mason I talked with ten Confederate soldiers, of Parsons' command, who were guarding down cotton. They told me they could get anything they wanted at the trading boats, and the fact that two regiments of Parsons' brigade are employed guarding down cotton at a time that they need their troops as much as at present is good evidence that the cotton trade is a profitable one for them. You will see by the copy of the letter, which I sent to you some fifteen days ago, which was taken from the saddle-bags of a Confederate soldier, what kind of produce they get (gun caps). At Stock Landing I found our agent from Memphis stopping at the same house where the Confederate scouts had their headquarters, a lieutenant and a private of which I captured there. This agent wanted me to treat the lieutenant very kindly, for he was a nice man, and had been riding with and aiding him (the agent) ever since he had been there. I asked this agent if his papers permitted him to buy cotton of the Confederate Government. He said they did, and added that the agent at Memphis told them to buy of Jefferson Davis if they could. I have conversed with many leading men in that country, who are in favor of the Confederacy, and they all expressed the same opinions in regard to the benefit to be the derived by the Confederacy from this cotton trade, I being at the time in Confederate uniform and supposed by them to be a good Confederate. And from what I have seen and heard in regard to it, and the way it is and is likely to be carried on, I consider it one of the worst measures that could well be adopted.
I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
I. N. EARL,
First Lieutenant Co. D, Fourth Wis. Cav., Commanding Special Scouts.