Shelby's brigade, and the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of his company, to dismount and disarm them, and send them, with a squadron or company of cavalry, under a discreet officer, who will be responsible in his commission for their safe delivery at Washington. The horses, saddles, bridles, &c., will be appraised and turned over to the chief quartermaster of Captain Ferrell's brigade, and by him turned over to Major John B. Burton, chief quartermaster district; The arms go to be turned over to chief brigade ordnance officer of Captain Ferrell's brigade; The private arms to be assessed and turned over as the public arms. The chief brigade ordnance officer will turn all these arms over to Lieutenant Colonel Clay Taylor, chief ordnance officer of district, at Lewisville, Ark. The foregoing must be accomplished before either the officers or men can have the least intimation of what is about to occur. The officer directing the execution of the foregoing instructions is instructed to acknowledge receipt of this letter.
I have the honor to be, general, your most obedient servant.
W. A. ALSTON,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
WASHINGTON, Ark., DECEMBER 5, 1864.
Brigadier-General Boggs, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The withdrawal of Steele's brigade at the present time takes from me the means of executing at once the orders from department headquarters in regard to the burning of cotton. As soon, however, as the brigade of General Fagan's, ordered to rendezvous at Eldorado, on the 10th instant, assembles and organizes, I will do so. Care will be taken to respect the exemption held by the representatives of Messrs. Campbell & Co. I understand General Smith's intention to be that I shall burn all the cotton east of the Ouachita, except that of Messrs. Campbell & Co., inasmuch as General Smith can judge of its liability to fall into the hands of the enemy quite as well as I. The map shows the vicinity of the region of country to the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, both of which are now navigable by the enemy . I think also that there is no doubt that this cotton will not bear transportation to Galveston or the Rio Grande even if transportation could be provided by the holders. To carry out the instructions efficiently, it is necessary that the intention to burn should be kept secret as possible from the inhabitants in the regions that the cotton is found, for fear they may infer from the destruction of the cotton that the country will be given up, and take flight in a panic. I shall avail myself of the intermediate time to undeceive them in this respect, and to show that breadstuffs and not cotton are the only products to be cultivated, to enable us not only to hold what we have, but to regain what we have lost. I will impress upon them that necessity of cultivating the soil even in the enemy's lines, each man with the means, however small, he may possess, and will not destroy the cotton until after they shall have had sufficient time to be satisfied that cotton in exposed places not only affords a temptation to the enemy to visit their homes, but by its falling into the homes of the enemy will prolong the war indefinitely. In my proclamation it will be unnecessary to state that it is my present intention to destroy the cotton or at what time I shall do it.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. MAGRUDER,