HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, December 17, 1864.
Colonel D. N. McINTOSH,
W. P. ADAIR, and
Captain L. P. PITCHLYNN,
Delegates from the Grand Council
of the Confederated Indian Nations:
GENTLEMEN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of the resolutions passed by the general council of the Confederate Indian Nations, on the 9th of November 1864. The control of cotton is now placed in the hands of the Treasury Department, and its exportation made under the regulations of the President in conformity with an act of Congress. Under the regulations referred to, restrictions are placed upon the exportation of cotton by citizens, but the States in their sovereign capacity have the right with the General Government to export cotton on their own account free from interference. The Confederated Indian Nations which you represent under its treaty stipulations has the same rights of exportation with the States, and through their agents can purchase and export cotton and introduce supplies not prohibited by the laws of Congress. The cotton which is exported must be the bona fide property of the nation, and the certificate of the principal chiefs that it is the bona fide property of the nation should accompany it in transitu through the State of Texas. I would suggest in order to facilitate the transportation, that whenever a train is prepared or about being prepared, that the certificate showing the number of bales transported and the wagons required be forwarded to department headquarters, where an indorsement will be made prohibiting interference or impressment in the transportation of the cotton to the Mexican frontier. I shall be glad and willingly give every facility in my power made by the nation to clothe and supply their own people. Under the recent amendment to the impressments act, the Government has no privileges over any other purchaser who goes into the market. The Cotton Bureau has ceased its operations, and does not any longer purchase cotton for the Government. You will have to go into the market and through your own agents purchase the cotton required for this enterprise. The difficulty of communicating with the General Government at Richmond and of sending supplies to this department has hitherto made it impossible for me to arm the troops in service. Twenty-five thousand stand of arms were sent to Selma, Ala., but owing to the operations of the enemy on the Mississippi River did not reach this department. I have assurances that arms will be sent by Havana and Galveston, and on their receipt will issue a just proportion to the troops serving in the Indian Territory. Captain T. F. Anderson, and Sergt. John Walker will be sent to Selma with authority to receive and bring arms across the Mississippi River for the sole use of the Indian Division. The Government recognizes the loyalty and services of its Indian allies and, will observe its treaties with the Confederated Indian Nations. I will give you every support and assistance which, as the military representative of my Government can be done with the means at my disposal, and together we will struggle manfully in the cause of our independence until Providence crowns our efforts with success.
I am, most respectfully, your most obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH.