power against us. We should assume a tone of perfect contempt for cotton and everything else in comparison with the great object of the war-the restoration of the Union with all its rights and power. If the rebels burn cotton as a war measure, they simply play into our hands by taking away the only product of value they now have to exchange in foreign ports for war ships and munitions. By such a course, also, they alienate the feelings of the large class of small farmers that look to their Little parcels of cotton to exchange for food and clothing for their families. I hope the Government will not manifest too much anxiety to obtain cotton in large quantities, and especially that the President will not indorse the contracts for the purchase of large quantities of cotton. Several contracts, involving from 6,000 to 10,000 bales, indorsed by Mr. Lincoln, have been shown me, but were not in such a form as to amount to an order for me to facilitate their execution. As to Treasury trade agents and agents to take charge of confiscated and abandoned property, whose salaries depend upon their fees, I can only say, that as a general rule they are mischievous and disturbing elements to a military government. And it is almost impossible for us to study the law and regulations so as to understand fully their powers and duties. I rather think the Quartermaster's Department of the Army could better fulfill all their duties and accomplish all that is aimed at by the law. Yet on this subject I will leave General Foster and General Grover to do the best they can.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Savannah, January 19, 1865.
Honorable W. P. FESSENDEN,
Secretary of the Treasury, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have the honor herewith to inclose you copies of my Special Field Orders, Nos. 12 and 13,* the only ones I have issued touching matters of trade in this part of the country. I beg to invite your attention to them. I desire to pay every possible respect to the regulations of your Department and to carry out the policy of the Government to the furthest extent; but I know that we can derive but Little revenue from the South, because no one will buy confiscated lands, and if we strip the inhabitants of all personal property they at once fall back upon us with claims of humanity which cannot be disregarded. I think that both General Grant and myself are as severe to secessionists as men could be, but each of us has been forced to feed the inhabitants of the conquered country after they fallen helpless in our power. Without any clearly-defined rule, our practice has been harsh enough as long as resistance lasted; but the moment resistance ceased we could not see people round our camps perish of hunger. Immense quantities of provisions were issued by the commissary department round about Vicksburg and in East Tennessee; but I have forbidden my commissary to issue provisions to the people direct, but have set aside captured rice to be converted, under the direction of my commissary, into food for the inhabitants.
* See pp. 50, 52.