[JANUARY 25, 1865. - For Grant to Stanton, in relation to an order allowing prisoners of war to purchase food and clothing, see Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part II, p. 253.]
HDQRS. DIST. OF WEST FLORIDA AND SOUTH ALABAMA,
East Pascagoula, Miss., January 25, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN, Assistant Adjutant - General:
COLONEL: In obedience to instructions received from headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, dated January 23, 1865, in regard to alleged delays in receiving and shipping the cotton delivered at Mobile for the benefit of prisoners of war held by the United States, I have the honor to report that upon the 7th of December, 1861, having been officially notified on the agreement made between the lieutenant - general commanding the Armies of the United States and Mr. Ould, agent of exchange, and directed by Major - General Halleck to carry in into execution, I addressed under flag of truce to the commanding officer at Mobile, Ala., an official communication, a copy of which, marked A, * is herewith transmitted, together with a copy of the reply to the same, marked B, and dated December 12, 1864; + that upon the 24th of December, 1864, an official communication from commanding officer at Mobile, dated December 22, 1864, was sent into my line at Franklin Creek, Miss., a copy of which is transmitted herewith, marked C, ++ my reply to which copy inclosed, marked D, # dated December 25, was forwarded at daylight of that date for delivery via Mobile Bay, and was delivered on December 26, Captain F. G. Noyes, the officer detailed by Special Orders, Numbers 61, from these headquarters, being in charge of such letter.
These letters comprise the entire correspondence has with me on the subject up to January 16 of this year, at which date the U. S. S. Atlanta sailed for New York with 827 bales of the cotton, the balance, 170 bales - three bales being deficient - having been forwarded to New Orleans per schooner for shipment from that port.
In the interim between December 26, the date of delivering my reply, and January 13, 1865, when the cargo was delivered for transfer to the Atlanta, the authorities at Mobile were never in readiness to deliver the cotton, although it may have been, as is alleged, ready on board of the lighter on December 23, as it perhaps had been for some time previous in waiting for an opportunity to run the blockade. In this interim, however, two vessels, a seagoing steamer and a naval steam - tug, with all officers and men engaged, were kept constantly in waiting by the authorities and at the sole expense of the Government of the United States; nor was there in all this time, not even from December 7, the date of my first communication on the subject, a single moment when there was not an immediate readiness on the part of the United States to receive and transmit this cotton.
I have the honor to forward inclosed, upon letter sheet marked M, // a copy of portion of the correspondence between Captain Jenkins, U. S. Navy, commanding in Mobile Bay, and the commanding officer at Mobile, to which, as well as to the copy of an indorsement by Captain Jenkins, I respectfully invite attention.
The facility with which the commanding officer at Mobile, Ala., can notify Captain Jenkins, U. S. Navy, in the letter of December 19, of his present readiness to transfer the cotton, and the facility with which
* See Vol. VII, this series, p. 1200.
+ I bid., p. 1217.
++ I bid., p. 1261.
# I bid., p. 1271.
// I bid., pp. 1247, 1276, 1277.