It is not the intention of this Department to exclude the State of Virginia from the co-operation proposed for the clothing of our soldiers, nor was Your Excellency's letter of formed date understood as expressing any unwillingness to co-operate in that respect; but the note of this Department of 12th instant was dictated solely by the fact, as expressed in the report of the quartermaster-general, that the quartermaster's department of the State of Virginia has been absorbed by the Confederate States of America, and by the other fact, suggested also by Your Excellency, that a competition of two organizations in the same market and for the same object would greatly enhance the prices. The recommendation of the Acting Quartermaster-General was made in accordance with these facts and was approved accordingly. This Department is happy to be assured of the readiness of Your Excellency, which the Department did not by any means doubt, to aid in the proposed work. Your Excellency's letter of yesterday's date will be referred to the Quartermaster-General's Department, and if any plan can be devised, such as Your Excellency suggests, to avoid the competition which has been feared, this Department will be happy to accept the co-operation which Your Excellency offers.
L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War.
SAVANNAH, August 16, 1861.
Hon. L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Yours of 12th instant is received, and I have just had a consolation with my friend William Battersby, esq., on the subject of supplies for the Army. We have come to the conclusion, as we see that the Northern collector have already refused clearances to British vessels, and as your supplies are much larger than I anticipated and shipping so largely to unfrequented ports would excite suspicions and prevent clearances to our vessels, that the orders had better be filled from England direct, more especially as the probability is increasing that the blockade must be raised by Great Britain and France in their own defense by the 1st of October, and by the time the vessels with goods would arrive off our coasts all obstacles to their entry would be removed. We concur, therefore, in opinion that he had better go at once to England, taking Richmond in the way to get ample instructions and funds. He has a brother conversant with all business in Manchester who would make the purchases, while he would purchase one or two ships, as might be requisite, for account of the Government, keep all the titles to vessels and goods in this own name as a British subject, and clear them for different ports (if he has more than one vessel), putting the instructions on board sealed, and not to be opened till they get this side the Atlantic; to take with him from here two trusty pilots, well acquainted with our coasts, to take command of or to pilot the vessels into ports on this side. By this plan we would get the goods somewhat cheaper, have the chance of having the blockade removed when the vessels arrive, and run no hazard of the locking up the goods by refusing a clearance or seizure at the North.
It would be necessary to furnishing him to money in sterling exchange, fully $2,000,000, for the investment, and he will pay all his own