[OCTOBER 8, 1861. - For Benjamin to Clark, in relation to a call for militia from certain counties of North Carolina, for local defense, see Series I, VOL. LI. Part II. p. 337. In same connection, see also Benjamin to Clark, September 23, 1861, and Clark to Benjamin, October 3, 1861, Series I, VOL. IV, pp. 655, 667.]
[OCTOBER 8, 1861. - For Magruger to Lecher, in relation to calling out the militia in certain counties of Virginia, see Series I, VOL. IV, p. 675.]
Richmond, Va., October 10, 1861.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War:
SIR: I hoped until lately that materials for clothing the troops could be procured within the Confederate States, augmented by those ordered and expected from Europe; but so great has been the demand upon this department for the last month, it is obviously important that we should make arrangements for getting supplies from Europe through an agent belonging to the C. S. Army, especially if the war it to continue for any length to time. Within the last month several propositions upon this subject have been made to me, but all have involved speculative prices, predicated upon the risk and advances in money necessary for the purchase of the supplies. In the last forty days the prices of materials for clothing have advanced about 100 per cent. If the Government relies upon private enterprise the rates which will be charged by the successful importer will be based upon the market value here, as is verified by the prices charged by the consignees of the Bermuda. It is not expected that any responsible party would undertake the risk, unless in the hope of realizing such profits. I am of the opinion that it will be decidedly advantageous to the Government to send an agent to Europe on whose competency and integrity we can rely, with authority to purchase materials. I believe this would reduce the expenses of clothing the troops very materially. I suggested in furtherance of this view that bills may be drawn in this country, payable to the orders of Mr. Mason, in London, or Mr. Slidell, in Paris, who might pay the drafts of our agent when satisfied that the goods were purchased and in his possession, or the agent might contract with manufactures or large holders for the delivery of the goods in this country at their risk, with the privilege of receiving and shipping cotton to the amount of purchases from them. If the Department approves these views I could detail for the duty Major J. B. Ferguson,he Quartermaster's Department, who will discharge his duty with fidelity.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. C. MYERS,
[OCTOBER 12, 1861. - For Jackson to Davis, in relation to a treaty, offensive and defensive, between the Confederate States and Missouri, see Series I, VOL. III, p. 717.]