[MAY 22, 1863. - For General Orders, No. 66, Adjutant and Inspector General's Offie, publishing "An act to provide and organize engineer troops to serve during the war," approved March 20, 1863, with rules and regulations for the selection and organization of the same, see Series I. VOL. XXV, Part II, p. 817.]
[MAY 22, 1863. - For Davis to Vance, in relation to desertions among North Carolina troops, &c., see Series I, VOL. LI, Part II, p. 711.]
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, Va., May 23, 1863.
Colonel JAMES R. CRENSHAW,
Charleston, S. C.:
SIR: I have received with satisfaction, and read with interest, your several late letters, and have regretted that the engrossing business of the office has compelled me to devolve on Major Ruffin the duty of replying and conveying the information desired by you.
I can understand the interest you feel in having all preparations made to give the enterprise on which your brother and his associates have embarked, together with this Department, a favorable start, and I have every disposition to afford all the requisite facilities needed on the part of the Government. You have, I hope, been able, under the instructions given through Major Ruffin, to secure the requisite coal and cargo for the first steamer or two that may arrive. Until the railroad we are now constructing for a few miles to the pits on North Carolina is complete, there will be delay and difficulty in getting the requisite supplies; after that I think the depots for the Government at Wilmington and Charleston will be readily and constantly supplied. I observe, however, with regret, that you think the coal from abroad so much better adapted for the steamers that it will be advisable to bring it supplies. That will seriously diminish tonnage that I had hoped might be better employed, and I yet hope it will be found that the coal from North carolina will answer reasonably well.
For you first cargoes you have been, I hope, adequately supplied with cotton, either by the purchases you were authorized to make, or by the quantity which, on Colonel Gorgas' requisition, has been previously forwarded to Charleston by the Secretary of the Treasury. That officer has informed me that all the cotton which he has obtained, or been authorized by law to purchase, will be required for his fins under late laws of Congress, and that we must for the future rely on our own purchases; but he has placed at my disposition for such purposes the agents he still employs. On various accounts it is desirable to me that the purchase should be made through those agents, as, besides freeing from responsibility, they impose on the Department no charge or expense.
You will probably have heard from major Ruffin that I had to take the responsibility of a positive order to the Commissary-General to make the requisition of $100,000 in your favor for the purchases you had to make.
I do not understand exactly the motives that influence Colonel Northrop, but do not think it proceeded from my any distrust in yourself. At all events, I had no hesitation in manifesting the confidence which I felt assured you fully deserve. I am not sorry that the Secretary of