I have been somewhat annoyed by disagreements which have already arisen in England between Major Huse (the ordnance officer much trusted by Colonel Gorgas, and whom I wished on that account, as circumstances had cast the commercial business of this Department mainly on the Ordnance Bureau, to constitute the main agent abroad of all the bureau) and Major Ferguson, of the Quartermaster's Department, and your brother. These will, I fear, entail serious embarrassments in the important, through your brother's agency, of some of the most important freight of the Government. I trust there will be no hesitation on his part in taking any and all Government freight which it is desirable to the Government to have imported, and submit all matters of controversy afterward to my arbitrament. As a public officer, I can have no private interest to swerve me, and do not doubt my ability to tender justice to all concerned.
On inspecting closely the contract made between Mr. Manson and your brother, there are two points which I think transacted the terms of my letter, which constitute its basis. They are those providing for commission on the purchase and sale of the ships and the prohibition of contraband of war to the islands. This latter may prevent the bringing in the first voyages of some important munitions. These subjects will, however, be submitted to your brother's just consideration, and I have idea that they will not be equitably explained or arranged between us.
I have written hastily, and may have still omitted points on which you required explanations or instructions, but I hope the letter of Major Ruffin have already supplied such possible oversights, I feel much interest in the success of these ventures, and have full confidence that they will not fail from want of fidelity, energy, or ability on your part.
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
[MAY 23, 1863. - For Seddon to Vance, in relation to desertion among North Carolina troops, see Series I, VOL. LI, Part II, p. 714.]
Richmond, May 24, 1863.
Major CALEB HUSE,
38 Claredon Road, Notting Hill, London West, England:
MAJOR: It is deemed of great importance to get a supply of arms into Texas, and perhaps this can be effected directly from abroad. Captain Stiles suggests that a French house would undertake the risk of supplying us, and probably the port of Matamoras could be used. If so, there would be no difficulty in getting the arms from Brownsville to the interior. Cotton is available at any moment, and Major Sackfield Macli, ordnance officer at San Antonio, Tex., will furnish any quantity of cotton needed at Brownsville on your order if payment is desired in that way. He will be instructed to that effect, and it will be well to transact the business with him. About 12,000 arms for infantry and 3,000 or 4,000 for cavalry, with some revolvers and necessary ammunition, say forty rounds per arm, should constitute the bulk of the cargo. There is a good supply of lead powder, and leather in Texas. A few officers' sabers and equipments, and