Head Quarters, Dept. of the Ten.
Before Vicksburg, Feb.y 23d 1863.
HON. S. P. CHASE
SEC. OF THE TREASURY
WASHINGTON D. C.
Enclosed herewith please find evidence of ownership adduced for cotton seized and sold for the benefit of Government, by my order, whilst the Army under my command occupied Northern Miss. I send these to you to show the difficulties a commander of troops in the field has to contend against whilst trade is allowed to follow the flag.
Whilst at Abberville and Oxford Miss. I authorized the seizure of cotton marked C. S. A. and also that owned by persons known to hold place in the so called Southern Confederacy. Besides the cotton marked C. S. A. that was seized there was something over four hundred bales belonging to Jacob Thompson, 1 Avent & Bowls three prominant men in the Southern Army and for which no claim has been set up. Notwithstanding this claims have come in for more than the amount received by Government, and in all cases unprincipled cotton speculators are the representatives of the parties loosing their cotton.
No doubt cotton has been seized where it should not have been, under the policy that has been pursued by Government. In all such cases I was ready to hear the claims of owners and return their cotton when they were entitled to it. In this way I caused several hundred bales to be returned to owners and I regret to say some of my juniors, without my knowledge, caused several hundred bales more to be returned.
The whole amount of cotton seized was near eighteen hundred (1800) bales and the amount that reached Capt. Eddy, A. Q. M. Memphis was but little over seven hundred (700). This claim is now to come out of that.