The speculators and traders are supplying the rebels with the money they need for weapons. Traders from the North are bring thousands of dollars in gold to Memphis for their speculation. The Jews are especially brazen. The Confederate Cavalry attacked Brownsville, kidnapped several Jewish speculators and took $15,000 in gold. I mean to put a stop to the trade. It does too much to help the enemy.
HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Memphis, July 30, 1862.
Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS, Hdqrs. Corinth, Mississippi
SIR: I had the honor to write on the 25th instant, since which nothing has happened here in the vicinity worth reporting. My infantry and cavalry pickets go well out, and I have sent two parties of cavalry, one to Hernando and one to Germantown, to be gone three days. I feel certain that small parties of cavalry and armed citizens are hovering about for mischief, but I have no reliable intelligence of any force being near us. That an attempt may be made on the river at some point north of us is very probable. Should any large force go north of the Hatrchie they would be in danger from you; if south of the Hatchie, my forces would be in position.
I am pushing the construction of the fort, and have now at work about 800 negroes, all of which are registered and an account kept of their time and labor. The engineer, Captain Hoepner, will report progress, through Captain Prime. The armament of the fort should be ordered at once from Island Numbers 10, Saint Louis, or Pittsburg. I am informed there are no guns at Fort Pillow. I sent Colonel Fitch, who was there half a day on his way down, and he asserted all the guns there were disabled and carriages destroyed.
General Curtis, I am informed, goes to Little Rock very soon; indeed, I hear the army moves today. I have also learned that the Navy boat Sallie Wood, with about 40 passengers of the fleet and army before Vicksburg, was disabled at Carolina Point, about 90 miles from Vicksburg, and run on shore. All passengers were made prisoners except three, who succeeded in reaching an island and getting on board the Carondelet. One of them, a lieutenant of a Wisconsin regiment, was my informant.
Information has also reached us that our fleet before Vicksburg has raised the siege, the lower fleet returning to Baton Rouge, and upper, on its return, maybe, to this place. This will embolden Van Dorn, and we must soon expect to hear from him.
I have been very busy in answering the innumerable questions of civilians, and hope they are now about through. I found so many Jews and speculators here trading in cotton, and secessionists had become so open in refusing anything but gold, that I have felt myself bound to stop it. This gold has but one use- the purchase of arms and ammunition, which can always be had for gold, at Nassau, New Providence, or Cincinnati. All the guards we may establish cannot stop it. Of course I have respected all permits by yourself or the Secretary of the Treasury, but in these new cases I have stopped it.
In like manner, so great was the demand for salt to make bacon that many succeeded in getting loads of salt out for cotton. Salt is as much contraband of war as powder. All the boards of trade above are shipping salt south, and I cannot permit it to pass into the interior until you declare a district open to trade. If we permit money and salt to go into the interior it will not take long for Bragg and Van Dorn to supply their armies with all they need to move. Without money- gold, silver, and Treasury notes- they cannot get arms and ammunition of the English colonies. And without salt they cannot make bacon and salt beef. We cannot carry on war and trade with a people at the same time.
I have had all the vacant houses registered, and the quartermaster will proceed to rent them for account of whom it may concern at once.
Our men have received in great part new clothing, and will soon gain rest and be prepared for the fall campaign. General health is good.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN