Sunday, January 15, 1865

I saw a good deal of the Secretary Stanton socially, during his visit to Savannah. He kept his quarters on the revenue-cutter with Simeon Draper, Esq., which cutter lay at a wharf in the river, but he came very often to my quarters at Mr. Green’s house. Though appearing robust and strong, he complained a good deal of internal pains, which he said threatened his life, and would compel him soon to quit public office. He professed to have come from Washington purposely for rest and recreation, and he spoke unreservedly of the bickerings and jealousies at the national capital; of the interminable quarrels of the State Governors about their quotas, and more particularly of the financial troubles that threatened the very existence of the Government itself. He said that the price of every thing had so risen in comparison with the depreciated money, that there was danger of national bankruptcy, and he appealed to me, as a soldier and patriot, to hurry up matters so as to bring the war to a close.

He left for Port Royal today, and promised to go North without delay, so as to hurry back to me the supplies I had called for, as indispensable for the prosecution of the next stage of the campaign. I am quite impatient to get off myself, for city-life is dull and tame, and we are all anxious to get into the pine-woods again, free from the importunities of rebel women asking for protection, and of the civilians from the North who are coming to Savannah for cotton and all sorts of profit.

Before he left, I handed him this letter praising Colonel A. H. Markland:

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: As our mail facilities form an important link in the chain of events now transpiring, it gives me pleasure to note the peculiar energy which characterizes the agents of the department under the charge of Colonel A. H. Markland. Colonel Markland had managed this department in connection with my army to my entire satisfaction, and with a kindly interest that shows a devotion to our cause that takes him with the advance of our Army, has won its respect and my confidence.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Savannah, Ga., January 15, 1865.

The Department of the South having been placed within the sphere of this command, and it being highly desirable that one uniform policy prevail touching commerce and intercourse with the inhabitants of the South, the following general rules and principles will be adhered to unless modified by law or the orders of the War Department.

I. Commerce with foreign nations or in an enlarged sense cannot be permitted or undertaken until the National authority is established to an extent that will give the necessary courts and offices to control and manage such matters. Trade will be confined to a limited barter and sale proportioned to the necessary wants of the army and of the inhabitants dependent on it for the necessaries of life, and even that trade must be kept subject to strict military control or surveillance.

II. Trade stored will be permitted at Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, Saint Augustine, and Jacksonville, in all articles of clothing and food, groceries, ladies’ and children’s goods generally, and articles not contraband of war.

III. To trade is a privilege, and no person will be allowed to buy and sell for profit unless he be a citizen of the United States, and subscribe to any legal oath or obligation that is or may be prescribed by law, and at points threatened by an enemy the officer commanding may further exact as a condition that the trader shall himself engage to serve in some military capacity to aid in defense of the place.

VI. Persons desiring to trade will apply to the commanding officer of the post and obtain his written consent, specifying the kind, nature, and extend of the trade, and when he requires importations from Northern cities he will in like manner apply for his permit. The commanding officer of the post may appoint some good officer to supervise these matters, who will frequently inspect the stores, and when there is not sufficient competition will fix the prices of sale. These stores will in like manner be subject to the supervision of the commanding general of the Department of the South by himself or an inspector-general.

V. In order that purchases may be made with economy the commanding officer of each post will make reports of his action in regard to trade, with the names of traders, amounts of goods desired for sale, &c., to the commanding general of the department, who will in like manner make full report to the Secretary of the U. S. Treasury, to the end that he may instruct the collectors of ports from which shipments are expected as to the necessary permits and clearances. It being utterly impracticable that a general commanding military operations should give his personal attention to such matters, it is desirable that as much power as possible should be delegated to post commanders, and they should be held to the strictest account that no trade is permitted injurious to the military interests of the United States.

VI. Sales of cotton will be restricted absolutely to the U. S. Treasury agents, and no title in cotton or bill of sale will be respected until after the cotton is sold at New York. Country people having small lots of cotton are permitted to bring the same in to be exchanged for food and clothing for their families. The quartermaster will set aside a store or warehouse to which each wagon bearing cotton will, after entering the military lines, proceed direct, where an agent of the Treasury Department will receive and weigh the same and pay for it the price fixed in the eighth section of the act of Congress, approved July 2. 1864, viz:
Three-fourths the value of cotton as quoted in the New York market; and the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby requested to make appointments of agents to carry out the provisions of said act at the posts of Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, and Jacksonville.

VII. In order that the duties hereby imposed on commanding officers of posts may not be neglected or slighted by the changes incident to rank and charges of troops, the commanding general of the Department of the South will appoint a special officer to command at each of said posts, with a small garrison, not to be charged without his order; and when other troops, commanded by a senior are added or arrive the command of the post will not charge, but the additional troops will be encamped near by and act according to special instructions.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General

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