Doc. 27.-destruction of Cotton.
Official order and despatch.
A. T. Bledsoe, Assistant Secretary of War.
it has been determined to burn all the cotton and tobacco, whether foreign or our own, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy. You will therefore destroy it all, if necessary, to prevent them from getting it.
G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War.
General Order No. 17.--The enemy, by an overwhelming naval force, having succeeded in passing the defences and gaining possession of the city of New Orleans, are jubilant in the boast, that the struggle which a gallant people are making from a bondage to which death would be preferable, is rapidly closing in disgrace and humiliation to the South. They claim that the great Valley of the West being opened, the remotest commercial interest of the civilized world will have cause to side with them in the iron-handed controversy which they are waging upon us, for the reason that cotton will now flow from every tributary of the Mississippi to seek a market under their protection in the ports of Europe; for without that staple they know full well that a brief period will put an end to their attempt to conquer the South. It is with the people to decide this question for themselves. If you are resolved to be free, if you are worthy of the heroic blood that has come down to you through hallowed generations, if you have fixed your undimmed eye upon the brightness that spreads out before you and your children, and are determined to shake away forever and ever all political association with the vandal horde that now gather like a pestilence about your fair country; now, my fellow-citizens, is the time to strike! One sparkling, living touch of fire in manly action for one hour upon each cotton plantation, and the eternal seal of Southern independence is fired and fixed in the great heart of the world. It needs no argument to show that, with the destruction of negro property, the cotton and sugar lands of the South would be worthless, and that the mighty effort of this abolition war is for that purpose, is amply proved by a thousand evidences unnecessary to refer to in this order, and which are rapidly culminating in the various schemes of the Federal Congress in reference to the destruction of the slave-holding interest in all the border states. Your Major-General calls, in this hour of danger, for one heroic effort, and he feels consciously proud that he will not call in vain. Let not a solitary bale of cotton be left as spoil for the invader, and all will be well. By order of Major-General Lovell.
J. G. Pickett, Assistant Adjutant-General.