Doc. 70. Trade with the Confederacy.
General Washburn's order.
headquarters, District of West Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn., May 10, 1864.The practical operation of commercial intercourse from this city with the States in rebellion has been to help, largely to feed, clothe, arm and equip our enemies. Memphis has been of more value to the Southern Confederacy since it fell into Federal hands than Nassau. To take cotton belonging the rebel government to Nassau, or any other foreign port, is a hazardous proceeding. To take it to Memphis and convert it into supplies and greenbacks and return to the lines of the enemy, or place the proceeds to the credit of the rebel government in Europe without passing again into the rebel lines, is safe and easy. I have undoubted evidence that large amounts of cotton have been and are being brought here to be sold belonging to the rebel government. The past and present system of trade has given strength to the rebel army, while it has demoralized and weakened our own. It has invited the enemy to hover around Memphis as his best base of supply, when otherwise he would have abandoned the country. It renders of practical non-effect the blockade upon the ocean, which has cost and is costing so many millions. It opens our lines to the spies of the enemy, and renders it next to impossible to execute any military plan without its becoming known to him long enough in advance for him to prepare for it. The facts here stated are known to every intelligent man in Memphis. What is the remedy for these great and overshadowing evils? Experience shows that there can be but one remedy, and that is total prohibition of all commercial intercourse with the States in rebellion. It is, therefore, ordered: That on and after the fifteenth day of March, 1864, the lines of the army at Memphis be closed, and no person will be permitted to leave the city, except by river, without a special pass from these headquarters after that date. All persons desirous of coming into the city will be permitted to do so, but should be notified by the pickets that they will not be allowed to return. All persons who desire to leave the city to go beyond our lines, must do so before the fifteenth instant.