In view of the dangers which threatened to overwhelm my district, I decided that all cotton in Arkansas and north Louisiana was in imminent danger of falling into the hands of the enemy. Being of that opinion, it was my duty, under the act of Congress, March 17, 1862, and the order of the war department thereon, to take such steps as would put this property out of the enemy's reach. To defer taking it into possession until the enemy should get in the immediate vicinity and then rely upon the owners to destroy it would be puerile. Wherever that had been tried, the enemy got at least five bales out of every ten. . . . I determined to dispose of the matter differently and effectually. An order was issued seizing all the cotton which I regarded as in danger, and directing receipts to be given for it by the agents appointed for that purpose. The same order directed that all cotton adjacent to the enemy's lines should be burned immediately; that the remainder should be removed 20 miles inland and burned upon the approach of the enemy; but that out of all, as far as practicable, 10 pounds to each member of every family should be issued as a gratuity. The distribution of the 10-pound parcels was as certain a mode of keeping the cotton out of the enemy's hands as to destroy it, while, in fact, it extorted from misfortune a great public benefit. Many planters complained-those nearest the enemy most loudly. The enemy also expressed great indignation and denounced the penalty of death against all cotton burners; but, on the other hand, the object of the law was accomplished . . . and the wives and children of soldiers, and other necessitous persons, were provided with the materials for clothing themselves and their relations in the army. . . .Meanwhile, Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, with headquarters at Batesville, head of the army of the Southwest and by authority of General Halleck military governor of Arkansas, with power to depose civil officers and create others who would swear allegiance, was watching the operations of his active antagonist. He had by his own returns in May, 6,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry and 1,000 artillery in the field. On June 1st he reported:
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