The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908 Page: 200
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
doubly hated as a class that reaped large profits from the danger
and distress of the country while enjoying at the same time ex-
emption from military service. The opportunities for profits in
this trade were not neglected by the State and Confederate gov-
ernments, and during the last two years of the war a State mili-
tary board and a cotton bureau had charge of the exportation
and sale of cotton and other products belonging to the State and
to the Confederacy respectively, and imported in return munitions,
medicines, and other military supplies. That there was much
fraud and mismanagement in the whole cotton business, official
and private, seems certain; there was no doubt of it at all in the
minds of the people of that day.
But other causes than the fraudulent operations of private and
official speculators hastened the exhaustion of the State. Repeated
issues of Confederate paper money had driven out all other cur-'
rency and the paper itself steadily depreciated. By March, 1865,
even this was cut off, as there was no ready or safe communication
with the Confederate seat of government. Taxes were extremely
heavy; the tithe of the cotton taken by the Confederacy was in-
creased to a fifth, then to a half; everything was levied upon.
Military authorities impressed beef, corn, and other supplies for
the army, and having no money wherewith to pay, gave worthless
certificates of indebtedness which the government would not even
receive in payment of taxes.' Driven on by its dire necessities
the government had adopted desperate and oppressive regulations
that destroyed its own credit and threatened the extinction of what
little trade had survived in the State. During the spring of 1865
other troubles had come. A threatened attack by the Federals on
Brownsville, the chief cotton depot, had diverted the export trade
to the less exposed but less profitable and less satisfactory points
on the upper Rio Grande. At the same time there was a serious
drop in the price of cotton, a foreshadowing doubtless of the
fall of the Confederacy. All trade was coming to a standstill.
Although the crops had been good in 1864, they could not be
1Gen. E. Kirby Smith to Gray, Seddon, and Wigfall, Offoal Records,
War of Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XLVIII, Part I, 1381-84.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908, periodical, 1908; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101045/m1/204/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.