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Introduction to the Daniel Ruggles Report
By George Rugg
The territory of the Confederacy was divided into an ever-changing mosaic of military-administrative commands called departments, subdivided in turn into districts. This report of the Confederate Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles, dated 22 October 1862, was written one day after the latter had assumed command of District One of the army's Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. Roughly speaking, the district encompassed the eastern half of Mississippi, minus the counties on the Gulf Coast. Before the reorganization of 21 October, Ruggles had been in temporary command of the district encompassing western Mississippi, called the District of the Mississippi; this is how the report is headed. It is addressed to Adjutant General Samuel Cooper in Richmond, and was written (and signed) by Ruggles' adjutant, Captain Roy Mason Hooe. It was accompanied by an unknown number of enclosures.
Ruggles (31 January 1810-1 June 1897) was born in Massachusetts but married into a wealthy Virginia family, and so aligned himself with the Confederacy at the outbreak of war. He is best remembered for his service at the Battle of Shiloh, where he commanded a division. In the report, Ruggles cites the various regulations that would justify his (unspecified) efforts to "regulate and restrain intercourse and trade" in his district. He also seeks to clarify his rationale for consenting to "the exportation of cotton in small quantities under guaranty for European consumption." From the beginning of the war, the Confederacy had maintained an informal embargo on cotton exported to Europe, hoping that a resulting "famine" would close the textile mills of Lancashire and force the British to intervene on the South's behalf. This "King Cotton" diplomacy was not, of course, successful, and as economic conditions in the South worsened, it became apparent that the embargo was detrimental to the war effort. But in the fall of 1862 the issue was still a controversial one; hence Ruggles' care in clearing his actions with Richmond.
Provenance note: The Ruggles letter was purchased by the University Libraries from an ebay vendor in South Pasadena CA, January 2002.
Bibliographic note: Reports in the Official Records pertaining to Ruggles' commands in Mississippi in the fall of 1862 appear in Series I, Volume 17, Part II. For the exportation of cotton see Frank L. Owsley, King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America, 2nd ed., Chicago, 1959.
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|October 22, 1862||Jackson, Mississippi||Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles|