Cotton in union occupied area

atlantis

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#1
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
 

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Hunter

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#2
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
It really depends on the period of time in question. Until 1863, the federal government utilized a conciliatory approach to Southerners, and allowed them to go about their business as usual in most cases. They could continue to use their slaves and sell their cotton, but could not ship it to ports controlled by the Confederacy. Typically, they sold it to cotton brokers from the North. After the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves were often taken away and enlisted in the Union Army, and cotton was confiscated in some circumstances.
 
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#3
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
It made no sense to ship cotton via Confederate ports. Cotton could be freely shiped from any Union port using a foreign flaged vessel and the Confederate Navy could do nothing about it. Cotton was grown in Union occupied areas such has some Islands off South Carolina. Some Union investors bought plantations in Union occupied Louisiana but Confederate guerrillas would hit them hard.
Leftyhunter
 
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#4
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
Their was a program where the Union supervised captured cotton plantations and then supervised freed slaves. @ForeverFree might know something about that.
 
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#5
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
Try this website from Miss history now. mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/articles/291cotton-and-the-civil-war.
Leftyhunter
 

DixieRifles

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#6
A good question. I would like to provide details about the cotton trade from a book that I found very well-researched. When you ask about the cotton trade in the occupied South, you also have to ask who provided the manpower?
Quoted from “A Politician Turned General: The Civil War Career of Stephen August Hurlbut”

General Stephen Hurlbut was relieved of his command of Memphis in April 1864. The following explains one of the reasons for this dismissal.


After seventeen months of command in Memphis, (General Stephen A.) Hurlbut had shown himself to be a harsh and arbitrary military ruler. . . . Hurlbut drew criticism mainly for his perceived corruption in the control of the cotton trade at Memphis—charges associated with reported instances of bribery and even extortion from vulnerable traders. Although he carefully concealed his participation in the cotton and extortion rings he himself had created, Hurlbut’s tolerance of the practices of his subordinates allowed them to employ those rings to plunder Memphis, further complicating the problem of illicit cotton trading on the Mississippi. Moreover, Hurlbut incurred censure for the inconsistent and capricious practices---as traders and treasure agents complained of them---by which he regulated the movement of cotton through Memphis.


After surviving the possibility of a court martial, General Hurlbut was assigned to the department at New Orleans.

Ironically, and perhaps more significantly, Hurlbut’s interest in operating another cotton ring sprang, in part, from Lincoln’s ambivalence about, even seemingly encouragement of, smuggling at New Orleans. As in Memphis, a large and illicit exchange of contraband goods for cotton had developed in New Orleans; the trade had flourished even under the guns of the Union warships blockading New Orleans and other ports along the Gulf coast. . . . . An excessive amount of Northern bullion flowed to Europe to pay for the unusually expensive cotton abroad, particularly since the inception of commercial nonintercourse with the South. The Union blockade of Southern seaports, coupled with the Confederacy’s cotton embargo of the North, the president explained, had seriously impeded the importation of much-desired Southern cotton into the North. . . . . Lincoln therefore urged Canby to exercise leniency toward Northern traders at new Orleans, making it possible for Northern food and clothing to be exchanged for Confederate cotton, theus simultaneously diverting Southern cotton from Europe, depriving the Confederates of foreign ordnance and relieving the scarcity of cotton and gold across the North.
. . . . Finally, the resourceful Robinson deposited his and Hurlbut’s accumulated $23,000 in the First National Bank of New Orleans under the names of its president and cashier.

Regarding the manpower to farm the cotton fields.

However, in New Orleans in the fall of 1864, Hurlbut dutifully enforced Bank’s policy of prompt payment of black plantation hands. In January 1864, Banks had issued an ordered that placed liens on planter’s cotton and other staple crops to assure full compensation of black workers, because the planters often defaulted. Recognizing his responsibility for the 14,000 freedmen employed or supported by the Union army within New Orleans alone and also for the 35,000 blacks toiling under contract on some 1,073 plantation in Union Louisiana, . . . . On March 11, 1865, Hurlbut issued General Orders No. 23 which promulgated a new program for the disposition of the freedmen. Section 5 of his orders established the wage rates for black men, women, and small children of both sexes and requirements for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and educational instruction for juveniles. . . . Although it granted to freedmen the right to choose their employers, Section 9 stipulated that a black worker would have to remain on a plantation for a full year. A worker who left a place of employment and returned later would forfeit all wages earned before leaving. . . . Thus theoretically at least, a planter could arbitrarily deny the efficiency or usefulness of even his most productive black hand and simply invoking Section 5 of Hurlbut’s labor orders deprive that worker of fair compensation.

Many freedmen found themselves serving on the same plantation previously owned by their pre-War masters and possibly under the very same slave managers.
 
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#8
Their was a program where the Union supervised captured cotton plantations and then supervised freed slaves. @ForeverFree might know something about that.
I have read about that, mainly from books in the Freedmen and Southern Society Project series, but that was a while ago. Two books of possible interest to @atlantis from that series are:

• Series 1, volume 2: The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South, ed. Ira Berlin, Steven F. Miller, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

• Series 1, volume 3, The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South, ed. Ira Berlin, Thavolia Glymph, Steven F. Miller, Joseph P. Reidy, Leslie S. Rowland, and Julie Saville (Cambridge University Press, 1990).

These books have a huge number of primary records which document relations between the various parties in the South, including the Union army, as the region made the wartime transition from slave labor to free labor.

- Alan
 
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Bruce Vail

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#9
A short section in Joel Williamson's William Faulkner and Southern History (Oxford University Press, 1993) is devoted to the war-time exploits of author Faulkner's great grandfather and namesake, Col. William Falkner (known in post-war years as 'The Old Colonel'). Williamson relates how partisan bands (Confederate) in Northern Mississippi trafficked in cotton with the Federal forces based in Memphis, where a bustling trade in contraband cotton was underway. Col. Faulkner and his men were believed to have been guilty of stealing cotton to trade with the enemy for food and other supplies. An interesting footnote to American literary history....
 

Bruce Vail

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#10
Pretty good from the Mississippi Historical Society site:


Cotton also spawned a series of federal regulations during the war. The North needed cotton for its textile mills, and it wanted to deprive the South of its financing power. Therefore, federal permits issued by the Treasury Department were required to purchase cotton in the Confederate states. The system was rife with corruption, particularly in the Mississippi Valley. Confederate cotton that was subject to confiscation by the North could not be distinguished from legitimate cotton grown by planters loyal to the Union. Cotton could be purchased for as little as 12 to 20 cents a pound, transported to New York for 4 cents a pound, and sold for up to $1.89 a pound. One observer noted that the “mania for sudden fortunes in cotton” meant that “Every [Union] colonel, captain, or quartermaster is in secret partnership with some operator in cotton.” The lure of cotton wealth would entice white Northern civilians and Union soldiers south during and after the war.

The future of former slaves remained sealed in the cotton fields. Blacks were denied economic and physical mobility by federal government policy, by the racial animosity of Northern whites, and by the enduring need for cotton labor in the South. The federal government was forced to confront the question of what to do with slave refugees and those who had escaped behind Union lines. In 1863 Union Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas in the Mississippi Valley devised a solution, a form of containment policy, whereby freed slaves would remain in the South. They would be used in the military service, or “placed on the abandoned [cotton] plantations to till the ground.” Former slaves were to be contracted to work on the abandoned plantations – many around Vicksburg. Labor guidelines, such as $10 a month pay and a 10-hour day, were posted. If a laborer missed two hours of work a day, he lost one-half of his day’s pay. The former slaves were not allowed to leave the plantation without a pass. The white Northern lessees of the plantations were generally driven by money. As many as two-thirds of the labor force was thought to have been “defrauded of their wages in 1864.”
 

ucvrelics

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#11
Here's the report of the yankee Col who was in command of the occupation troops here in Demopolis after the fall of Selma and the end of the war. Its very interesting reading as this was NOT CS cotton but I believe was plantation owners cotton. The only reason you would have to re-bale cotton was to hide what plantation it came from as each plantation had the own bale material so when it got to Mobile and the cotton buyers they would know which plantation it came from. This cotton was in fact stolen by the Union army. If you do the math with 10.000 bales at the cost of cotton at that time which was $1.68 it comes to a grand total of, hang on I got to take my shoes off. 10.000 bales at 500lbs a bale times $1.68 come to $8.4 million dollars in 1865 money.
Scan_20170210 (3).jpg
 
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#12
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
If Union forces seized cotton from a Confederate sympathizers there was no legal mechanism for a pro Confederate to be financially compensated for his or her loss. If a pro Union cotton grower had his cotton seized by Union forces he could after the Civil War file a claim with the Southern Claims Commission.
A very good book that describes the Southern Claims Commission in more detail is "Loyalty and Loss Alabama's Unionists in the Civil War and Reconstruction" " Margret Storey Louisiana State University Press.
At best a claimant could get approximately 70 cents on the dollar back and for practical purposes would have to hire an attorney. The claimant would have to prove absolute fidelity to the Union. Any connection to the Confederacy and his or her claim would be denied.
Leftyhuner
 
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#13
What happened to cotton and cotton production in area occupied by union forces. Were planters allowed to transport cotton across lines to CS ports. What did planters do for labor in union held area.
A little off topic. Their was indeed a tremendous amount of unofficial cotton trade between the Union and the Confederacy . Union gun boats along the Mississippi River smugled cotton between Confederate and Union lines.
Source "Bitterly Divided the Souths inner Civil War" David Williams thenewpress.com p.64 to 67.
Leftyhuner
 



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