Return to Port Royal Experiment
General Isaac I Stevens Response
To William H. Nobles
Port Royal Experiment
Beaufort, S. C., December 10, 1861.

WILLIAM H. NOBLES, Esq., Collector of Cotton:

SIR: I have received your letter and inclosures of this date, claiming that you are authorized to take
possession of the cotton in the deserted portions of South Carolina, and also of all other public
property. The instructions of Brigadier-General Sherman clearly give you authority to collect, gin, and
pack cotton. I am not advised of the extent of your authority in regard to quartermaster and
commissary stores. The letter of instructions of
Captain Saxton does not give the information. I have,
however, to inform you that I have taken military possession of Ladies Island, and shall proceed to
collect and take charge of such quartermaster and commissary stores as my parties may take
possession of-not interfering, however, with your operations in collecting cotton on that island or the
quartermaster or commissary stores you have already collected.

I shall not permit you to establish an agency at Beaufort, or to interfere in any way with the steps
already taken by the commanding general to collect the cotton and the quartermaster and
commissary stores on Port Royal Island and its dependencies.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.
General Stevens was correct in the limited nature of the agent's power. From the commissioning
document (See
William H. Nobles Commission) he was confined to cotton. This is going to lead
to early and continual tension between the military command efforts and other efforts in the
Port Royal Experiment.
General Isaac Stevens