Copy, DLC-RTL. The copy of Lincoln's letter in Edward D. Neill's handwriting accompanies Neill's copy of William P. Fessenden's letter to D. A. Nunn and W. P. Bond of Nashville, Tennessee, February 17, 1865:
``I have received your communications, making application for permission to ship to a loyal State certain cotton alleged to have been raised by you, upon your own plantations, situated within the State of Tennessee.
``If I understand the statements made in your letters the facts are these; that you are the owners of plantations lying in the State of Tennessee, to the north of the City of Memphis; that while such plantations were within the military lines of the United States forces, you planted your crop, but before its maturity the lines of military occupation were contracted, and you were thus thrown beyond them; that the crop was raised in part by your slave labor, notwithstanding which such slave labor was compensated by you in money, in addition to the support and clothing which previous to the rebellion it was customary to allow such laborers, and that the rest of the crop was cultivated by labor, compensated by you.
``You therefore claim under the Act of July 2, 1864, the right under the Regulations, to ship that cotton to a loyal State, upon the payment of the prescribed fees and taxes; but represent that objections are made to such shipment, on the part of the military. The Regulations under the law direct the officers of this Department to grant permits for the shipment to loyal States of the products of insurrectionary States, when such products at the date of the law, or subsequently were within the lines of military occupation provided that such officers are satisfied that such products were raised by the applicants own labor, or the labor of freedmen or others paid by them; and so far as the officers of this Department are concerned, such permits on application by you, would doubtless be granted, on their being satisfied that the provisions of law were fully complied with.
``If however, objections to moving the cotton are presented by the military, it is not in the province of this Department, to control their decision.''