Two thoroughly reliable Kentuckians just arrived from New Orleans, and report that all along the Mississippi river from Memphis to New Orleans is one general bonfire of property – particularly of cotton – of which 11,700 bales were burned at New Orleans. At Memphis sugar and molasses in large quantities are on the bluff ready to be rolled into the river, and all the stock of cotton to be fired on the approach of the Federal fleet.
The people on the river towns are retreating inward and destroying property along all the southern tributaries of the Mississippi.
The planters in many cases are applying the torch to their own cotton.
The rebel government has also boats running up the rivers destroying cotton. Among a great number of planters only one was found who objected to the burning of his cotton.
– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, May 10, 1862, p. 1