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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, September 9th, 1862.

DEAR SIR: The newspapers which I send, will give you most of the local news.
One Regiment of the Free Colored Brigade is full, and about 500 more are already enlisted. Surgeons and officers speak highly of the physical qualities of the men. Most of them are a very light color, and, I believe, will make good soldier's. I admire the characteristic shrewdness with which Gen. Butler has managed this affair. By accepting a regiment which had already been in Confederate Service, he left no room for complaint (by the Rebels) that the Government were arming the negroes. But, in enlisting, nobody inquires whether the recruit is (or has been) a slave. As a consequence the boldest and finest fugitives have enlisted, while the whole organization is known as the "Free Colored Brigade." Without doubt it will be a success.
It is understood here that Gen. Phelps' resignation has been accepted. The controversy between Generals Butler and Phelps, is much regretted by the best Union men. Gen. Phelps is beloved by his soldiers, and no man has suspected his integrity and disinterestedness. This is not strictly true of Gen. Butler, for while all admire his great ability, many of his soldiers think him selfish and cold-hearted, and many soldiers and citizens - Union and Secessionists think he is interested in the speculations of his brother (Col. Butler) and others.
Sometimes circumstances look very suspicious, but if I happen to hear his explanation of the same circumstances, suspicion almost entirely disappears. I have never been able to discover any good proof that Gen. Butler has improperly done, or permitted, anything for his own pecuniary advantage. He is such a smart man, that it would in any case, be difficult to discover what he wished to conceal.
But it is the general impression here that money will accomplish anything with the authorities. It seems probable, that this impression would not exist without some foundation. It is much to be regretted, but Gen. B.'s abilities, shrewdness, and just severity toward secessionists and proper appreciation of the whole rebellion, cause him to be respected and admired even by his enemies. I believe Gen. Butler's opposition to the enlistment of negroes by Gen. Phelps, was not a matter of principle. Gen. Phelps had the start of him, while Gen. B. wanted the credit of doing the thing himself, and in his own way. And he is doing it, shrewdly and completely, as he does everything.
Notwithstanding the impression above mentioned, it would be difficult to find a man capable of filling Gen. Butler's place, and who would give the same satisfaction to Union men.
The City is very healthy, and the coming of Yellow Fever is no longer feared.
The Iron Clad Gunboat Essex is here from up the River.

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