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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
(Private and Unofficial)
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 24th,, 1862.
DEAR SIR: Your kind letter of the
8th. inst. reached me yesterday. I showed it to Gen. Butler, as you
gave me permission to do. The General requests me to present to you
his kindest regards. He is satisfied that Slavery must be abolished,
and he will do his part at such time as he thinks proper. He
humorously remarked that his colored Brigade was of about the
complexion, (upon the average) of the Vice President. He says that
after properly organizing and drilling them, he believes they can
march triumphantly from here to Kentucky. To-morrow the first Reg't.
receives arms and joins the army. The second is fully enlisted and
is being drilled. A third will be organized, but the General has
arms for no more. His order says none are to be received but those
who have received freedom through some recognized legal channel -
but these are of three classes, viz: - Those who have received
freedom from their owners. 2nd. Those who are made free by the
present military courts. 3rd. All
who come in from the enemy's lines. You see this includes almost all colored people. Gen. Butler will manage this matter wisely and well.
Gen. Butler does more work than any other man in Louisiana. Every thought seems to be given to the interest of the Government, and his powers of endurance are remarkable. No other man could fill his place here. His popularity among Union men is great and increasing. As I told you in a former letter, it is to be regretted that his brother does business here, but I do not think the General is interested in his speculations. He learns everything and forgets nothing. He comes in contact with the best minds in the State, and is equal, or superior, to them all.
During the week ending last night, the number of people who have taken the oath of allegiance, is very great. Every place where the oath was administered, was thronged. Secessionists can be tamed and Gen. Butler can do it. I should say three-fourths; at least, of the citizens have taken the oath, and yet not a threat was made against such as should not take it. I have reason to believe the General will be very severe toward those who persist in calling themselves loyal to the Southern Confederacy. I think he will confiscate their property and remove them beyond the lines.
Notwithstanding Federal reverses, the Union feeling develops itself satisfactorily, and many have really ceased to be secessionists
The Prussian Ship "Essex" has on board many cases of plate and bullion shipped by rebels. Gen. Butler directed me to grant no clearance to the ship until the cases were landed. The ship has been waiting for a clearance three
days, but will (probably) land the cases soon, when there will be no more trouble.
Since I have been here, two small vessels have cleared for Pensacola with Gen. B.'s permit. Admiral Farragut may perhaps complain of these vessels, for one or both, ran into rebel ports or were captured by the enemy. At any rate, they did not reach Pensacola. The Navy seized the Prize Schooner "Emma " at Ship Island, sent by me to New York. I had put iron on her to complete cargo. She was released and continued her voyage.
The business of the Custom House goes on very satisfactorily. The Mr. Flanders I spoke of is not the one you know, but his brother, and is not perhaps a proper person for Surveyor. He is a proper person for Clerk to perform the duties of Deputy Surveyor and for this office I have nominated him the office of Surveyor being included, I suppose, in my position as Special Agent and Acting Collector.
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