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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

(Private)

NEW ORLEANS, December 17th. 1862.

DEAR SIR: Gen. Banks and staff arrived here on the evening of Sunday the 14th, and he assumed command of the Department of the Gulf yesterday. Enclosed is Gen. Butler's final order - and Gen. Banks' order on assuming command.
I endeavor to ascertain how this change is received here and the result of my inquiries and observations is very satisfactory. Probably those most intimately connected with Gen. Butler, regret the change, and many of the loyal citizens express a fear that the new administration of affairs, will lack the vigor and ability of the former. Some also, think that injustice has been done Gen. Butler in removing him from a command where he has succeeded so admirably. But the general expression is one of satisfaction. The fact is, that the extensive commercial proceedings which were tolerated (to say the least) by the former Commanding General, have created a general disgust. The public opinion was fixed, that these transactions were for Gen. Butler's own benefit, and the dissatisfaction on this account was intense. Gen. Butler has always been very kind to me, and assisted me whenever asked & I feel very grateful to him. But yet I believe the change is a good one. I was intending to write to you by this mail, giving considerable information about speculations here, but it is now unnecessary - & I suppose all such evils will be speedily corrected.
I have seen Gen. Banks but once, but by his invitation am to meet him to-day or to-morrow, for the purpose of giving him all the information in my possession. I shall endeavor to keep you promptly informed of everything transpiring here. Gen. Banks' troops have arrived in large numbers. I do not know whether all have come. It is not certainly known why Gen. Butler was removed. Some say it is on account of demands of France - others that it is on account of speculations - others that it is owing to representations of Admiral Farragut.
I have learned that little more in regard to the Schooner "L. L. Davis" which run into Pontchitoula. Gen. Butler believes that I am satisfied that Col. Butler had nothing to do with it. I am not so satisfied. Gen. Butler says he has ascertained that a prominent officer (I suspect he, refers to Col. French - Pro. Marshal) loaded the vessel in good faith for Matamoras and that the captain ran away from him. I do not now know whether the evidence taken down will be sent to Washington. I think I shall lay the whole matter before General Banks.
I want some money. Three hundred Dollars in gold, which I brought with me, and a few hundred dollars since received by your order, have been sufficient to pay my expenses but is now consumed. I transmit to-day an official receipt for $25,000 legal tender notes, which have just arrived to pay expenses of the office. About my own pay I wrote to you Oct. 10th. I shall not pay myself out of the $25,000. for the fact is, I never really understood what my compensation is.

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Annual Report of the American Historical Association; Volume II; Washington, Government Printing Office; 1903

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