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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

(Private)

NEW ORLEANS, Jnuary 26th, 1863.

DEAR SIR: The situation is the same as when I last wrote. There is no movement of troops, so far as I am informed, and there appears to be no probability of an advance in any direction.
The New York papers will state that the "Harriet Lane" has escaped from Galveston and gone to sea. This is not true. She is still in the harbor according to official advices just received here.
It is rumored here that the, "Ovieto" has been captured. Admiral Farragut does not believe it. When she escaped from Mobile the "Cuyler" went in pursuit and neither vessel has yet been heard from.
Three days ago a steamer supposed to be the Alabama appeared at the mouth of the river, and then steered off in a southwest direction. The Admiral sent a vessel from here (The Mississippi) to follow her. As the "Alabama" is the faster vessel and had a start of 100 miles, and the Mississippi started from here 24 hours after the Rebel vessel was seen - it is not probable that anything will be effected.
It should not be forgotten that here is the place to make the proclamation effective. I am afraid Gen. Banks will never do it. He decides and moves too slowly and is too much afraid of responsibilities. He does not seem to regard with favor the three fine regiments already raised, and declines putting them in the field. I told you that they had sent him a petition to be put in the front rank at Port Hudson, that they might remove from their race the stigma of cowardice, etc. In all the regiments Gen. Banks brought with him, three cannot be selected so efficient as these three colored regiments, and in my opinion, they would be worth any five of the raw regiments Gen. Banks brought with him. I see Gen. Banks almost every day, but am perfectly ignorant of his plans and intentions. I do not wish to retract or qualify any statement in my late letters to you - nor in a letter to Mr. Flanders which I asked him to show you.
If my letters are uninteresting or too frequent, please inform me.

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

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