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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
NEW ORLEANS, February 4th, 1863.
DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 19th. Jan. is just received. The steamer is about to leave and I have time to reply only partially and in haste. You wish me to be "Sp. Agt. and Acting Surveyor", or "Commissioner of Internal Revenue." Please put me in the place where you want me most, and where I can be most useful to you. I shall write more fully by next mail.
I wish to call your attention to the importance of Special Agent in reference to Regulations of August 28th. If you make me Sp. Agt. and Acting Surveyor, I should think all that business had better be managed and controlled by me, as I am familiar with it, having devoted much attention to it—and as my system is the only one, whereby, without benefit to the enemy, the wants of the country can be supplied. I know nothing of the character of the second office mentioned by you, and shall defer speaking of it until the next mail. I cannot refrain from asking that no general change be made in the subordinate officers, to make places for the New Collector's friends. Those selected by me, and now holding the important positions, accepted office when it was not pleasant or very desirable - and are skilled, honest, efficient and of tried loyalty. Some of them relinquished good places in New York, and came here at your request. Mr. Gray the D'y. Collector, who is brother in law of Mr. Godwin of the Evening Post, is one of these.
I think it the duty of the Government to see that these men be not dismissed without cause.
By the next armed transport for New York, I shall forward what specie is in my hands.
Mr. Walton (New City Treasurer) of whom Mr. Flanders spoke to you, is an excellent man for any place.
To whatever place you assign me, I ought to have an opportunity for a few days or weeks of conferring with Mr. Bullitt, that he may be informed concerning the thousand details peculiar to this position, which otherwise he will be months in learning.
I thank you again and again for the kind expression of your approval. This alone repays any amount of labor and effort.
A great military movement commences shortly—in three or four days perhaps. An advance will be made up the Teche with a large force, and right through to Red River. I know no more of it than this. Port Hudson will not be troubled, as this movement is on the west side of the Mississippi. This comes direct from Gen. Banks.
As I have to settle up, please let me know what my compensation is that no mistake may occur. Twenty words will inform me, and I never yet knew.
Pardon the imperfect manner in which I am obliged to write.
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