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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
NEW YORK, June 13th, 1863.
DEAR SIR: I leave this afternoon on the S. S. "Morning Star."
A letter from New Orleans tells me that Mr. Bullitt, the next day after I left, discharged three of the best Union
men in the Custom House for no cause, but to make room for his friends, who are not generally distinguished for loyalty. This is wrong and the effect is very bad. I am glad Mr. Hutchins is going there. In this, as in other respects, your judgment is best.
A project has suggested itself to me this morning, in talking with many persons about raising troops, &c., and about McClellan. McClellan is very popular with some classes and it cannot be denied that be is much beloved by the soldiers who have served under him. The copperheads make a handle of him for their own purposes. Acquiring my opinions in the South, I used to admire him, but do not now.
I am told he could raise 50,000 men at once in New York, in a few days and twice that number in a few weeks, and that all the recently discharged soldiers would immediately re-enlist under him. What I propose for your consideration is as follows. That McClellan be ordered to make his headquarters in this City and raise an army to be under his command. It could be sent to the Shenandoah or to East Tennessee.
Thereby, I think a fine army would be speedily raised—of many old soldiers--and the copper heads would have their underpinning knocked from under them. I think the movement would be very popular.
Knowing all the objections, if there be any, to this proj- ect, and all the circumstances, you can instantly decide if the plan be worth considering. The same thing could be done for Fremont in St. Louis and Chicago, and perhaps for Butler in Massachusetts.
By the papers, I see that the Louisiana Planters are in Washington. If you decide in their favor concerning tax on sugar or Cistern Bottoms (and I suppose you will) a point can be made, by permitting it to appear that your decision is owing to their representations and a desire to promote their interests.
I shall write you at once from New Orleans. Pardon my present haste.
P. S. I think you had better defer your decision concerning salaries of officers of Internal Revenue in Louisiana. I
will consult with Mr. Higgins, the Assessor, and write al once to you all the facts, whereon you can base your decision.
It is of great importance that the time of collecting the tax on sugar, &c. be settled at once, so that our labor may not be thrown away. The accompanying letter recapitulate some of the facts.
Cottmann and Malhiot are the most important men in the Louisiana Delegation. I understand Zachary is working with Bullitt against Gray.
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