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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, June 26th, 1863.

DEAR SIR: I arrived here last Sunday having been absent from New Orleans twenty-three days, and have since been hard at work. I found that there had been much trouble, which commenced as soon as I was fairly away, wherein I think Mr. Bullitt has acted very unwisely and wrong. Matters have quieted down and go on much more smoothly now. Mr. Hutchins is giving his whole attention to the duties assigned to him by you.
A question has arisen between Mr. Bullitt and myself concerning permits, which Mr. Hutchins explains to you, in his letter of to-day, which question I hope you will decide at once and inform Mr. B. and myself of your decision.
Mr. B. holds that permits for boats, vessels, &c., (the ordinary means of transportation here) should be issued by him alone.
I hold that such permits are a part of "Commercial Intercourse" - created by the Regulations and not necessary before - must necessarily be in the same hands as the permits for supplies carried by the boats - and that Mr. B. should attend only to regular Custom House business with which I do not wish to interfere. Mr. Hutchins has stated the case in detail and fairly.
The grand and final assault on Port Hudson is to be made to-morrow. Gen. Banks has 1400 volunteers for the storming party - and the negroes . Great confidence is felt that he will capture the place, but only a few know that to-morrow is to be the day. We have mined the enemy's works. Gen. Banks has about 15,000 men with him fit for duty. I have made arrangements to send you a dispatch from South West Pass at two o'clock to-morrow, with the latest up to that hour.
Gen. Magruder with considerable force recaptured Brashier City and partially reoccupied the Lafourche Country. His numbers are stated at 4,000 - and sometimes as high as 18,000. Much alarm has been and is still felt as to the safety of the city, but it is needless. I don't mean that the military authorities are alarmed, but the citizens - who are easily frightened. Our forces have retreated to Algiers - Magruder was supposed to be advancing on N. Orleans, but to-night I hear he has retreated back to Berwick's Bay. I regard the whole thing as simply an attempt to relieve Port Hudson by threatening the City and frightening Gen. Banks to come from Port Hudson to defend N. O. But New Orleans is not in danger of capture and Gen. Banks knows it. We have men and ships enough here to take care of ourselves. Magruder's Texans must have done, however, a great deal of damage to plantations and the poor negroes, of whom they will carry off probably a large number.
If Gen. B. should fail to-morrow I suppose he will at once raise the siege.
Up to date, our whole loss at Port Hudson - killed, wounded and missing - is 1900.
I hope to receive from you by next steamer the important instructions concerning Internal Revenue in Louisiana, and the date from which the tax is to be enforced. I shall write more fully concerning the Custom House troubles if necessary, but Mr. Hutchins is attending to them, and it is better all statements should come from him. I am perfectly satisfied however, that Mr. Bullitt will have to be relieved - that it will be necessitated by political reasons even if he was otherwise unexceptionable.

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

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