Return to Ohio ALHN
Return to Contents

SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, July 15th, 1863.

DEAR SIR: Mr. Hutchins will not leave by the "Creole," as was expected, but will probably go on the "Morning Star" in about ten days.
The Rebel force in the Lafourche and on the Teche is still there. Movements are in progress to cut them off and capture them - or drive them back into Texas, and the matter will be decided in four or five days.
Gen. Banks is expected in the City to-morrow. Mr. Flanders has done but little, as he has been waiting to see the General and have him issue the necessary orders, and it has not been proper or necessary to intrude such matters on his attention while engaged in his great work at Port Hudson.
For the same reason, Mr. Plumly has not seen Gen. Banks since my return, but he will see him and ascertain whatever it may be desirable to know.
Mr. Plumly is devoted to your interest - is a man of perfect honor and cannot betray. Of this I am fully satisfied. And yet he holds this relation to you, at the same time laboring under a conviction that he has been misrepresented to you, and that your confidence in him is impaired. I have ascertained this little by little, and of course, not by direct questioning. For the interests of the colored people he labors unceasingly and unselfishly. He has great and increasing influence. He is enthusiastic and some would say, sometimes visionary, but supplies qualities possessed neither by Mr. Flanders nor myself - qualities more useful in the excitable South than in the North. The feeling that he deserves, but fails to possess your full confidence, seems to him a misfortune if not an injustice, but does not seem to cause his personal loyalty to waver.
The foregoing statement is the result of close and continual observation of which he was not aware. Should my opinion change in the least (which I do not anticipate) you will be informed at once.
I suggest the propriety and expediency of your writing him a private letter such as will remove (in part at least) the impression under which he labors. At any rate it will be a kind action and I believe, worth while.
No State government will be organized fora long time, and I am glad of it, for the time has not yet come for surely succeeding in the plan of universal suffrage essential to our permanent success. The chances will improve day by day, and delay is an advantage - but of final success I have little doubt. Men who fight well have to vote, and Gen. Banks will immediately organize all the negroes he can get. Gen. Andrews will command the "Corps d'Afrique" - a more proper man than Ullmann who will command a Brigade.
A strong party is already forming here, whose leading idea is the restoration of Louisiana to slavery and to the Union, of which party Kennedy, of the "True Delta", is an active and enterprising leader and advocate. The fact that Gen. Emory, (commanding here in Banks' absence) is a bitter pro-slavery man, gives to this party a great but temporary advantage. With these, Mr. Bullitt, who is entirely under Kennedy's control, seems to be in perfect sympathy. Emory, Kennedy and Bullitt are much together - generally at Bullitt's house. We already have too many pro-slavery Generals here, and the papers say Gen. Franklin is coming, who is supposed to be of the same stripe.
I have talked with many officers of the old regiments here, and there seems to be much dissatisfaction in the army. No matter what the papers say, Gen. Banks is unpopular in his army. There may be an improved state of feeling since Port Hudson fell, but that cannot make a very great difference. The reason for this dissatisfaction is this. The whole army, from colonels down, is thoroughly abolitionized. They have seen the negroes drill and fight, and they want to give them a chance and put down slavery. I have not seen a soldier who has not this feeling. But Grover, Emory, Sherman (somewhat) and others, have been ostentatiously pro-slavery all along. (I do not include Weitzel, the best and most popular General here). The army think these men control Banks and his policy, which up to a certain point, was conciliatory. Besides this they (the army) have acquired a very poor opinion of Banks' ability as a military officer, but this may have changed somewhat since the fall of Port Hudson.
You remember that Gen. Banks changed his mild policy all of a sudden, and issued several severe orders in one day. It may be a significant fact that just previous to that time, Mr. Seward's son (who was or is an Asst. secretary, I think) made a flying visit here, went to the front to see Banks, and after staying here four or five days went back to New York. Gen. Banks can recover (in part at least) the army's confidence, and remove dissatisfaction, by adopting a decided and severe policy, which I hope and think he will do. Antislavery feeling continues to develop and grow steadily. Mr. Flanders is the very best man you could get for the position occupied by him. I want Mr. Hutchins to come back here in official position, and will gladly give up to him my place as Coll. of Internal Revenue, if that will induce him, for I believe he would be of great use here politically.
Everything I have to write about Custom House matters, will be sent by the hands of Mr. Hutchins. .
There is great rejoicing here over the fall of Vicksburg, Port Hudson, over Rosecrans' success, and the defeat of the Rebels at Gettysburg. I am sorry to say that no official answer is yet received to the questions regarding " Int. Revenue Tax," which I laid before you in Washington. We can do nothing but wait, until the date from which the tax is to be assessed is determined.
Gen. Banks' private secretary informs me that Port Hudson would have been evacuated, if the investment had been delayed a few hours. The Rebel Commander had the order to evacuate from Johnston, in his pocket, and had commenced its execution when Banks appeared. This fact was not known until after the surrender. Johnston wanted the Port Hudson Garrison to join him back of Vicksburg.

TOP

Home | Ohio Counties | Ohio Biograpies | What's New?
Ohio's Fallen Officers | Ohio Military | Ohio Photo Album
Vintage Ohio Postcards | Crime & Punishment | Early Institutions
Ohio Fun Facts | Lookup Volunteers | Ohio Resources
Ohio Book Shelf




Background Design
by

Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds

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

Page design 2002 - 2008 by &