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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
NEW ORLEANS, September 12th, 1863.
DEAR SIR: In your letter of the 26th, of August, you refer to an article in the "True Delta" entitled "an appeal to the West". I think you attach too much importance to the article, and overestimate the influence of the paper. The Editor Kennedy is always in opposition to those in authority, unless he can make a personal gain by being otherwise, and is fond of abusive language which he uses on all occasions. The character of the paper is so well known here that people estimate it at its true value. What else can be expected of an Irishman (as Kennedy is) with red hair?
I read to Gen. Banks such portions
your letter as were proper to be read by him, and he seemed gratified at such apparent confidence. He asked me to give him a copy of that portion of the letter referring to the "True Delta", and he would see that there was no continuance of such remarks. I complied with his request, and he saw Dr. Kennedy about it, and to-day informed me that not only would nothing more of the kind be published, but the effect of the previous article would be counteracted - so far as it could be, without an appearance of effort. Gen. Banks acted very kindly in this matter - voluntarily and sincerely. You must remember that Kennedy thinks that the greatest blessing Heaven has ever bestowed upon the South, is the institution of slavery, and of course he feels bitterly toward all supposed to be instrumental in abolishing it. You need not be surprised, however, to see before long in the "True Delta", articles strongly in your favor. I have lately cultivated Dr. Kennedy's acquaintance and had an opportunity of doing him unexpected kindness. It is, probably, needless to say that Kennedy's remarks about the Treasury officers being
political agents, etc., was entirely without excuse. I have been very cautious and so has Mr. Flanders and Plumly, about giving any ground for such a statement. The fact that we are strongly in favor of the proclamation - in other words, Abolitionists - was reason enough for Kennedy to say the most stinging things in his power. Kennedy is Banks' friend and praises him extravagantly. There have been some quarrels here among officials of the City Government, which resulted in the prosecution of a man named Collins for libel against some of the City officers. Collins was tried before Judge Hughes (the Provost Judge of the City, appointed by Gov. Shepley) and sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine. Now Kennedy, as usual had repeated and endorsed Collins' charges with malicious vehemence, and after the trial, continued to make the same charges for which Collins was sentenced. Whereupon he was prosecuted as Collins had been, but just before the trial was to occur, an order appeared from Gen. Banks abolishing Judge Hughe's Court (which had been established by Gov. Shepley) and turning the whole business of the Court over to Gen. Bowen. Thereby Kennedy was saved from punishment, which was the main object of the order. Subsequently an order was issued depriving the Mayor (appointed by Gov. Shepley) of all control over the city telegraph, used principally for police purposes, and this was soon followed by another order prohibiting all officers from receiving any pay except what their military rank entitled them to. This was a blow aimed at Gen. Shepley's officers who have military rank, but fill civil positions for which they received the customary salary. Gov. Sheply has arrived here, and I am glad of it, for I think matters would soon have gone disagreeably far, in his absence. All this intrigue seems to me unmanly, and I consider Gen. Bowen (Pro. Marshal) mainly accountable for it. When I say that Gen. Shepley is your friend I mean, particularly, that he is an earnest advocate of that policy of which you are generally regarded as, if not the founder, at least the great and chief support. Bowen interferes with everything, but I do not think he acts openly' at least I have never observed that he did.
I frequently consult with Gen. Banks, as you request, yet without much result, for he is very slow to express a decision about anything and leaves much to his subordinate officers. This is very different from Gen. Butler, who not only decided all important matters, but personally arranged the smallest details.
A great expedition left
here a few days ago. They went to Sabine pass (which divides the coast of Louisiana from that of Texas) and were disgracefully repulsed, losing three Gunboats and all the men on them - viz. - the "Clifton" 8 guns, "Sachem" 4 guns and "Clinton" guns unknown. The Clifton was a powerful boat and very heavily armed. All three of them were disabled and captured. The expedition returned here without further loss and the advance on Texas will immediately be made overland. I believe Gen. Franklin commanded the expedition. He landed with a few men, but the land was too swampy to pet-mit the landing of a large force. Gen. Banks says the expedition failed for want of adequate supply of light draught gunboats, but I am inclined to think it was not very well planned. However the loss can easily be repaired and soon will be. The number of troops now in this Dept. is very large, and I believe they will easily sweep over Texas.
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