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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
NEW ORLEANS, October 8th, 1864.
MY DEAR MR. CHASE: Of military
news from this Depart. I have little to give you. Quite a large number of troops were sent, about two weeks ago, from here to Missouri or Arkansas, to meet the expected invasion there, and have not yet returned.
From the best information I can
gather, I judge that Mobile is to be attacked within sixty days. It was the intention to start an expedition overland for Mobile, about two weeks from today, but perhaps the troubles in Missouri may delay it.
Plumly is here and is Chairman
of the Board of Education for Freedmen established under order from Banks. This Board is doing much for the education of colored children and adults throughout the Dept. Plumly seems to attend to his business and I think is doing much good. I am very sorry he wrote you that letter, about which I knew nothing until long after my return from the North. I attribute it to the influence of Banks, for I observed that after being with Banks a good deal, he was inclined to speak unkindly of you. At any rate, I thought I observed this, and could not account for it except by supposing that Banks did not desire him to resume relations with you. Plumly is wholly, completely - thoroughly devoted to Banks - his enthusiastic admirer and his - obedient Servant.
I am sorry you interposed to save Mr. Flanders, as, from your letter, I judge was the fact. I am satisfied his continuance in office prejudices " instead of promoting, the public interests."
All that is
disagreeable and unsatisfactory in him, becomes more intense, manifest and prominent every day. I do not think he has a friend among the business men of this City or Country. His manners are considered rude and insulting, and he seems to have no regard for private interests or personal rights. He has driven out each of his principal assistants, beginning with Plumly and Price, and ending with Mr. Hutchins, who resigned last week, saying that he could stand it no longer, and that Flanders was the first man with and for whom it was impossible for him to do business in some way or other. Mr. Breckenridge is now his chief man, but there is certain to be a row before long. I am sorry - Mr. Hutchins left the office, for he was kind and polite, and people used to like to go to him even when he had to refuse their requests. Is it for the interest of the Government to keep in office one who has no practical knowledge of business, and who makes no friends, but continually makes enemies to the Gov't? It has been growing and it is now growing worse every day, as his unpopularity reveals itself and his feelings become embittered. His very integrity is offensive, because offensively displayed. What possible gain is it to the Gov't to impose such an infliction on this people'? A more thoroughly disgusted people I never saw. Mr. Hutchins says that he thinks Flanders is sometimes somewhat crazy - I don't know - but I think the people who do business with him will be very apt to become so.
I hear frequently from the
Confederacy, and my intelligence is reliable. The people are very
greatly depressed and discouraged and the intelligent leaders
acknowledge that the Southern Confederacy is played out
. They testify to their faith by their works, for they are all speculating and plundering the people at every opportunity, that they may acquire money and send it to Europe, where, at last they expect to retire. Magruder, in Texas, made a large fortune, but the interesting Jew whom he employed as agent, died one fine day, and shortly after his wife, in answer to Gen. Magruder's anxious inquiries, informed him that there was nothing to his credit on her husband's books. She went to Europe and Magruder is a wiser and better South Carolinian.
If with great damage to Lee's Army, Grant takes Richmond, I should not be astonished to see the Confederacy collapse any day thereafter.
If Banks had succeeded, as with his ample means he ought, the Southern Confederacy would soon cease to exist. I hope you will write to me when convenient, for a letter from you gives me very great satisfaction, and pleasure.
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