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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 1, Ch. VI–Correspondence.


January 10-February 19, 1861.


JANUARY 10, 1861.

DANIEL W. ADAMS, Military Board, New Orleans:

Secret attempts continue to be made to garrison Southern ports. We think there is special reason to fear surprise from Gulf squadron.



[JANUARY 10, 1861.]

Gov. T. O. MOORE, Baton Rouge:

The danger is not from Saint Louis, but from sea.



NEW ORLEANS, January 12, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that I this morning received a telegram from the overseer at Fort Saint Philip, stating that that fort as well as Fort Jackson had been taken possession of by the State troops, and asking for instructions. My instructions to him were to stop operations at once, and to close all accounts with the Government, at the same time transmitting to you by telegraph a statement of the occurrence. The hands discharged will be up here in a day or two, and there is nothing to Pay them with. What the actual amount due them is I cannot tell until I hear again from Mr. Dart, the overseer; but $300 would cover it, and I respectfully suggest that if the convenience of the Treasury does not admit of the remittance of the remainder of the {p.497} appropriation for this work, nor of the amount allowed by the Department from the contingent fund for its use, yet it may be, perhaps, in a position to furnish without delay this smaller amount of $300 for the payment of the white hands, who are really in need of it. Hoping that my action in the matter may meet the approval of the Department,

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WALTER McFARLAND, Brevet Second Lieutenant, Engineers.


HEADQUARTERS LOUISIANA MILITIA, Adjutant-General’s Office, New Orleans, January 28, 1861.

Dr. S. P. MOORE, Surgeon, U. S. Army:

SIR: In the name of the sovereign State of Louisiana, I now demand of you possession of the medical department, and of all the property, &c., now under your control and in your possession, belonging to the United States of America, for which the State of Louisiana is and will be accountable, and receipt for the same will be given to you.

By order of Thomas O. Moore, governor and commander-in-chief:

M. GRIVOT, Adjutant and Inspector General Louisiana.


NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 28, 1861.

Adjutant-General GRIVOT, State of Louisiana:

SIR: I have this morning (28th instant) received your communication demanding, in the name of the State of Louisiana, the possession of all the public property in this city belonging to the General Government in my charge. I have not the means of resisting this authority. The only course remaining for me is that the exchange of the proper papers will be made under protest.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. P. MOORE, Surgeon, U. S. Army.


NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 28, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

I have this day made a requisition on Bvt. Lieut. Col. A. C. Myers, A. Q. M., of which I inclose a copy. I also inclose a copy of his reply. In conversation with many persons in this city to-day, I am astonished to find a most marked and determined change of feeling towards the Government at Washington. Under all circumstances I consider that any purchase *of subsistence in this market for and on account of the United States, would run great risk of seizure for the use and benefit of the troops now in arms in this State.

I am, very respectfully, &c.,

C. L. KILBURN, Captain and C. S.



NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 28, 1861.

Capt. C. L. KILBURN, C. S., U. S. Army, New Orleans:

CAPTAIN: I have your communication addressed to me as assistant quartermaster, U. S. A., New Orleans, La., inclosing me, a copy of an order from the War Department, dated Washington, January 9, 1861, directing you to resume your duties in New Orleans; also making requisition on me for an office, a warehouse for packing stores, and for your allowance of fuel and quarters as allowed by Army Regulations, or the commutation thereof. In reply, I have to inform you that I cannot comply with your requisitions. My duties as an officer of the U. S. Army cease this day by the act of the sovereign State of Louisiana in taking possession of all property under my control belonging to the United States of America.

I am your obedient servant,

A. C. MYERS, Lieutenant-Colonel, A. Q. M.


NEW ORLEANS, February 2, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of instructions of the 16th ultimo. This delay is due to the fact that at the time of its arrival, and for several days afterward, I was absent at the forts. The State has employed one former overseer and several hands, and in a day or so the river revetment and levee at Fort Saint Philip will be ready for the rise of the river. The materials, however, which we had collected at Fort Jackson for the construction of the lower battery are being wasted as fast as raw troops know how.

I have also to inform you that I have this morning had served upon me a paper signed by the governor of the State of Louisiana, demanding possession of all United States property under my charge, and offering receipts for the same, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. As I have no authority for entering into any such transaction with the State of Louisiana, nor the power to retain possession of this property in opposition to the will of the State. I have refused to accept such receipts, leaving to the State the responsibility of forcible seizure of such property.

The mint and custom-house were yesterday seized by the State. As I learned the day before that such was to be the case, and that thereafter money could be drawn from the former only under authority of the governor, I removed therefrom the unexpended balance of $543.57 of the appropriation for the harbor on Lake Pontchartrain, which: has been lying there idle for years, and have applied it to the payment of the clerk and hired men employed upon the forts, to whom the Government was indebted, and whose wants were pressing in the extreme. Such an application I know to be unauthorized, but the emergency of the case will, I trust, be my justification. I acted upon the supposition that the Government would prefer having its money go into the hands of those who were justly entitled to it rather than into the State treasury.

I should like to hear the opinion of the Department in reference to this matter.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WALTER McFARLAND, Brevet Second Lieutenant, Engineers.



HEADQUARTERS LOUISIANA MILITIA, Adjutant-General’s Office, New Orleans, February 2, 1861.

Bvt. Second Lieut. WALTER McFARLAND, U. S. Engineer Department:

SIR: In the name of the sovereign State of Louisiana, I now demand of you possession of the offices and bureaus, and of all the property, maps, plans, &c., appertaining to the United States Engineer Department, now in your custody, charge, and control, belonging to the United States of America, for which the State of Louisiana is and will be accountable, and receipts for the same will be given you.

By order of T. O. Moore, governor and commander-in-chief:

M. GRIVOT, Adjutant and Inspector General, Louisiana.


ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE? Washington, February 5, 1861.

Col. A. C. MYERS, Late Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. Army, New Orleans, La.

SIR: Your communication of the 28th ultimo, inclosing copy of a demand made upon you for the surrender of the public property in your possession to the State of Louisiana, has been submitted to the Secretary of War, by whom I am directed to return the following reply:

The demand of the government of Louisiana for the surrender of the United States property in your charge was an act of spoliation to which you seem to have yielded in anything but a commendable spirit. The adjustment of your accountability to the Government for that property is a matter for consideration at the proper time.

Your resignation had been accepted by the President prior to the receipt of the letter herein referred to, and it is needless to say the action of the President had no reference to the circumstances alluded to by you in connection with it.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.


This letter is returned to the Secretary of War because it shows a splenetic spirit and contains offensive language from a source personally irresponsible.


NEW ORLEANS, February 18, 1861.


WAR DEPARTMENT, February 7, 1861.

His Excellency THOMAS O. MOORE, Governor of Louisiana, Baton Rouge:

SIR: I learn from a report of Bvt. Lieut. Col. A. C. Myers, late assistant quartermaster, in the service of this Department at New Orleans, that on the 28th ultimo, under your direction and in the name of the State of Louisiana, “all the quartermaster’s and commissary stores, and {p.500} all other property under his control and in his possession, belonging to the United States,” were seized, and are now held under your authority.

The title of the United States to the stores, &c., thus taken is not controverted, they having been purchased with its funds, much of which was received by citizens of Louisiana. Their presence within your State, however it might excite the cupidity of wicked men, was in every respect lawful and harmless, and could in no degree, I should suppose, compromise the public safety. Their seizure, under the circumstances, was an act of flagrant and atrocious spoliation, which I can scarcely believe had the sanction of a government professing to be organized for the maintenance of law and order, and to be regulated by those principles of justice and morality which are inseparable from the civilization of the age.

I invite your excellency’s attention to the matter as one which, you must perceive, much more deeply concerns the honor and fair fame of Louisiana than it does the pecuniary interests of the United States, and I await your reply in the confident expectation that you will disavow this discreditable act of your subordinate, and order a restoration of the property to the United States.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT, Secretary of War.

* See Moore to Buchanan, February 16, 1861, p. 501.


NEW ORLEANS, February 9, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer, Washington, A C.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 28, relieving me from duty at this post, and ordering me to Key West. In reference to so much of it as relates to transfer of property and funds to Major Beauregard, who has arrived, I have to state that there is nothing to transfer, all money having been paid out and an property seized upon by the State authorities. The monthly papers have already been forwarded, and the quarterly papers will be transmitted also as soon as ready. I shall leave by the first opportunity for my new destination.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WALTER McFARLAND, Brevet Second Lieutenant, Engineers.


NEW ORLEANS, LA., February 13, 1861.


GENTLEMEN: As time presses, and it may soon become urgent to prepare for the worst, permit me to make a few suggestions, which may lead towards that desirable end. In the first place, we must look to our most vulnerable point, the Mississippi River; for one single steamer, with only two or three heavy guns, coming into the port of New Orleans, would in a few hours destroy millions’ worth of property or lay the city under a forced contribution of millions of dollars.

It is an undeniable fact that in the present condition of Forts Jackson {p.501} and Saint Philip any steamer can pass them in broad daylight, and that, even when in a proper condition for defense, they could not prevent the passage of one or more steamers during a dark or stormy night, except with the assistance of a properly constructed raft, or a strong wire-rope, across the river, between the two forts, so as to arrest the course of said steamers, even for only half an hour, under the severe cross-fire of said works.

The first thing to be done is to commence the constructions of (or prepare at least the materials for) said obstacles. Then the guns of the land fronts of Fort Jackson ought to be mounted at once on the river fronts. The guns, chassis, and carriages at Baton Rouge, Forts Pike and Wood, Battery Bienvenue, &c., where they are not required at present, ought to be sent at once to these two forts on the river, to be put in position as advantageously as possible on their river fronts; not overlooking, however, their flank guns of the other fronts. All said chassis and carriages ought to be tried forthwith by double charges of powder and shot. Ample supplies of ammunition ought to be sent there forthwith. The trees along the river masking the fire of those two forts, up and down, ought to be cut down at once, particularly those on the Fort Jackson side. In a few words, no expenses ought to be spared to put those two works in a most efficient state of defense, for fifty thousand or a hundred thousand dollars spent thus might, a few weeks hence, save millions of dollars to the State and the city of New Orleans.

A rough calculation shows me that the raft spoken of would cost about forty thousand dollars, and three wire-cables probably sixty thousand dollars. I prefer the first. Mr. John Roy, my former assistant architect on the new custom-house, would be of great assistance in the construction of either of said obstacles.

In haste, I remain, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Baton Rouge, La., February 16, 1861.

His Excellency JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United States:

SIR: I inclose a letter received recently from the acting head of the War Department, Washington.* I infer that it was written without being submitted to your inspection, for throughout your long and distinguished service as a legislator, diplomatist, and executive you have, been known to be a strict observer of the conventionalities of official intercourse. Without commenting on the tenor and spirit of the letter, I take pleasure in assuring you that I will promptly communicate to your Excellency any information you may desire concerning the action of the State of Louisiana in relation to any property lately belonging to the Federal Government, when such information is asked for in an appropriate manner and in respectful terms. With the highest regard and esteem for your Excellency, I remain,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


* See Holt to Moore, February 7, 1861, p. 499.


Main TitleThe War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Corporate NameUnited States. War Department.
Published/Created[S.l.], L.McKee and C.G. Robertson, 1859.
ContentsSer. I. v. 1-53 [serial no. 1-111] Formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the southern states, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, order and returns relating specially thereto. 1880-1898. 111 v.--ser. II. v. 1-8 [serial no. 114-121] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns, Union and Confederate, relating to prisoners of war and to state or political prisoners. 1894 [i.e. 1898]-1899. 8 v.--ser. III. v. 1-5 [serial no. 122-126] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Union authorities (embracing their correspondence with the Confederate officials) note relating specially to the subjects of the first and second series. It embraces the reports of the Secretary of War, of the general-in-chief and of the chiefs of the several staff corps and departments ... 1899-1900. 5 v.--ser. IV. v. 1-3 [serial no. 127-129] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Confederate authorities, similar to that indicated for the Union officials, as of the third series, but including the correspondence between the Union and Confederate authorities given in that series. 1900. 3 v.--[serial no. 130] General index and additions and corrections. Mr. John S. Moodey, indexer. Preface [by Elihu Root, Secretary of War]. Explanations. Synopsis of the contents of volumes. Special index for the principal armies, army corps, military divisions and departments. General index. Additions and corrections [arranged consecutively by volumes]. 1901.