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

THE
WAR OF THE REBELLION:
A COMPILATION OF THE
OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES.

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CHAPTER VI.
THE SECESSION OF LOUISIANA.
January 10-February 19, 1861.
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REPORTS, ETC.

SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.

January 10, 1861.– United States Arsenal and Barracks at Baton Rouge seized.
11, 1861.– Forts Jackson and Saint Philip seized.
14, 1861.– Fort Pike seized.
26, 1861.– Ordinance of secession adopted.
28, 1861.– Fort Macomb seized. United States property in the hands of Army officers seized at Now Orleans.
February 19, 1861.– United States paymaster’s office at New Orleans seized.

REPORTS, ETC.

No. 1.–Bvt. Maj. Joseph A. Raskin, First U. S. Artillery, of the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal and Barracks at Baton Rouge.
No. 2.–Lieut. John W. Todd, U. S. Ordnance Department, of the seizure of the arsenal at Baton Rouge.
No. 3.–Ordnance Sergeant H. Smith, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip.
No. 4.–Ordnance Sergeant D. Wilber, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Fort Macomb.
No. 5.–Bvt. Lieut. Col. Abraham C. Myers, assist-ant quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of public property in the hands of Army officers at New Orleans.
No. 6.–Maj. Albert J. Smith, paymaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of his office at New Orleans.
No. 7.–Extracts from the message of the governor of Louisiana to the State legislature, January 22, 1861.

No. 1.

Reports of Bvt. Maj. Joseph A. Haskin, First U. S. Artillery, of the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal and Barracks at Baton Rouge.

BATON ROUGE, January 10, 1861.

The barracks and arsenal at this place were surrendered this afternoon at 5 p.m., upon demand of the governor of the State, backed by a very superior force. Instructions asked where to proceed.

J. A. HASKIN, Brevet Major, U. S. Army.

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

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BATON ROUGE BARRACKS, LA., January 11, 1861.

COLONEL: It is my painful duty to announce to you the surrender of the arsenal and barracks at this place to the governor of this State.

The governor collected a large force in the city here yesterday, and about 5 p.m. sent me, by his aides-de-camp, Colonels Bragg and Taylor, a summons, a copy of which I herewith inclose.

Having no assurance of re-enforcements or support, I deemed it proper, after consulting with the officers here, to yield to the demand. I also inclose a copy of the paper signed this morning.

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

J. A. HASKIN, Brevet Major, and Captain, First Artillery.

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

P. S.–I telegraphed to you yesterday for orders, and shall take the first boat I can for Cairo without I receive contrary orders.

J. A. HASKIN, Brevet Major, and Captain, First Artillery.

[Inclosures.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Baton Rouge, La., January 10, 1861.

SIR: The safety of the State of Louisiana demands that I take possession of all Government property within her limits. You are, therefore, summoned hereby to deliver up the barracks, arsenal, and public, property now under your command.

With the large force at my disposal this demand will be enforced. Any attempt at defense on your part will be a rash sacrifice of life.

The highest consideration will be extended to yourself and command.

THOMAS O. MOORE, Governor and Commander-in-Chief Militia of Louisiana.

The COMMANDING OFFICER, Baton Rouge Barracks, Baton Rouge, La.

Articles of agreement between Thos. O. Moore, governor of the State of Louisiana, and Bvt. Maj. Joseph A. Haskin, U. S. Army, commanding the barracks at Baton Rouge, La.

I. Upon the demand of Governor Moore, supported by six hundred men, Major Haskin, from necessity, surrenders the barracks, arsenal, and all public property therein, to the State of Louisiana, receipts to be given by Governor Moore for the same.

II. The officers and enlisted men of the United States are to leave by river transport for some point above and beyond the State of Louisiana, taking their personal effects, infantry armament, camp and garrison equipage, and twenty days’ rations, and to move within thirty-six hours. One or more officers may remain on parole for the settlement of property accounts.

III. The enlisted men of ordnance will vacate the arsenal immediately, which will be occupied by the State troops.

Signed in duplicate at Baton Rouge this the 11th day of January, A. D. 1861.

THOS. O. MOORE, Governor of the State of Louisiana. J. A. HASKIN, Brevet Major, and Captain, First Artillery.

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No. 2.

Report of Lieut. John TV. Todd, U. S. Ordnance Department, of the seizure of the arsenal at Baton Rouge.

BATON ROUGE, January 10, 1861.

The arsenal was surrendered this evening to the governor of Louisiana. Please give me instructions where to proceed with the detachment under my command.

J. W. TODD, Lieutenant, Ordnance Corps.

Col. H. K. CRAIG, Chief of Ordnance Department, U. S. Army.

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No. 3.

Report of Ordnance Sergeant IT. Smith, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip.

FORT JACKSON, LA., January 11, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that this post and Fort Saint Philip were taken possession of by a detachment of Louisiana militia, under the command of Maj. Paul E. Theard, on the 10th instant, by order of the governor of the State of Louisiana, which order I protested against. Having no force to defend the public property, I was forced to surrender it to superior numbers. Inclosed you will find a copy of the above order.

I will remain here and wait for instructions from you. I have taken receipts for all the Government property, except a small quantity of commissary stores, which I kept for my own use.

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

H. SMITH, Ordnance Sergeant, U. S. Army.

Col. SAMUEL COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS LOUISIANA MILITIA, Adjutant-Generals Office, New Orleans, January 10, 1861.

SIR: You will proceed with your detachment on board the steamboat Yankee, and go down to Forts Saint Philip and Jackson, where you will demand of the person in charge of the forts to surrender, and you will take possession of the same in the name of the State of Louisiana. Haul down the United States flags, if floating on the fort, and hoist the pelican flag on Fort Jackson. Place Captain St. Paul, with his company of foot rifles, in possession of Fort Saint Philip. You will take possession of Fort Jackson with the balance of the detachment. You will hold the forts and defend them against any and all attacks to the last. Strict discipline and order must be exacted by you.

T. O. MOORE, Governor, Commander-in-Chief.

M. GRIVOT, Adjutant-General.

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No. 4.

Report of Ordnance Sergeant D. Wilber, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Fort Macomb.

FORT MACOMB, LA., January 31, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report myself at this post. I will also report that Lieut. R. C. Capers, with a detachment of the First Regiment Louisiana Infantry, took charge of this post on the 28th instant. I turned over all the property under protest, closed my public accounts, transmitted them to the departments to which they belong, and, as there is no use at present for an ordnance sergeant at this post, I will request leave of absence for three months to visit my family in Portland, Me.

Respectfully, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

D. WILBER Ordnance Sergeant, U. S. Army.

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

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No. 5.

Reports of Bvt. Lieut. Col. Abraham C. Myers, assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of public property in the hands of Army officers at New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS, January 28, 1861.

The State of Louisiana has this day taken possession of the public property in the custody of the U. S. Army officers stationed in New Orleans.

A. C. MYERS.

The ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY.

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NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 28, 1861.

COLONEL: I herewith inclose you, for the information of the Secretary of War, a copy of an order addressed to me as an officer of the United States Army by the governor of the sovereign State of Louisiana.

I will forward receipts to the proper staff departments of the U. S. Army at Washington for all public property in my custody for which I am accountable, and the public funds in my hands I will turn over to the assistant treasurer of the United State; in New Orleans, furnishing his receipts for the same

South Carolina, the State where I was born, and Louisiana, the State of my adoption, having in convention passed ordinances of secession from the United States, I am absolved from my allegiance to the Federal Government. My resignation as an officer of the U. S. Army is accepted for me by the States above named. I beg that the settlement of my accounts will be made up as soon as possible. I shall make it a point of honor scrupulously to discharge every item of accountability arising from any differences in the official statements and my own in connection {p.493} with my duties while I was in the Army of the United States that I do not explain to the satisfaction of the proper officers of the United States Government.

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

A. C. MYERS.

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

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS LOUISIANA MILITIA, Adjutant-Generals Office, New Orleans, January 28, 1861.

SIR: In the name, of the sovereign State of Louisiana, I now demand of you possession of all the quartermasters and commissary stores, and of all property 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 receipts for the same will be given You.

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

M. GRIVOT, Adjutant and Inspector General, Louisiana.

Lieut. Col. A. C. MYERS, Quartermaster, U. S. Army, New Orleans.

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No. 6.

Report of Maj. Albert J. Smith, paymaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of his office at New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS, February 19, 1861.

SIR: My office, furniture, blanks, &c., have been taken by the State, and now occupied by State officers. My clerk also goes with his State. The small amount of funds to my credit with the assistant treasurer is fully respected, but what will be done by the Southern Congress it is impossible to say. My ditties are little or nothing, and could be as well attended to in Washington. Shall I return to that place? I am at my hotel waiting your instructions. Please inform me if the office messenger shall be discharged, or shall I bring him on to Washington with me? He would be serviceable at my next station.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALBERT J. SMITH, Paymaster, U. S. Army.

Col. BENJAMIN F. LARNED, Paymaster-General U. S. Army, Washington City.

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No. 7.

Extracts from the message of the governor Of Louisiana to the State legislature, January 22, 1861.

...

My opinions on the momentous questions which have convulsed and are destroying the Federal Union, were fully expressed in my message at the recent extra session of the legislature. Your prompt action {p.494} showed how deeply you were moved by the portents of the times-the threatened destruction of essential rights and most vital interest’s of the slaveholding States under the forms of a perverted Constitution-and by the absolute duty of seeking at once for the means of self protection. The vote of the people of this State has since confirmed the faith of their representatives in legislative and executive station that the undivided sentiment of the State is for immediate and effective, resistance, and that there is not found within her limits any difference of sentiment, except as to minor points of expediency in regard to the manner and time of making such resistance, so as to give it the most imposing form for dignity and success. Our enemies who have driven on their conflict with the slaveholding States to this extremity will have found that throughout the borders of Louisiana we are one people-a people with one heart and one mind, who will not be cajoled into an abandonment of their rights, and who cannot be subdued.

Whatever lingering hopes might have been felt by confiding men of the South that these dissensions would be healed by the voluntary act of the people of the North within the Union, have disappeared under the accumulating proofs that the Northern majority is implacable. No proffer of peace, on any terms, has emanated from them. The propositions tendered by the most moderate-minded and Union-loving statesmen of the South-not as expressing the whole measure of rights to which the Southern people are entitled, but as a project for conciliation to which they might be brought to consent for the old love of Union-which was the passion of Southern hearts-have been contumeliously rejected.

The common cry throughout the North is for coercion into submission by force of arms, if need be, of every State, and of all the States in the South, which claim the right of separation, for causes, from a Government which they deem fatal to their safety. There can no longer be doubt of the wisdom of that policy which demands that the conflict shall come, and shall be settled now.

The sovereign people of this State have so decreed; and within a few hours their delegates will meet in convention to put this judgment into a form from which there will be no right and no disposition within the State to appeal. Being executed by a unanimous and willing people, it will be entitled to the respect of the world, and the acquiescence of all powers and authorities whatsoever.

But it has been made apparent by the course of events elsewhere, by the intentions of those having authority in the Federal Government, as developed in their treatment of other States which occupy the same relation towards these questions as Louisiana, that this right of independent action will be obstructed by force. The hostile occupation of Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, for the purpose of overawing the State of South Carolina, subduing her to the will of the Federal authorities, and collecting taxes from her people by force, is one glaring example of the modes by which a Southern State may be subjected to duress. The baffled attempts to re-enforce that fort are of the same, character of aggressive purpose as the subsequent occupation of Fort Pickens, in the harbor of Pensacola, in order to keep the State of Florida in forced connection with a repudiated Government. At the same time that these acts of extraordinary rigor in aggression are practiced toward the South, the Northern populace of Pennsylvania are permitted to defeat the action of the Federal authorities at Pittsburgh, by forbidding the transmission of the public property to its designated points in the South, on the grounds of hostility to the South, to which dictation the intimidated authorities succumbed.

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Warned by these acts, and the uniform tenor of hostile language employed in Congress against free action in the South, and the uniform assertion of the doctrine of passive obedience in the manifestoes of the executives of Northern States, and the open menaces that the incoming administration would carry out the same tyrannical purposes with even more rigor, I determined that the State of Louisiana should not be left unprepared for the emergency. She has a long and exposed frontier, on which the Federal Government possesses forts capable of being used for the subjugation of the country and to annul the declared will of the people. Near this capital, where the delegates of the sovereign people are about to assemble, was a military depot, capable, in unscrupulous hands, of being employed for the purpose of overawing and restraining the deliberations of a free people. On these grounds, respecting the manifest will of the people, and to the end that their deliberations shall be free, and their action supported by the full possession of the whole territory of the State, I decided to take possession of the military posts and munitions of war within the State, as soon as the necessity of such action should be developed to my mind. Upon information which did not leave me in doubt as to my public duty, and which convinced me, moreover, that prompt action was the more necessary in order to prevent a collision between the Federal troops and the people of the State, I authorized these steps to be taken, and they were accomplished without opposition or difficulty. In so doing I was careful to confine myself to such acts as were necessary to effect the object with the greatest certainty and the least risk of violence. In accordance with an arrangement entered into with the commanding officer, in the presence of a force too large to be resisted, Baton Rouge Barracks and Arsenal, with all the Federal property therein, were turned over to me on the 11th and 12th instant, and on the 13th the Federal troops departed. About the same time State troops occupied Fort Pike, on the Rigolets, and Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, on the Mississippi River, and such other dispositions were made as seemed necessary for the public safety. Receipts were given in all instances for the property found, in order to protect the officers who were dispossessed; and to facilitate future settlement for the necessary expenses, I have drawn on the appropriation made by the last legislature for military purposes. A detailed report of these proceedings and of the expenditures incurred will be laid before you in a few days.

With a full sense of the responsibility I have assumed, the whole subject is respectfully submitted to the legislature. Soon after taking possession of the arsenal at Baton Rouge I received an application from the governor of Mississippi for aid in arms and munitions of war, in support of the sovereignty of that State against an apprehended attack of a similar character to that against which Louisiana had protected herself. The interests of the two States are so intimately associated in the common cause of the South, that I deemed it my duty, not only from considerations of courtesy to a sister State, but in further execution of my duty to Louisiana regarding the approaches of Federal troops from above, to comply with his request, upon the assumption on the part of the State of Mississippi of the same terms of responsibility taken by me for the State of Louisiana. I accordingly directed to be forwarded to the order of Governor Pettus the following munitions of war: 5,000 flint lock muskets; 3,000 percussion muskets; 1,000 Hall’s rifles, flint locks; 200,000 cartridges, buck and ball; 1,000 pounds of rifle powder; 6 24-pounder guns and carriages; 500 24-pounder shot; 1,000 pounds cannon powder.

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The supply of material of these descriptions remaining on hand is ample for the wants of the State. In this action I trust to meet with the approval of the legislature.

In all these movements for the defense and protection of the State, I am proud to say that I have been supported with patriotic cheerfulness and alacrity by the volunteer soldiery of the State.

...

It is not within the province of the legislature or the executive to forestall the action of the State convention by advising any particular form for the assertion of the rights of the State in the reclaiming of her independence, or in executing her sovereign will, as announced by that tribunal. The future of our Louisiana rests in the counsels which shall be adopted by her freely chosen representatives; and we have reason to trust that they will decide calmly, wisely, and well. But we may be permitted to invoke the merciful care of Divine Providence so to guide, them in the path which leads to safety, to honor, and to prosperity, that they may be sustained by the hearts and hands of a confiding people in building up a separate nationality, or finding an honorable place in a new and more perfect union of equal confederated States.

THOS. O. MOORE, Governor.

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6