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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 6, Ch. XVI–Union Correspondence.


September 1, 1861-May 12, 1862.
(New Orleans)


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA, Fort Pickens, Pensacola, September 3, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The rebels have endeavored to occupy and remove the dry-dock, and, having notified General Bragg that I should consider his doing either as an act of hostility, I last night ordered it to be burned, which was done.

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

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.


ORDERS, No. 82.}

HDQRS., U. S. TROOPS AT KEY WEST FLA., September 6, 1861.

1. Within ten days from this date all male citizens of the Island of Key West who have taken the oath of allegiance will send their names to these headquarters to be registered.

2. Within thirty days from this date all the citizens of this island are required to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

3. At the termination of sixty days all citizens of this island who {p.666} have failed and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States will be removed from Key West. This will also apply to their families and the families of those who have left the island to join the Confederate States.

WM. H. FRENCH, Brevet Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA, Fort Pickens, September 10, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Yesterday morning nine men, being the crew of one of the enemy’s guard boats, deserted to this post, bringing their boat and arms. They belonged to a rebel company of marines. I have closely questioned them and obtained valuable information.

The same morning two citizens arrived here. They have been contractors for supplying saw-mills with logs, and have staid in the country, vainly hoping to get the money due on their contract. They have been living the last eighteen weeks at or near Milton, 30 miles up the bay. They represent there being many Union men in this country, but the expression of Union sentiments to be dangerous. I shall send all North by the first opportunity.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.


NEW YORK, October 1, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: At the recent cutting out and destruction of the Judah, at Pensacola, by boats from the Colorado, it is noticed that, although the boats were fired at and a considerable force rushed forward to beat them off, no gun was fired from Fort Pickens. It seems, too, that the fort could at any time have destroyed the Judah.

A large gang of mechanics are now reported finishing the steam-frigate Fulton for launching at Pensacola as a war vessel, within reach of the guns from the fort, or by the aid of those guns capable of being reached by our boats and seamen.

Colonel Brown refers to old orders to act at the fort strictly on the defensive. I beg to call your attention to this point, in order that you may see if there is not some oversight or miscarriage or change of circumstances requiring a correction of the apparent inconsistency of the Navy acting offensively and the fort defensively on the same ground and at the same time, so that they cannot unite in a common object. Whether Colonel Brown already has sufficient liberty by his orders to use his discretion, or whether he needs some prompting to insure cooperation with the naval officers-often a difficult thing between Army and Navy-or whether any other officer would be better at that place, we of course leave wholly to the Government. But we are here deeply interested that no effort of either Army or Navy be omitted to prevent privateers or steamships from being built or fitted out to prey upon our {p.667} commerce besides our general interest in success, and suppose such intimations as the present, based upon distinct information which may not be so open to you, are what you wish us to make.

In behalf of underwriters, yours, very respectfully,



[OCTOBER 6, 1861.-For General Butler’s order assuming command of the Department of New England, see Series III, Vol. I, p. 511.]


FORT PICKENS, October 12, 1861.

Brigadier-General MEWS, Quartermaster-General:

MY DEAR GENERAL: The prediction contained in my letter to you of the 15th July* has been sooner fulfilled than I expected. If Barry’s battery had been here not one hundred of the enemy would have left the island alive on the morning of the 9th instant.

If the companies of Barry, Hunt, and Duane had not been with so little ceremony taken from me I should have had a much better account to render than I now have; and if I had sat down and grieved over what I considered great wrongs in being so inconsiderately weakened and done nothing, instead of exerting every nerve and taking responsibilities that few under existing circumstances would have taken in sending three Zouave companies away and replacing them by two regular companies, what would now be our condition? We would have been disgracefully whipped and this fort at this moment would be closely beleaguered by the rebels-all our batteries being lost-for I could not then have had the means of sending a man from the fort to sustain and support the batteries and to repel the invaders; and Billy Wilson’s Zouaves, I am sorry to say, disgracefully ran and took shelter under our batteries.

I do not say this, my dear general, in a spirit of self-laudation, but as re-expressing to the fullest extent the opinions and fears I so fully and freely expressed at the time and for which I was so much condemned.

I must also add that in the coming conflict, which the defense of the honor of our insulted flag imposes on me, if I had these companies of which I have been deprived, and especially the officers, I should probably be able to give a better account of my stewardship than I can now hope for; but my command is in good condition and good spirits.

We have a just and noble cause, and may humbly hope for the blessing of God, which I daily fervently invoke.

I am, my dear Meigs, yours,


* See p. 438, Vol. I.



Lieut. Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: All my letters, all my suggestions, and all my requests, written and made since I have been in command of this post, having {p.668} met with so mortifying, and I must add such undeserved neglect, not once having received the slightest notice, that I now only write you at any time from a sense of duty. I do so now to report that this fort, with its appendant batteries, is now as ready for service as it probably will at any future time be, and that the enemy are still erecting batteries and arming them with guns of heavy caliber, so that the relative strength is constantly changing to our loss. If I had not been confined by positive orders to defensive operations, and which I have in vain tried to have rescinded, I would open my batteries on the enemy, believing that at this time true policy and the best interest of the service and of the country demand it.

I fired the dry-dock with the hope and expectation that the enemy would open on me, but he has not yet thought proper to do so. I can therefore only patiently wait the course of events, while the strength of my command is constantly and rapidly diminishing by disease and orders.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, October 14, 1861.

Brig. Gen. HARVEY BROWN, Fort Pickens, Pensacola, Fla.:

SIR: The General-in-Chief directs me to say that your several communications from the time of your assuming command of Fort Pickens have been duly read to him, and such as required such reference have been laid before the War Department.

Your operations have been approved and your zeal and energy appreciated.

The usual punctuality in acknowledging your letters has been unavoidably departed from because of the incessant pressure of matters which demanded immediate attention and left no time for anything else.

The circumstances which prevented offensive operations on your part changed with your ability to assume them, the cause of the prohibition having been evidently removed by the state of active and open war which now exists.

More regular troops as well as officers would have been gladly sent you if they were to be had, but the pressing need of regulars can hardly be appreciated except by the authorities, on whom urgent requisitions are made for them from all quarters. At some posts there is not one officer to a company. The General could not give you leave of absence when you asked it or since, because he had no one to relieve you to whom he could confide your responsible command.

The Commissary-General reports that a vessel left New York loaded with beef and ice in September, and one is now preparing with live cattle, stores, and vegetables. The subject of pay for your command has been brought to the attention of the Paymaster-General.

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

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.




Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have to report to you that I sent the McClellan with dispatches to Flag-Officer McKean on the 9th instant, proposing a joint attack on the enemy, to which he readily acceded, and on the 11th he, with the Niagara and Colorado, arrived here. After consultation we agreed on a plan of attack, which was to have been carried into execution to-morrow morning at daybreak. At the request of the flag-officer I had lent him two Parrott rifled guns and the steamer to carry them to the Mississippi. She returned this morning, bringing the commodore a report of the unfortunate affair at the mouth of the Mississippi, which, as you will perceive by his letter (A), renders his immediate presence at the Southwest Pass necessary; and as I am thus deprived of his assistance, I have been compelled to listen to his suggestion to suspend operations until he can co-operate with me. I need not say with what feelings of disappointment I have been compelled now the third time to forego an attack on the enemy.

I intended to have sent the prisoners taken on the 9th to New York by the McClellan, but the captain represents that he cannot take them with safety to his vessel.

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

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.

[Inclosure A.]

U. S. FLAG-SHIP NIAGARA, Off Fort Pickens, October 15, 1861.

Col. HARVEY BROWN, Commanding Department of Florida, Fort Pickens.

SIR: The information received by the McClellan is such as to make it indispensable that I should proceed immediately to the Mississippi. The Richmond is leaking badly, having three planks stove in below the water line by the ram. The Vincennes has thrown overboard all her guns but four. At one of the passes there is not a sufficient force to contend with that of the enemy. It is exceedingly mortifying and trying, but my duty seems plain. I ought to be there at this time. I would suggest that you defer your operations until I can assist you with a suitable naval force. The Colorado I will leave here. Lieutenant May will give you particulars,as I am much hurried.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. W. MCKEAN, Flag-Officer, Commanding Gulf Squadron.


[OCTOBER 21, 1861.-For General Butler’s General Orders, No. 2, of this date, see Series III, Vol. I, p. 521.]



Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I herewith inclose you three letters which passed between General Bragg and myself. The two first were published by him in the {p.670} Pensacola Observer, with a very laudatory editorial notice of him, and one not so very much so of me in which I am accused, among other delinquencies, of being in cold blood a murderer of a sick enemy.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.



General BRAXTON BRAGG, Commanding Troops near Pensacola.

SIR: I observe this morning for the first time a yellow flag hoisted over a large building directly in front of my batteries. I also understand that officers’ wives and children are in the adjoining buildings. I do not make war on the sick, women, or children. These buildings will necessarily be exposed to my fire should there be a bombardment, and, besides, they are subject under this flag to be used as a protection to any of your troops that may take shelter behind or before them. I therefore give you this notice, that the sick; the women, and the children may be removed, so that if fired on the responsibility may rest where it belongs.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.

HDQRS. TROOPS C. S., NEAR PENSACOLA, FLA., October 10, 1861.

SIR: I received late last evening your communication of that date with profound astonishment. The building on which you had for the first time observed a yellow flag has been well known to you and all your command, as well as to the United States Navy, as the military hospital of this station, and you could not help knowing that it is now used for that purpose.

Dealing with one who had been an old brother soldier of high reputation, I had hoped that our intercourse and conduct in the hostile attitude in which we are placed would be marked by all the courtesies and amenities of civilized warfare; but it seems from your communication that you claim the right to violate a hospital flag because it may be abused. Admit this principle, and we revert to a state of barbarism. The sick, the women and the children, and prisoners must become the objects of vengeance; the white flag must be abolished; “booty and beauty,” “rape and rapine,” must follow in the track of a victorious commander. I decline your invitation to make these the objects of war. Your hospital flag has been and shall be respected. In the affair of Tuesday night your hospital with its inmates was in our possession for at least one hour, and as far as I can learn my orders to scrupulously respect both were rigidly enforced.

Our hospital and the two adjacent buildings occupied by medical officers will continue to be used for legitimate purposes. Nothing has been or will be done to attract your fire. If, under these circumstances, you should put your threat into execution, which would only be in accordance with the acts of some of your brother commanders of little experience in the customs of war, I shall take care that the facts shall {p.671} be made known, that it may receive, as it will deserve, the execration of the civilized world.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

BRAXTON BRAGG, Major-General, Commanding.



Maj. Gen. BRAXTON BRAGG, Commanding Troops near Pensacola.

SIR: Your letter of the 10th instant was duly received, and I should deem it unworthy of an answer had you not thought proper to publish it to the world and to countenance an editorial in a Pensacola paper every way worthy of it.

You have knowingly and willfully misconstrued my letter, for the evident purpose of having your Christian answer published, so as to make capital with your deluded followers. You have, in the very face of my declaration that I did not make war on women, the children, and the sick, declined an invitation that I never made, and which you knew I never made, to make those the objects of war. You knew that in calling to your notice that these buildings would necessarily be exposed to my fire I was influenced by a desire to save the sick, women, and children from danger, for previously to writing the letter to which yours is an answer I mentioned to your inspector-general, who was here with a flag, my intention to do so, and then, on the spot where the batteries and buildings could be plainly seen, I pointed out that I could not fire from certain batteries of mine at some of yours without endangering your hospital, which is in a direct line with them (and this is perfectly obvious to your own sight). You therefore knew that I must either omit to fire on particular batteries of yours or it must necessarily be exposed to my fire, and yet your Christian philanthropy is such that you declare your intention of keeping your sick, your women, and your children in this dangerous situation. And for what motive but in the hope of fixing on me the stigma of firing on your hospital or killing women, children, and the sick? Your conduct shall not influence mine. I intend to prosecute this war as a Christian man who has an account to give to his Maker. I will do my duty as I construe it, regardless of your calumny and that of the wretch who edits the Pensacola Observer.

I have had three of your officers prisoners. They have notified you that they were treated as brother officers by mine. I have had some thirty of your privates prisoners. They have, with one solitary exception (and he said nothing), in writing to their friends, declared that they were well and kindly treated, and I have your sick in my hospital, and they have also reported that they receive the same attention as my own. I have released three of your medical officers without parole. I have collected and buried your dead with the same decency as my own. I have done much more. At your special request I have for two days employed my soldiers in disinterring and carting to the wharf your dead, so that their friends might have the satisfaction of knowing their bodies were cared for, and this has been done with the full knowledge of the entirely different treatment our prisoners and our dead have received and are receiving from your hands at Manassas and Richmond. And you, knowing all this, have malignantly and falsely accused me of inviting you to make war on the sick, women, and children.

I will hold no terms of courtesy with a man who so far forgets what is due to an honorable profession, and who so well knows, yet so little {p.672} practices, the principles of honorable warfare. I decline all further communications with you unless it be by verbal message and strictly on official subjects.

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

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.


Abstract from return of the Department Florida, Col. Harvey Brown., Fifth U. S. Artillery, commanding, for the month of October, 1861.

Troops.Present for duty.Aggregate present.Memoranda.
Officers.Men.Aggregate killed or missing in action.Aggregate wounded in action.Prisoners of war.Pieces of field artillery.
Fort Pickens, Fla.2170983342013
Camp Brown, Santa Rosa Island1224337010918
Total in Pensacola Harbor339521,2031429121
Fort Jefferson, Fla.10238330
Fort Taylor, Fla.91902734


ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, November 1, 1861.

Brig. Gen. HARVEY BROWN, U. S. Forces, Commanding Department of Florida:

SIR: Your letter of the 12th ultimo has been received and referred to the Headquarters of the Army, and in reply I am directed to transmit to you the indorsement there made upon it. You will perceive that a letter was addressed to you on the 14th of October, two days subsequent to the date of yours, which has doubtless reached you by this time, and will contain the answer to your inquiries.

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

A. BAIRD, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, October 28, 1861.

This letter having been handed me by the Adjutant-General, I respectfully report that Colonel Brown’s letters were all promptly communicated to the General-in-Chief as they were received. On the 14th of October a letter was addressed to Colonel Brown from this office which is believed to cover all the points in the correspondence, a copy of which was forwarded to the Adjutant-General at its date. Owing to the secrecy with which General Brown’s expedition was fitted out no copies of the instructions to him are found in this office. I was not informed on a single point touching the expedition, nor have I been able to gain any {p.673} information concerning Colonel Brown’s orders, &c., until furnished a day or two since with a rough copy in his possession by General Meigs.

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.


[NOVEMBER 9-19, 1862.-For Secretary of War to General Butler (November 9), in relation to transportation; General McClellan to Butler (November 15), calling for reports of strength and condition of command; Butler’s reply of November 18, and order suspending the embarkation of the expedition, see Series III, Vol. I, pp. 545, 552, 555, 559.]


HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, ADJT. GEN.’S OFFICE, Washington, December 20, 1861.

Col. HARVEY BROWN, U. S. A., Comdg. Department of Florida, Fort Pickens, Fla.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your highly important dispatches, as follows:

October 9 and 11, with inclosures, reporting the attack of the rebels and their disastrous repulse on the 9th October.

October 15, in relation to joint attack intended to be made by you with the naval force.

Three letters of November 25, and report, with inclosures, of December 2, in relation to the bombardment of the rebel forts and batteries around Pensacola by the fort and fleet of the United States on the 22d and 23d November.

Letter of December 3, remarking upon bravery and good conduct of officers and men of your command.

The brilliant and successful operations detailed in these dispatches have been read with lively satisfaction by the President, Secretary of War and General-in-Chief. The General will not forget to bring specially to notice the valuable services thus rendered by yourself, your officers, and your whole command, and to urge an appropriate recognition of them by the Government.

Your suggestions in relation to armament, &c., have already been brought to the attention of the Ordnance and also of the Navy Departments. The regiment sent to re-enforce you has doubtless arrived before this, and it is hoped that some if not all the absent officers of your regular companies have also joined by this time.

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

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA, Fort Pickens, December 27, 1861.

Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Nothing of special import has occurred at this fort since the bombardment. The Seventy-fifth New York Volunteers, whose arrival I duly reported, are encamped and industriously engaged in drilling. The Sixth [N. Y.] Regiment, I am sorry to say, so far as the officers are concerned, is in a state of disorganization; criminations, recriminations, charges, and countercharges, between the officers, and {p.674} especially between the colonel and two or three espousing his side and the other officers of the regiment, became of such daily occurrence, that I had peremptorily to stop it, and to notify all concerned that I would entertain no more complaints until the result of those forwarded had been acted on at Washington. I ordered a court, which is now in session, for the trial of two of the captains and some privates, and since then charges against almost every officer of the regiment have been sent me.

I do not deem it expedient to exercise the authority vested in me by your letter of the 18th November, unless in marked cases, but must reiterate the opinion expressed in my letter of the 12th October, that the good of the service requires some stringent action in reference to the officers of this regiment.

And while on this subject I desire to call the especial attention of the Department to the fact that Colonel Wilson is the next to me in rank, and if I am rendered unserviceable the command will devolve on him, and this, serious under almost any circumstances, but remote and isolated as we are, might be of the most vital consequence, and I therefore think it my duty to call your attention to it.

Some more appropriate and efficient means of unloading vessels is a subject of serious consideration. The boats we have answered tolerably well the purpose in summer when the sea was smooth, but in the heavy surf which now almost constantly prevails they are nearly or quite useless. A receiving vessel and good surf-boats are almost of indispensable and immediate necessity.

I respectfully again submit that an officer of more rank than I have should be stationed here, and I beg leave to state that, while willing to devote my whole being to the service, I know that I cannot endure another summer in this enervating climate, and that my health and probably my life will be sacrificed by it. I have now spent upwards of fifteen years in Florida, and I require the bracing influences of a Northern climate. If, therefore, consistent with the good of the service, it will be gratifying to me to be relieved by one of the many efficient general officers now in service, and to be ordered to duty in the North.

The rebels have been for some six weeks busily engaged with a large force in putting up batteries on Oak Island, at Deer or Town Point, and are putting heavy (10-inch columbiads) guns in them, and since the bombardment they have erected a battery at the mouth of the Big Lagoon and put one or two heavy guns in it, and have, besides, greatly strengthened their existing batteries.

I have never doubted but that with three or four gunboats and 5,000 men the navy-yard at Pensacola could at any time until October have been taken, and I think the day after the bombardment, such was their panic, it might even with a smaller force have been successfully assailed, but since October they have so materially strengthened their works and erected so many batteries that I should consider an attack as hazardous without strong land and naval forces. We are now strong enough for defense (unless in case of bombardment, when we ought to have more artillery troops), and more will be useless unless a sufficient number is sent to act offensively; and this can only be done with the co-operation of gunboats of light draught of water.

I respectfully renew my application for Parrott’s rifle guns and for a large supply of ammunition for those I have. I would also report that there are two 10-inch seacoast mortars here, but no beds.

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

HARVEY BROWN, Colonel, Commanding.



Abstract from return of the Department of Florida, Col. Harvey Brown, Fifth U. S. Artillery, commanding, for month of December, 1861.

Stations.Troops.Present for duty.Aggregate present.
Santa Rosa Island:
Fort PickensDetachments 1st and 2d Artillery and 3d Infantry.19568704
Camp Lincoln6th New York Infantry13228474
Camp Seward75th New York Infantry32711829
Fort JeffersonDetachments 1st Artillery and 6th New York Infantry.10307347
Fort TaylorDetachments 1st Artillery, and 1st Infantry,6209261


SHIP ISLAND, Miss., January 3, 1862.

Maj. Gen. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, Commanding New England Division, Boston, Mass.:

SIR: The last few days have been occupied with muster of the troops. As these troops are raw, much time and attention have been necessary to examine the rolls. To show how raw these troops are, I may state that three men have already been wounded in one month by the careless use of fire-arms.

The transport-ships George Green and Bullion arrived on the 31st ultimo. The former landed 138 horses, 6 of which are private property, in good condition. Twelve died on board, and 1 has died since coming ashore. The captain of the George Green (Fairbanks) stopped at Key West, when it is thought there was no necessity for it.

Captain Clouét, of the French steamer Milan, came into the harbor recently, and is receiving facilities to go to New Orleans, being detained at this present moment by a fog, which appears to continue day and night. He informed me that the French have some twenty vessels of war in the Gulf. I should feel more at ease if we had our Sawyer guns mounted, for we need them to insure respect, if for nothing else.

JANUARY 7, 1862.

From some cause or other the captain of the Milan went to New Orleans in one of his own ship’s boats. I should have been very glad to supply him with the small steam-tug belonging to the Quartermaster’s Department, which has been sent us from Pensacola by Colonel Brown, but I understood from the flag-officer that he intended to send the Water Witch gunboat on this service, and hence gave the subject no further attention until I incidentally learned that the captain had gone. Should I see him again, I shall express to him my regret at not having the pleasure of giving him a passage by one of our vessels.

I had designed making use of the occasion to gain some knowledge as to the defenses of the Rigolets, with a view to ascertain whether our long-range rifle guns might reach them from the sound. I have suggested to the flag-officer to make use of the Lewis, the captured light-draught {p.676} high-pressure steamer, for making reconnaissances. She went over to Biloxi the other day, and from all I can learn I should judge that a great deal of property lies exposed to us on the northern shore of the sound. If so, the condition of affairs presents the curious spectacle of a rebel army lying in wait to seize upon Washington, staking everything upon the hazard of seizing upon our capital and its capital influences with the unrelenting determination of accomplishing our ruin, while at the same time they leave their rear comparatively unprotected, and their property exposed in a way that appeals rather to mercy and pity than to the ordinary visitations of war. I may possibly be mistaken in this view of things. The waters of the opposite coast are very shallow, and may be regarded as unnavigable for all our vessels except the Lewis, which for various reasons has not been in condition for reconnoitering till within the last week or fortnight. I shall endeavor to extend our knowledge of this region of country by all the means in my power, which, however, are exceedingly limited. It might become desirable to transfer our camp to the northern shore, and especially if the rebellion should continue through the summer. The glare and heat of the sand of which the island is composed would probably be intolerable during that season. The depot, however, must be here, whatever direction the forces may take.

So convenient thus far have we found the harbor, admitting easily of large vessels of war, that, taken together with the modern tendency of building large vessels, I think that it must become of more importance than New Orleans. By means of railroads terminating on the other shore, and large vessels, like the Constitution, I think that it would be cheaper to dispatch a cargo of rice or cotton from this point than it would be from the mouth of the Mississippi. The question is whether we ought not to adopt a plan from the very beginning with regard to this point and begin its execution at once; for under any circumstances, holding in view even a temporary independence of the South, the possession of the island would be valuable to us. The opposite shore is comparatively healthy, and by means of long wharves and light-draught steamers vessels could be expeditiously laden at this point in almost any weather that we have had since being here. It would be economy in the long run to have a plan to follow. The plan should be well matured, covering at least a period of thirty years, and be left with the head of the Engineer Corps for preservation and execution.

JANUARY 8, 1862.

I am informed that the mail will leave to-day for the North.

It may be well to state that the Schenkl shot that have been supplied to the battery appear to be too large in their paper envelopes, these envelopes or cylinders fitting too close for a foul piece. The only means that I have of reducing them is to pass them through a hot ring.

Just previous to my leaving Newport News I applied for two officers, viz, Lieutenant Tyler, of the Second Vermont, and Lieutenant Holbrook, of the Fourth Vermont, as staff officers. I have heard nothing from them since, but I trust that the application has been favorably entertained and the officers authorized to report to me for duty. Without either a staff or the usual blank forms to do business by, my duties are rendered more difficult than they need be.

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

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.



WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., January 24, 1862.

Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General:

Ordered, That the general commanding report without delay his opinion whether the expedition proposed by General B. F. Butler shall be prosecuted, abandoned, or modified, and in what manner.

By order of the Secretary of War:

P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary.


ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, January 25, 1862.


SIR: In compliance with your instructions of yesterday, I have the honor to report in reference to the expedition of Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler, U. S. volunteers, as follows:

It appears that on the 10th of September a general authority was given in the following terms:

WAR DEPARTMENT, September 10, 1861.

Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler is hereby authorized to raise, organize, arm, uniform, and equip a volunteer force for the war in the New England States, not exceeding six regiments of the maximum standard, of such arms, and in such proportions, and in such manner as he may judge expedient; and for this purpose his orders and requisitions on the Quartermaster’s, Ordnance, and other staff departments of the Army are to be obeyed and answered, provided the cost of such recruitment, armament, and equipment does not exceed in the aggregate that of like troops now or hereafter raised for the service of the United States.

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

This authority was extended, and an object for the expedition indicated by an order from the Secretary dated two days after, as follows:

WAR DEPARTMENT, September 12, 1861.

Major-General Butler is authorized to fit out and prepare such troops in New England as he may judge fit for the purpose, to make an expedition along the Eastern Shore of Virginia, via the railroad, from Wilmington, Del., to Salisbury, and thence through a portion of Maryland, Accomac and Northampton Counties, of Virginia, to Cape Charles.

Transportation agents, quartermasters, and commissaries of subsistence will answer General Butler’s requisitions for this purpose.

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

The object of General Butler’s expedition, as given in these last-quoted orders, seems to have been soon after abandoned, and the general seems to have contemplated an attack on Mobile.

Again, on the 2d of December, he submitted a plan for invading the coast of Texas, and he appears to have had in view an ultimate attempt to capture New Orleans.* On the 2d of December he reports that a part of his expedition sailed in the steamer Constitution from Portland for Ship Island on the 23d of November, touching at Fort Monroe the 27th of November, to take on board Brig. Gen. J. W. Phelps, U. S. Volunteers, who at the request of General Butler** I was detached from Fort Monroe to command this detachment, consisting of nine companies Ninth Connecticut and the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Infantry Regiments {p.678} and the Fifth Massachusetts Light Battery, in all about 1,900 men. General Phelps’ command landed and occupied Ship Is and on the 5th to the 7th of December, and has since been fortifying itself there; a very proper measure, as it enables the Government to hold a very important point, interrupting a part of the communications of the rebels. General Phelps’ command is the only part of General Butler’s expedition that has so far gone to the Gulf coast.

The great points from which important operations are to be conducted are, first, the Department of the Potomac, in front of which is posted and strongly intrenched the largest and best-armed body of the insurgents guarding the approach to Richmond; second, the Department of the Ohio, opposed to the next great body of the rebels in Kentucky; third, the Department of the Missouri, the army in which, besides the clearing of the State of Missouri, has for a prime object the control of the Mississippi River and operations against New Orleans. Next to these the Department of Kansas is to furnish a heavy column, to move in co-operation with that in Missouri. There are other separate operations, designed to draw off and distract the enemy along the seacoast. These are, Sherman’s expedition, which has already occupied Port Royal, S. C., and which is to attack Charleston or Savannah or both; second, Burnside’s, which, having entered Albemarle Sound, will be directed against North Carolina or Southern Virginia; third, the occupancy of Fort Jefferson, on the Tortugas, of Fort Taylor, Key West, and of Fort Pickens, Pensacola, together with demonstrations against the Florida coast. These outside operations are deemed to be the only ones that ought to be undertaken at this tune in support of the main plan. It would be only a wise and necessary measure to hold in reserve the troops raised, but not yet assigned, to corps d’armée, ready to support and re-enforce in any quarter where they may be required, and which can only be determined by circumstances in the course of active operations. Thus they should not be withdrawn to raise General Butler’s expedition to the number (not less than 30,000 men, and it is believed 50,000) which would be required to insure success against New Orleans in a blow to be struck from the Gulf. It is assumed that New Orleans, being the vital point on the Gulf should be the object, rather than Mobile or the coast of Texas. Under all these circumstances it is clear to my mind that what is known as “General Butler’s expedition” ought to be suspended. The part of it now at Ship Island is well placed, and is quite adequate, with the co-operation of the Navy, to hold that important position. The remaining troops of this expedition now at Fort Monroe cannot at present be better disposed of than by adding them to the command of Major-General Wool at that post. They will there have ample opportunity for discipline and instruction, and can be readily transferred thence to another point whenever required. The supplies intended for them under the supposition they were to go to Ship Island will serve them as well at Fort Monroe.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army.

* See Series III, Vol. I, p. 580.

** Of November 13. See Series HI, Vol. I, p. 548.


[JANUARY 25, 1862.-For Governor Andrew’s communication to the Secretary of War in relation to complications growing out of the organization of the Butler expedition, &c., see D. Andrew to Stanton, January 27, 1862, Series III, Vol. II.]



SHIP ISLAND, Miss., January 29, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: There is not much of importance to communicate from my command.

The period of maximum cold has passed; warm weather is approaching, and some provision must be made for it in any plan of operations that may be adopted for this region of country. The climate is so damp that our tents mildew speedily and threaten a rapid decay.

One of the regiments here, the Ninth Connecticut, is very much in want of clothing of all kinds. Instead of coats, blouses are the best for this climate.

At the hazard of frequent repetition I must again refer to the subject of blanks. Another muster day will soon be at hand, and if we are not soon supplied with blanks it will be difficult, if not impossible, to make out the rolls. Matters of this kind are of great importance to the discipline and accountability of the troops.

By the Milton we received a small engine, which is now at work unloading that ship. Temporary store-houses have been constructed, and a bake-house will soon go into operation. The 9-inch shell gun on navy carriages is being put up to the number of ten, but I am in hopes that Sawyer’s rifled 24-pounder and 8 or 10 inch columbiads will be sent to replace them. I would take this occasion to state, as my opinion, that if the 42-pounder were bored for Sawyer’s 24-pounder it would be the best heavy ordnance that we have, either for land or sea service.

Several of the men of the regiments and battery are considered unfit for service, and I have concluded to send them back to New England, with a view to their discharge. Three officers have tendered their resignations, which I shall forward to your office for acceptance, at the same time allowing them to return with the men to Lowell, Mass., where they will be directed to await action on their resignations from your office.

Some arrangement seems called for with a view to the regular transmission of intelligence between the posts of the Gulf station and the North. We have been here nearly two months, and have yet received no communication from any military source and but very few letters or papers of any kind.

Intelligence from Washington occasionally reaches us through the rebels and the Navy. We are thus informed that the Constitution has landed her troops at Old Point.

Our field of view and our sphere of action are both limited here, but from general appearances I should suppose it well to be provided against the contingency of collision with some foreign power-at least to the extent of having an unobstructed channel of communication open for the receipt of intelligence and supplies.

It might be well, perhaps, to fortify this point more strongly than I have proposed, even against immediate contingencies.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General Volunteers.


SHIP ISLAND, Miss., February 3, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I write on the occasion of the gunboat Massachusetts being about to sail for the North.


Some definite plan should be adopted with reference to this point. Few of the officers of the Government are aware, perhaps, of the character of the island on which we are situated, or what it is to be and glaring white sand during the heats of summer. If troops remain here they must have wooden structures for shelter, and even then they will need some protection for the eyes, I think. I would beg to be informed, at as early a moment as may suit your convenience, whether there are any particular designs or not with respect to this point, or at least what direction I shall give to requisitions for carrying out such designs as I may entertain of my own. As it is, we are threatened with a shortness of provisions, having but about three weeks’ of some articles on hand.

One of my instructions was to place the island in a state of defense, but I have not the means of rendering it as strong as I should desire. To this end there would be necessary a better class of guns and carriages, with a large supply of bricks and mortar, pintles, traverse-circles, materials for a magazine, &c. The magazine ought to be of peculiar structure, perhaps made of iron, and strong enough when buried in sand to resist 11-inch shells. It should exclude the air as much as possible, for the climate is very damp. It would be good economy to have a general plan, embracing a long period of time, and have everything done in accordance with it.

As I understand the policy of the Government with regard to this region it was to establish new sites for commercial centers in the place of New Orleans and Mobile, which were founded without any reference to cotton shipping and large vessels. As a war measure this could be done by the same means that would secure the most effective military operations, or, at all events, military points could be found, I think, which would threaten the trade of those two cities, and would have a great influence upon the security of slave property.

We now have 24 of the enemy’s negroes, which we employ in lightering vessels at an unfixed rate of pay. They appear to be intelligent, and far more dignified and manly than many of their masters, whom they look upon with mingled feelings of pity and contempt as well as dread. Some of them crossed the sound to us, a distance of 10 or 11 miles. One of them came a night in a thunder gust, finding that more friendly than the sympathies of his master. One of the mulattoes came originally from North Carolina, another from Virginia. They are aware of their alliance with the white race, and of the ties which have been snapped in their leaving home. They are ripe for manumission, and any measure to avert it may put off, but cannot long prevent, a revolution-a revolution of that kind where men are restored to their original rights.

In case that wooden structures should be put up upon the island for the two regiments and one battery now here, we should need some more lumber than we have on hand.

To take possession of a point on the main-land and hold it we should need more troops, I think, than we now have, since the conspirators might possibly be able to direct a large force against us. We should also need some siege and garrison artillery and the shallow-draught boats I have alluded to in former communications.

In conclusion, permit me to call your attention to the main point of this letter, which is the necessity of some channel through which my wants in the due form of requisitions and the intentions of the Government can be made known. Clothing, and probably provisions, will be needed as soon as they can be got here.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.




Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commanding Army of the United States, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the following matters existing at Ship Island, as reported by Brigadier-General Phelps, which will bear upon the necessities of our expedition, and which may be of interest to the Commanding General.

General Phelps reports that seventeen 9-inch guns upon navy carriages arrived at Ship Island from the Tortugas on the 18th of January, from which he has taken enough for the fortifications.

He further reports that the health of the troops is good, and that the intercourse through the sound between Mobile and New Orleans has been stopped.

I would desire respectfully to inquire when the Seventeenth Massachusetts Regiment, the Fifth New York Regiment, and Nims’ battery will be at Fortress Monroe ready for embarkation.

The steamer Constitution can be ready to take these troops, with good fortune, in ten days from to-day, if this meets the approbation of the Commanding General. All other transportation has been and will be provided for.

I have the honor further to report that the Fourteenth Maine Regiment sailed on Saturday, and that the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Maine Regiments will sail within seven days from this date. The Twelfth Connecticut Regiment is expected to sail on board the steamer Fulton this week, and the Western Bay State Regiment upon the steamer Mississippi also within a week.

I take the liberty to urge the subject of the Maine cavalry. The regiment expects to be disbanded and there are now applications for a court-martial upon some of the officers. The keeping up of the regiment is attended with large expense, and it is very desirable, if the horses are to be turned over to me, that they should be shipped as soon as possible, that they arrive out in season for training and use. These circumstances make it desirable that such orders as may be considered necessary should be given at the earliest possible moment.

Very respectfully,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.




GENERAL: In compliance with the order from the War Department of the 24th day of January, 1862, that General Butler report without delay-

1st. The present state and condition of the expedition now under his charge;

2d. The amount of expenditures made and liabilities incurred, specifying in detail the nature and amount of each expenditure;

3d. The probable expenditure required to place the expedition at its contemplated destination;-

General Butler has the honor to make the following report, which he prepared himself to do immediately upon his return to New England as soon as the necessary documents could be copied:

1st. There are now at Ship Island, in Mississippi Sound, the Twenty-sixth {p.682} Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers and nine companies of the Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers together with the First Battery of light artillery of the New England Division (Fourth Massachusetts), armed with two 6-pounder rifled guns and four 12-pounder howitzers; in the aggregate about 2,000 men, all under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Phelps, whose various reports have been from time to time as received forwarded to the Department, to which reference is requested for particular information in regard to the condition of that portion of General Butler’s command.

There are now en route for Ship Island, on board the Constitution, the Twelfth Regiment Maine Volunteers and nine companies of the Eastern Bay State Regiment, with three companies of mounted men; say 2,200 men in the aggregate.

There are embarked on board ship in Boston Harbor, ready to sail, the Fourteenth Regiment of Maine Volunteers and the Third Battery of light artillery, New England Division (Second Vermont), armed with six 6-pounder Sawyer guns, the Second Battery of said division (First Maine), armed with six 12-pounder rifled guns, and the Fourth Battery of said division, armed with two 6-pounder rifled and four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, with the tenth company of the Eastern Bay State Regiment; say 1,500 men.

There are in Massachusetts the Western Bay State Regiment at Pittsfield, now ready to start at a moment’s notice, waiting only for the paymaster, and the Eighth New Hampshire, now at Fort Independence, waiting for transportation, which will be ready immediately; say 1,900 men, to be 2,000 by the time of sailing.

In Connecticut the Twelfth Connecticut Volunteers at Hartford is full, and only awaits the paymaster to be ready to move as soon as necessary.

In Vermont the Eighth Vermont Volunteer Regiment is full at Brattleborough and ready to be mustered in and to march immediately, and the Seventh Vermont Regiment Volunteers will be ready as soon as transportation is obtained for them. By the last reports they contained about 1,800 men, and will be full by the time of sailing.

There are in the State of Maine, in various conditions of readiness, the Thirteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers, the Fifteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers, and five batteries of light artillery, to wit, the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Maine Batteries, which will be hurried to completion and ready for embarkation within ten days; in all about 2,500 men.

For an exact statement of the numbers and condition of the troops now in New England reference is made to the report marked A, forwarded herewith,* containing a summary of the latest reports from all in New England except from the Seventh and Eighth Vermont Regiments and the Second and Sixth Maine Batteries.

A résumé of these troops shows-

At Ship Island: Twenty-sixth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers; Ninth Connecticut Volunteers (nine companies); First Battery N. E. D. (Fourth Massachusetts).

En route per Constitution: Twelfth Regiment Maine Volunteers; Eastern Bay State Regiment (nine companies); three companies mounted men.

On board ship in Boston Harbor: Fourteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers; Third Battery N. E. D. (Second Vermont); Second Battery N. E. D. (First Maine) Fourth Battery N. E. D.; tenth company of Eastern Bay State Regiment.


At their camps ready: Twelfth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, at Hartford; Seventh and Eighth Regiments Vermont Volunteers, at Brattleborough; Eighth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, at Fort Independence; Fifteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers, at Augusta.

To be ready: Thirteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers, at Augusta; Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Batteries Maine Volunteers, at Augusta.

The aggregate of infantry and artillery now in New England, 8,500; on Constitution, 2,200; at Ship Island, 2,000; total, 12,700; eleven regiments infantry, three companies mounted men, and nine batteries of artillery. These troops as they are moved are fully armed and equipped for service.

2d. Quartermaster’s department.-The amount of expenditures made in the quartermaster’s department to the 1st of February, 1862, is $497,633.25, the details of which are fully set out in Schedule B,** forwarded herewith. (The original bills, with the accounts of the quartermaster, will be forwarded to Washington immediately.) The liabilities incurred in that department are, so far as they can be ascertained on that date, $422,911.52, as per Schedule C,** forwarded herewith.

Ordnance department.-The expenditures in this department to February 1, 1862, are $178,774.90, as per Schedule D,** herewith forwarded. For liabilities incurred, $39,730.87, as per Schedule E.**

Adjutant general’s department.-The expenditures in this department to February 1, 1862, are $14,895.92, as per Schedule F** and Captain Goodhue’s statement. These expenditures were for recruiting expenses, transportation of recruits, and rations of the several regiments. No liabilities.

Commissary department.-The expenditures in this department have been $191,897.51, as per Schedule G.** No liabilities.

Medical department.-The expenditures in this department have been $2,190.72. No liabilities.

To resume, the expenditures in all the departments to February 1, 1862, are:

Quartermaster’s$497,633 25
Ordnance178,774 90
Adjutant general’s14,895 92
Commissary191,897 51
Medical2,190 72
$885,392 30
Liabilities incurred:
Quartermaster’s422,911 52
Ordnance39,730 87
The others none
462,642 39
Total cost to February 11,348,034 69

It will be observed that a very large proportion of all these expenditures should not be put to the account of the expedition, but are for the raising, arming, and equipping of some 6,000 men.

3d. The probable expenditure necessary to place the expedition at its contemplated destination must now substantially be the expenses of transportation and transport ships. The troops being now all armed uniformed, and equipped, it will, of course, cost no more to feed and pay them in one place than in another, and the others may be fairly put {p.684} at $30 per man as the maximum, but apart of this expenditure for transportation has already been incurred.

Respectfully submitted.

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.

* Omitted in view of the résumé following.

** See résumé following.



Col. A. V. COLBURN, Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I do not know how General Butler proposes to operate. The memorandum I drew up was made for the use of Mr. Fox, and without consultation with others. It proposed to attack New Orleans and obtain command of the Mississippi River by a combined naval and land [force], operating through the months of the river, and making the capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip an essential feature of the plan.

I believe that any other way of approaching New Orleans is to run great risk and half do the work, and, under the most favorable issue, to protract the period of complete triumph of our arms in the Mississippi Valley. Take these works, and New Orleans falls, and our gunboats appear at once before Vicksburg, Natchez, and Memphis, and the rebel defense both ways (our armies and flotilla in the Upper Mississippi cooperating) is completely annihilated. The approaches to New Orleans by Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain are very intricate; require the expeditionary force to be put in boats or barges and towed for 15 or 20 miles; then to attack works not easily taken; then to encounter the hazards of a defile through narrow bayous and over narrow causeways &c.

Assuming the attack by the Mississippi adopted, I thought 10,000 men to be more than would be required for the capture of those works, in which I depended mainly upon a coup d’instant of the Navy, that it would be enough for the immediate capture (aided by the fleet) of New Orleans, and therefore that it would not be best to encumber the expedition with a larger mass of transports than that number of troops required, but that 20,000 men should be available in all, the balance being left, say, at Ship Island, to be brought up immediately or as soon as necessary. I thought a dozen siege 24-pounders enough; even this perhaps is excessive; for if the works fall at all they will fall at once, or they will be reduced more slowly by naval bombardment and cutting off of provisions and supplies. I should think the forces estimated in the “Memoranda of changes in General Butler’s suggestions”* to come pretty near the mark, and that the cavalry, artillery, troops, and light batteries were sufficient. I look upon this expedition as one of immense importance. Its failure would be a terrible blow; its success would bring us almost to the close of the war. Hence I recommended in my memorandum that the Chief Engineer United States Army should be consulted on account of his thorough knowledge of the works and his great experience in such matters.

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J. G. BARNARD, Brigadier-General, and Chief Engineer.

* See pp. 687, 688.




Col. A. V. COLBURN, Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I would add to what I addressed you this morning that I deem it very important that an Engineer officer thoroughly acquainted with the fortifications about New Orleans, and who has traveled through the intricate routes of approach, should accompany the expedition. There is (besides myself and General Totten) one such, viz, Lieutenant Weitzel. McFarland has some little acquaintance, not at all approaching to Weitzel’s. Palfrey knows nothing of the works nor the country.

Yours, respectfully, &c.,

J. G. BARNARD, Chief Engineer.


FEBRUARY 7, 1862.


MY DEAR GENERAL: I would be glad if you would find time to look over attentively the plan I submitted for taking Forts Jackson and Saint Philip. I do not care that that particular mode of operation be adopted, if any other as good or better offers, but what I do wish is, that the matter shall be carefully concerted and prepared for, with a full sense of the important consequences likely to ensue. Engrossed as I have been with local duties, I have not comprehended their consequences nor how attainable they were. To attack Port Royal or Charleston or Savannah successfully is to attain, indeed, a great moral effect, but to capture Forts Jackson and Saint Philip and take New Orleans is to conquer the whole Mississippi Valley, and I may add the whole Gulf coast. All would speedily fall. I would not, therefore, have this expedition fail or produce a mere half-way result.

I would add that besides myself there is one other Engineer officer, Lieutenant Weitzel, thoroughly acquainted with these works, and a most capital officer he is, too. McFarland was there a short time; he is much too inexperienced. I think some one ought to go. Beauregard has told them that New Orleans is safe from the Mississippi. I should confess to a personal gratification (besides my general interest in the matter) in seeing this region, so associated with Chase and Beauregard, recaptured. I believe that in three months we may have the rebellion by the throat.

Yours, respectfully, &c.

J. G. BARNARD, Chief Engineer.



Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commander-in-Chief U. S. Army:

GENERAL: In reply to telegram from Lieutenant-Colonel Colburn I have the honor to state that the heavy artillery required by me (in addition to four Sawyer rifled guns, 5 and 8 inch, &c., which are being prepared here) is simply as follows:

1. Four 8-inch siege howitzers and carriages, now at Fort Jefferson, the shells for them at Fortress Monroe.

2. One battery of six 20-pounder Parrott guns, with carriages, ammunition, &c., complete.


The first were promised some time since by General Ripley. The Parrott guns will be required immediately, and could be shipped from New York, Baltimore, or Washington.

With First and Second [Vermont], First Maine, and Fourth and Sixth Massachusetts Batteries, all of which are recruits, if there can be given to us Nims’ battery at Baltimore (understood to be a well-drilled corps), these six batteries might be sufficient of field artillery for my expedition. There remain five batteries in Maine which (when mounted from dismounted cavalry regiment there) might be sent to Fortress Monroe.

The above estimate for heavy artillery provides nothing for the fort at Ship Island, which it is understood will be furnished from Tortugas by navy guns there.

It will be seen, then, that we require but one more complete field battery (six guns-12-pounder howitzers preferred) to be furnished by the Ordnance Department, as I now have guns for five, if I include Nims’, which I would be glad to have done within ten days.

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

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.




SIR: I have the honor to report that as fast as possible the troops and supplies are being dispatched to the Gulf.

The Eighth New Hampshire embarks to-morrow. The transportation for the remainder is in such progress that I hope to get all but two regiments off next week.

I propose to have 3,000 men sail on Tuesday next; one of the steamers to take me up at Fortress Monroe, where we are to get some ordnance stores. By taking the rail I can gain time enough to meet the ship there, and visit Washington for my final instructions, if you think that desirable.

In this connection I desire to call attention to the fact, but not complainingly, that I have as yet received no written instructions or information in regard to the details of the expedition, a memorandum of which I gave to the Commanding General, to which he was kind enough to signify his approval except as to the number of light batteries. I presume, in the press of more important matters, these details may have been overlooked. Fearing, however, that the memorandum may be mislaid, and, in order to refer to it, a duplicate is sent herewith.

I desire to be informed as to the disposition of the Seventeenth Massachusetts and Fifth New York and Nims’ battery, which were to be detached from Major-General Dix’s division at Baltimore and sent to Fortress Monroe. When will they be at the fortress and what are their numbers, so that I may prepare transportation for man and horse? Very early knowledge is needed upon this topic. Also a detail of signal officers for the service. I should like six at least, and could take them up at Fortress Monroe.

The preparation immediately of two light-draught steamers is an imperative necessity.

I have to thank the Commanding General and Ordnance Department for the battery of Parrott guns so promptly ordered.

I must again call attention to the Maine Cavalry Regiment-if I am to {p.687} have the horses; if not, I must purchase others for battery and transportation purposes. I would most strongly advise the dismounting of that regiment, both in an economical and military point of view. I send this report directly to the Secretary of War because I hear of the absence of the Commanding General across the Potomac.

Most truly and respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.


FEBRUARY 17, 1862.

The within letter is referred to the General Commanding, and his immediate attention requested to General Butler’s expedition, and to the instructions to be given to him, if he is to command the expedition.

By order of the Secretary of War:

P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary of War.


It is suggested that a military geographical department be created, to be called the Department of the Gulf, coast west of Fort Pickens and so much of the adjoining States as may be occupied by the United States troops; headquarters wherever the commanding general may be.

That for the purpose of carrying on military operations there the following corps be put under the command of Major-General Butler, viz:

1.12th Connecticut Volunteers900
2.13th Connecticut Volunteers900
3.7th Vermont Volunteers900
4.8th Vermont Volunteers900
5.8th New Hampshire Volunteers900
6.13th Maine Volunteers900
7.14th Maine Volunteers900
8.15th Maine Volunteers900
9.12th Maine Volunteers (en route to Ship Island)900
10.26th Massachusetts Volunteers (at Ship Island)900
11.Eastern Bay State Regiment Volunteers (en route to Ship Island)900
12.Western Bay State Regiment Volunteers900
13.9th Connecticut Volunteers (Battalion) Ship Island600
14.5th New York Volunteers (at Baltimore)900
15.17th Massachusetts Volunteers (at Baltimore)900
Three companies of mounted men (en route to Ship Island)275
1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th Maine Batteries Volunteers (145 men each)870
4th Massachusetts Battery Volunteers (at Ship Island)145
1st and 2d Vermont Batteries Volunteers (145 men each)290
Everett’s Massachusetts battery volunteers145
Nims’ Massachusetts Battery Volunteers (at Baltimore)145
Capt. P. A. Davis’ company (unattached, at Fortress Monroe)100

That so much of the supplies of siege artillery now in depot at Fort Jefferson as may be needed by him be put at General Butler’s direction, together with that suggested in General Butler’s report of December 2, 1861.


That this force, with proper supplies, be transported with the greatest possible rapidity to Ship Island and the adjacent islands, there to be made ready for such movements as may be directed in concert with the naval forces in the Gulf. It is desirable that the First Maine Cavalry and a squadron of Connecticut cavalry be dismounted, the men being given the option either to be transferred to the regular dragoons or to enlist in any other arm of the service, either volunteers or regulars, or be discharged, the officers mustered out of service, and the horses taken either to mount the artillery or for the transport service.

It is desired that Capt. N. A. M. Dudley, Tenth infantry, have leave of absence, for the purpose of taking command of the Western Bay State Regiment.

It is desired that Major Wallen, of the Seventh infantry, have leave of absence, to take command of the Eastern Bay State Regiment. Also that the Signal Officer of the Army be permitted to detail a suitable force for signal service. That Lieutenant Palfrey, of the Engineers, be directed to report to the general commanding the Department of the Gulf.

It is desirable that a Treasury draft for $10,000, or $5,000 minimum, be passed in favor of the commanding general, on account of army contingencies, and charged to him as secret-service money. This money is designed to pay spies and purchase intelligence, without which the best schemes fail. So small a sum is asked for because there will be frequent means of communication with the War Department. It is absolutely essential.

It is desirable that at least two steamers, small size and of the lightest possible draught that can be got down to the Gulf, be chartered or purchased, for the purpose of towing barges and surf-boats into the bayous and creeks. The Navy have no such light-draught boats. It would be better to charter, with privilege of purchase during the charter. This would throw the risk of the sea voyage on the owners.

Respectfully submitted,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Volunteers.

Memoranda of changes in General Butler’s suggestions.

Confine limits of proposed department to scene of projected operations.

Strike out Fifth New York and Seventeenth Massachusetts, and substitute two regiments to be determined hereafter Add at least four Western regiments, making-

Minimum force of infantry16,800
Cavalry, three companies275
Two companies of artillery (to serve heavy guns)290
Four light batteries580

General Butler to furnish specific list of heavy ordnance and ordnance stores required.


SHIP ISLAND, MISS., February 13, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: At length the Constitution arrived yesterday, with two regiments of infantry and a squadron of cavalry. The season is already pretty {p.689} well advanced, and I had begun to doubt whether there was any definite plan to the movement in this quarter, or, if there was, whether it had not been abandoned. A plan ought rather to precede operations than follow them. What I am to do with four regiments, with such means as I possess, is more than I can conjecture.

Recent rains have so flooded part of the island that two regiments cannot well be maneuvered upon it in line without marching through water.

The troops which have just arrived have apparently suffered from the long continuance of their voyage since its first commencement. Two of their number have been carried to their graves to-day and another is reported as at the point of death. The mail which was to have been brought by the Constitution, but which was put on board the Pensacola, has not yet arrived, so that I am still without any military intelligence from the headquarters since our departure from the North.

I have to acknowledge the receipt of some blanks, but am sorry to find that they contain no company muster rolls nor quartermaster’s returns. Another muster is close at hand, and I have no blanks for the occasion. There seems to be a want of system in furnishing blanks, which I cannot comprehend.

There are now in position upon the island twelve guns, viz, ten 9-inch guns on navy carriages and two 12-pounder rifled brass pieces, besides several smaller guns for a field battery. I have found it difficult to get enough cartridge-bags for the 9-inch guns, and am accordingly without a sufficient number of rounds for those guns.

I shall endeavor to improve the drill of the command as much as possible, as one sure advantage that may be derived from our condition. In other respects six shallow-draught boats, with a heavy armament of Sawyer guns, might enable us to move, and perhaps to effect something. We might, perhaps, be called upon by the people of New Orleans to assist them against the conspirators, though I have seen no evidence of such a spirit yet. Two of their boats have been reconnoitering us to-day, and with the usual timidity which they have displayed on every occasion that we have observed them. They are doubtless aware of the arrival of the Constitution, and came to see what she had brought. Our boats usually make towards them, and they run, occasionally firing a few ineffectual rounds.

I am mistaken in saying that I have received no military intelligence from the North. I have received one item, which is the refusal of certain staff officers for whom I applied several months since. As Captain Butler learns that his nomination as commissary has been rejected by the Senate, and expects soon to retire, I shall have to supply his place with such persons as I can find. I say persons, because he has been doing the duty of quartermaster as well as commissary, and the duties henceforward will be quite enough for two-quite enough for officers of the rank of captain, which I cannot appoint. I must choose lieutenants, and on comparatively short acquaintance. Had I been allowed my own choice, a particular object with me would have been to shut out as far as possible speculations upon public calamities, which I shall still endeavor to do as far as I am able.

As a summary of our military position I would state that the island is no place for so large a force as is here collected (upwards of 3,500 men), and that to take up any other position among the exceedingly shallow waters of this coast peculiar means beyond which we possess are necessary. Some of the wharves on the other side, I am told, are nearly a mile in length, with but 7 feet of water at the end. No landing {p.690} could be effected on these against opposition without shallow-draught gunboats, to lie nearer shore on the flanks of the landing force. Such, I am told-for I have had no suitable boat to reconnoiter-is the case at Mississippi City, Biloxi, and Pascagoula. I have thought that the Rigolets would be a good point to attack, but my knowledge of that region is limited.

In fine, there does not appear to me to be any adaptation of means to any particular end in this quarter of the country. Many of the vessels are of an inferior class, and their armament generally behind the improvements of the times. With suitable vessels Mobile Harbor might be entered, it seems to me, and Fort Morgan taken in reverse.

I shall send by this opportunity estimates for clothing for the troops here, to include the entire year, and must also suggest that one good clerk would probably keep the army supplied with all the blanks that they would require.

A tug (the Reamy) was sent to this station in the month of December by Colonel Brown from Fort Pickens. I kept her until recently, when, as there was not much for her to do and as there appeared to be no prospect of more troops arriving, I sent her back to Fort Pickens, with instructions, if not wanted there, to go to Key West, and if not wanted there, to bring us a mail. She is too small for any considerable gun, carries none, and is deep-draught for her size. We used her part of the time in towing down rafts of logs from the upper end of the island for fire-wood. The pay of the crew is a considerable item of expense.

I must refer again to the necessity of greater powers than are possessed by any one at the Gulf stations. We may have some cases for general court-martial, and such as would render it convenient to have the Tortugas as a place of confinement.

Some cases of discharge and leaves of absence occur which are beyond any powers possessed in this region that I am aware of. I have felt compelled to transcend mine in the case of Surgeon Hooker, of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, whom I have allowed permission to go home on sick leave.

I will endeavor to make the most of this expedition for the service, for it would be sad to see the energies and generous impulses of the people wasted in such movements. It would be better, perhaps, not to use them at all than to use them without a well-defined object. It is a quarter of the country that needs the attention of the Government, though it is a difficult region to operate in, as the British movement against New Orleans will prove. There is an iron English steamship in harbor, laden with cotton, which was taken by the Navy near the mouth of the Rio Grande. From what I hear, an ingenious question may arise as to whether she was at the time of capture in American or Mexican waters. The flag-officer is not here. If I had control in the case I would keep her until the occasion for making an issue out of her capture should be passed, for if we cannot settle our own affairs without the interference of foreign powers, we have lost not only self-government, but also our independence.

Oat of some 40 mechanics who have been employed on the island I have decided to send home some 17 or more. Should their services be needed, their places can be supplied by soldiers.

I would suggest again that prompt communication between this region and the seat of Government is necessary, in order to derive the full value from what the Government has already done here.

I have written more at length than I proposed, indulging in words for want of action.


FEBRUARY 15, 1862.

A norther interferes with the coaling of the Constitution, so that she will not get off as early as I wish. She is a rather expensive transport unless there is constant and pressing employment for her. As several vessels laden with coal have arrived here recently from Philadelphia, I have thought it better for her to coal here than to stop at the Havana.

The flag-ship Niagara has arrived at her station to-day, but the mail of the Pensacola has not yet reached us.

In referring again to the subject of staff officers, I would express my regret that those whom I selected were not allowed to report to me. They were but two, whom, as aides-de-camp, I would have employed as adjutant-general and quartermaster or commissary. In their stead it is not unreasonable that I should request the services of one quartermaster, one commissary, and one adjutant-general. To have such agents, however, selected for an officer instead of by him is so contrary to the nature of the case, that I would prefer that my original request might be reconsidered. It will be readily perceived that at a station like this the services of a quartermaster are needed.

I need not say, perhaps, that a person of questionable loyalty would be worse than useless-a mere hinderance in the way of business that he should advance.

I shall send together with this communication some estimates for clothing, &c., among which are requisitions for medicines, made out by the surgeons of regiments. There is no brigade surgeon present, and the battery and a squadron of cavalry, numbering some 260 men, have no medical attendance of their own.

FEBRUARY 17, 1862.

The Constitution is still delayed by an extraordinary storm of rain and fog from the southwest. At a late moment I have received from among her freight a box of blanks, including muster rolls, which will be all that I shall need for the present.

I have concluded to allow Lieutenant Salla, of the Fourth Battery Massachusetts Volunteers, to go to Boston, such services as he can render not being particularly required here. His name was not borne on the original muster roll of the battery and he shows no commission. I do not see the necessity of such irregular appointments.

The Constitution I hope will get to sea to-day.

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

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


WASHINGTON, February 15, 1862.


DEAR GENERAL: Touching our conversation yesterday, I make a few remarks suggested by further thought. As to New Orleans, my estimate was made before I had seen any proposition from any quarter as to land or naval forces. For the former I think (using that number there) 20,000 is an ample number, and I would not hesitate to go with 15,000, if it was difficult to supply the greater number. Horse artillery and cavalry in very small proportions only. One thing I would suggest as to the naval preparations, prompted by the fact that Goldsborough sends word he has consumed his ammunition and cannot make another operation {p.692} until he gets more. The bombardment of Fort Jackson will doubtless consume pretty much of the stock on board ships, and, when taken, the mortar vessels can do no more in the river, and a large part of the fleet can be spared. It should go at once to Mobile and bombard Fort Morgan. That work is much like Fort Jackson internally and stands alone. Fort Gaines (Dauphin Island) is over 3 miles off. (If we had gunboats drawing not over 9 feet I cannot see what would prevent their entering Mobile Bay now and occupying it.)

For this bombardment a large surplus of shells and ships’ ammunition should be collected at Ship Island. Forts Jackson and Morgan taken, whether the mortar fleet should go to Pensacola (a place of no importance, unless it be to release our fleet from blockade there), or to Charleston, or Pulaski (if that has not fallen), would depend on the situation at the time.

Now as to Savannah: If the city is so thoroughly fortified as to require a siege, it is not worth sieging. I did not know but Fort Jackson might be intended by Sherman, but that is a very insignificant work, and ought to be taken with a dash, combined with a gunboat operation, or let alone. We have the river above Pulaski, and have cut off all its communications. I don’t see why the gunboats cannot ascend to Savannah; but if they cannot, or can only do it at the expense of a siege, there’s no sufficient object. Looking at Fort Pulaski, I find it is a work of interior area about equal to Fort Jackson (Mississippi), with one casemate and one barbette tier. In the gorge are quarters; in front, a demi-lune. There is very little fire up in the faces of the demi-lune (not more than ten or twelve barbette guns could be put in each) being too oblique to act in positions where I have masked “gunboats,” and if the rebels attempt to mount any on the gorge, a battery on its prolongation would enfilade it. The nearest point of Tybee Island is about a mile; here batteries of heavy rifled cannon would operate principally on the walls (and 24-pounder siege guns be good for nothing) and mortars behind. I think fifteen mortars (13-inch), with a few batteries of heavy guns and the cooperation of the fleet, would soon reduce Pulaski; and I think it quite likely the heavy ships of the fleet could, with the help of their land batteries, cross the southern (Tybee Island) channel and co-operate. One thing is certain, the work would soon use up all its ammunition and would become a helpless recipient of our shot and shells, under the play of which it must surrender.

The capture of Pulaski is the capture of everything valuable-the port, the river, the city of Savannah; and I think the taking of such works is calculated to exert a powerful influence on public opinion abroad.

Woodbury has discussed the siege of Charleston, or rather the capture of the works (Sumter and Moultrie). It is a difficult undertaking, would require some preparation, and at least two iron-clad vessels, supposing Pulaski taken and Burnside to have taken Fort Macon (and perhaps Caswell).

I was just about to write that I did not approve of Burnside’s march to Goldsborough as accomplishing nothing permanent, and running a risk for that nothing, while at Beaufort and Wilmington he could effect decisive results, but the news from Fort Donelson has come in, and we can march anywhere, I take it. This knocks all present calculations in the head, and we must try to do something off-hand, or the Army of the Potomac will find the war finished without its aid. Seems to me we ought not to lose a moment in seizing Norfolk, and then we can operate {p.693} by the James, York, and Rappahannock, and be in Richmond in two weeks.

“God and Liberty.”

I congratulate you with all my heart.


P. S.-The occupation of Tennessee, as you indicated yesterday, seems to me judicious. Nashville (supplied by the Cumberland), Memphis (by the Mississippi), Florence (by the Tennessee, which great artery gives us control of the whole State), and the subordinate points-Grand Junction, Chattanooga, Knoxville, &c.-give us a grand citadel in the very heart of Secessia, from which we control all the railroads, and are able to march at will anywhere through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, while from the seaports (soon to be ours) we hold all their external communications and routes inward. Can we not subjugate them? I have always maintained that we could, but hope the sober second thought of a cruelly deceived people will render subjugation unnecessary.

J. G. BARNARD, Chief Engineer.


SHIP ISLAND, MISS., February 21, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: The steamer Saxon arrived to-day with provisions and will return to-morrow; a dispatch which I wish might be imitated by other vessels, but their charters are generally too much in favor of the ship, her loss, as I understand it, being at the risk of the Government, while there is not much extraordinary risk in sailing to and from a port like this. The want of a regular transmission of intelligence between this port and the North is so great and the failure in the receipt of letters long due is so marked, that I must be excused in referring to this point again as one of particular importance. A regular packet, it appears to me, ought to ply once a fortnight, say, between Old Point and the Gulf stations, and the public be informed of the arrangement. The mail service needs regulating in this quarter, as a means of regulating and invigorating other branches of the service. They are not pushed with sufficient vigor to prevent those collateral issues and perhaps speculating projects, in which direct purposes become lost and dissipated.

Owing to recent rains the island is so flooded that I should find it difficult to encamp more troops upon it. If more arrive soon those now here should be sent over to the main-land, but I have not suitable means for that object. Light-draught gunboats, heavily armed, of which I have often spoken, are necessary. Lieutenant Palfrey, of the Engineers, has arrived to-day, and he will require considerable room for his workmen and material. What from store-houses, troops, stores, and pools of water I am already too much encumbered for any suitable freedom of movement. I have thus far had the services of only one staff officer, viz, Capt. A. J. Butler, commissary and acting quartermaster. The Government will perhaps find it to its advantage to send two officers to perform those duties, Captain Butler soon expecting to leave. I would also like to have the services of an experienced adjutant-general.

Some difficulty is experienced for the want of a tariff of prices of clothing, and I would be greatly obliged for one.


To-morrow being the birthday of Washington, I propose to celebrate the occasion with a national salute of thirty-four guns, a parade of the troops, national airs, &c. Recent favorable news from the valley of the Mississippi, brought from New Orleans by a captured steamer, gives us particular satisfaction, and awakens new hopes of the speedy downfall of the conspirators.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA, Fort Pickens, February 22, 1862.

In compliance with the instructions of the General-in-Chief of the Army, dated Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General’s Office, Washington, January 29, 1862 (directing Col. Harvey Brown to turnover the command of the Department of Florida to Brig. Gen. Lewis G. Arnold, U. S. Volunteers), the undersigned assumes command of the department.


L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, February 23, 1862.

Maj. Gen. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers:

GENERAL: You are assigned to the command of the land forces destined to co-operate with the Navy in the attack upon New Orleans. You will use every means to keep your destination a profound secret, even from your staff officers, with the exception of your chief of staff, and Lieutenant Weitzel, of the Engineers. The force at your disposal will consist of the first thirteen regiments named in your memorandum handed to me in person, the Twenty-first Indiana, Fourth Wisconsin, and Sixth Michigan (old and good regiments from Baltimore). The Twenty-First Indiana, Fourth Wisconsin, and Sixth Michigan will await your orders at Fort Monroe. Two companies of the Twenty-first Indiana are well drilled at heavy artillery. The cavalry force already en route for Ship Island will be sufficient for your purposes. After full consultation with officers well acquainted with the country in which it is proposed to operate, I have arrived at the conclusion that two light batteries, fully equipped, and one without horses, will be all that are necessary. This will make your force 14,400 infantry, 275 cavalry, 580 artillery-total, 15,255 men. The commanding general of the Department of Key West is authorized to loan you temporarily two regiments. Fort Pickens can probably gave you another, which will bring your force to nearly 18,000.

The object of your expedition is one of vital importance-the capture of New Orleans. The route selected is up the Mississippi River, and the first obstacle to be encountered (perhaps the only one) is in the resistance offered by Forts Saint Philip and Jackson. It is expected that the Navy can reduce these works. In that case you will, after their capture, leave a sufficient garrison in them to render them perfectly {p.695} secure; and it is recommended that on the upward passage a few heavy guns and some troops be left at the Pilot Station (at the forks of the river), to cover a retreat in the event of a disaster. The troops and guns will of course be removed as soon as the forts are captured. Should the Navy fail to reduce the works, you will land your forces and siege train, and endeavor to breach the works, silence their guns, and carry them by assault.

The next resistance will be near the English Bend, where there are some earthen batteries. Here it may be necessary for you to land your troops to co-operate with the naval attack, although it is more than probable that the Navy, unassisted, can accomplish the result. If these works are taken, the city of New Orleans necessarily falls. In that event it will probably be best to occupy Algiers with the mass of your troops; also the eastern bank of the river above the city. It may be necessary to place some troops in the city to preserve order; but if there appears sufficient Union sentiment to control the city, it may be best, for purposes of discipline, to keep your men out of the city.

After obtaining possession of New Orleans it will be necessary to reduce all the works guarding its approaches from the east, and particularly to gain the Manchac Pass. Baton Rouge, Berwick Bay, and Fort Livingston will next claim your attention. A feint on Galveston may facilitate the objects we have in view. I need not call your attention to the necessity of gaining possession of all the rolling stock you can on the different railways and of obtaining control of the roads themselves. The occupation of Baton Rouge by a combined naval and land force should be accomplished as soon as possible after you have gained New Orleans. Then endeavor to open your communication with the northern column by the Mississippi, always bearing in mind the necessity of occupying Jackson, Miss., as soon as you can safely do so, either after or before you have effected the junction. Allow nothing to divert you from obtaining full possession of all the approaches to New Orleans. When that object is accomplished to its fullest extent it will be necessary to make a combined attack on Mobile, in order to gain possession of the harbor and works, as well as to control the railway terminus at the city. In regard to this I will send more detailed instructions as the operations of the northern column develop themselves. I may briefly state that the general objects of the expedition are, first, the reduction of New Orleans and all its approaches; then Mobile and its defenses; then Pensacola, Galveston, &c.

It is probable that by the time New Orleans is reduced it will be in the power of the Government to re-enforce the land forces sufficiently to accomplish all these objects. In the mean time you will please give all the assistance in your power to the Army and Navy commanders in your vicinity, never losing sight of the fact that the great object to be achieved is the capture and firm retention of New Orleans.

I am, very respectfully,

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General, Commanding in Chief.



HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, A. G. O., Washington, February 23, 1862.

I. A new military department, to be called the Department of the Gulf, is hereby constituted. It will comprise all the coast of the Gull of Mexico west of Pensacola Harbor and so much of the Gulf States as {p.696} may be occupied by the forces under Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler, U. S. Volunteers. The headquarters for the present will be movable, wherever the general commanding may be.

By command of Major-General McClellan:

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


SHIP ISLAND, Miss., March 9, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: The Fourteenth Maine, six companies of the Thirteenth Maine and the Twelfth Connecticut arrived yesterday. Other vessels are in sight to-day, and probably with troops. The ship Idaho, containing the men of several batteries, has run aground, and we are trying to get her off. The force now here is made up as follows, viz: The Twenty-sixth Massachusetts, the Eastern Bay State Regiment, the Ninth and Twelfth Connecticut, the Twelfth and Fourteenth Maine, and six companies of the Thirteenth; Read’s Second Massachusetts Cavalry (three companies), and Manning’s battery, besides the troops on the Idaho, not yet landed; in all, some 6,500 men. It is rather late in the season to assemble so large a body of raw troops on such a spot as this, and it appears to me desirable that suitable transportation for its transference to some other point should be furnished as soon as possible. The British forces in their attack on New Orleans left here, if I am not mistaken, before the month of January.

Some days since a party from this command went over to Biloxi and examined the ground there. It is out of the way and not desirable for a military station. Another party went over yesterday to a paint nearer Mississippi City. The wharf there is some 3,000 feet or more in length, of a light structure, and has been partly broken up. The reconnoitering party (about 100 men) went but a short distance from the wharf and were fired upon from artillery. Returning to their boat (the steam gunboat Calhoun, taken from the enemy) the enemy’s shots were replied to by three rounds from the boat. The number of troops there is probably not very considerable; the location would be better for a camp than this is. There ere 9 feet of water at the end of the wharf. I wished to send back there to-day to make a further examination but both of our steam lighters are broken down and the Calhoun is employed in getting off the Idaho.

It is useless for a force to attempt to do anything here without suitable transportation, and we need it now, if for nothing more than to procure room for the troops. It appears to me that the enemy at this moment ought to be kept in a state of alarm throughout this entire approach by the Rigolets and Lake Borgne to New Orleans, but it is seldom that a gunboat goes far in that direction. The superficies of that part of the island which is occupied by the troops is about one-half of a square mile, and at times nearly one-half of that, if not quite, is under water. Limits so narrow render the desired military instruction impracticable, and yet without that instruction we should be subject to external influences, as of the weather, the season, political demonstration, military necessity, &c., rather than be free to make our movements from inherent force. We should be in the dangerous condition of submitting to controlling influences ourselves, as all military bodies ought to do. To be the slave instead of the master of circumstances is not to promise much for any kind of measures, and least of all for military measures.


A step that is taken from impulsion cannot be otherwise than a stumbling one.

Had these troops arrived two months ago we might have gained some confidence and coherence by this time. No effort, however, shall be spared to render them effective. New Orleans appears to me to be a proper point to strike at. It is the center of the conspiracy. The perversity of Charleston, the pride of Richmond, and the honesty of the people along the Alleghanies have alike been made subordinate to the combinations of the conspirators there. New Orleans, the seat of the conspiracy, must have less respect for their work than any other quarter of the country. A few gunboats can reach the city from above by the river, even if we could not from this point. I can form no plan, for I have no means of executing one.

MARCH 11, 1862.

The several batteries which have arrived (four in all) have but a very few pieces of artillery among them, no harness, and hardly enough horses for one battery. With a volunteer force like this both artillery and engineering are likely to be necessary, and for the latter purpose we have a wholly inadequate supply of intrenching tools. The Navy seem to be making some preparations to ascend the river towards New Orleans, and if they expect to be backed by a land force in that direction, as they doubtless will, such tools will be indispensable. The forwardness of the season, the rawness of the troops, and the absence of means to render them efficient are calculated to fill one with concern. The fleet of mortar boats have been arriving to-day and will probably soon proceed to their destination. A party of machinists have also arrived, with a building and machinery for establishing a machine-shop, which numerous breakages in our gunboats render necessary. The materials for Lieutenant Palfrey’s work on the fort are also beginning to arrive.

I am sorry to state that the Idaho is not yet got off, notwithstanding all the favoring efforts of steam-tugging, lightening, and extraordinarily high tides. She has thrown over a part of her cargo, chiefly provisions, of which our supply is not very considerable. There is something so remarkable in her running aground and in her conduct since, that I have appointed a board of survey of officers of rank to examine into it. A small lantern is kept burning in the light-house during the night, which may be announced, if thought necessary. The enemy’s gunboats have not made their appearance for some time.

I have omitted no opportunity to write to you when I have thought that my communications might contain matters of interest. I have received no communications in return. Paymasters Watson and Locke have been engaged paying the troops for some time. They have probably met with some difficulties in deciding upon several cases, hut they have presented others which might have been settled at the seat of Government before setting out on their tour. By and with my decision they are paying the men from the date of enrollment, and are including the 28th day of February, which I doubt not will be satisfactory to the Department. Other, troops here cannot be paid at this time, but I am in hopes that funds will be sent as soon after the next muster as practicable.

The Eastern Bay State Regiment has been brought together with some degree of irregularity, and it contains a certain number of men who are not physically qualified for the proper performance of their duty. They should be discharged from the service, but I have neither time nor authority to attend to it. I shall in the mean time make such {p.698} use of them as will render their services available. I have appointed Lieut. Charles S. Palmer, Ninth Connecticut Volunteers, acting assistant quartermaster, and Adjutant Hail, of the same regiment, aide-decamp and acting assistant adjutant-general.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


SHIP ISLAND, Miss., March 12, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Since closing my letter this morning the Idaho has got off by her own efforts; how much of her cargo will prove a loss I have not yet ascertained. The steamer Constitution arrived this afternoon, with three regiments on board, under the command of General Williams. A rumor is current here that since the evacuation of Columbus the rebels are falling back upon New Orleans, with a view to its defense, and that troops have been called away from Pensacola for that purpose. If so, and we could get possession of the mouth of Red River and of a point in the line of communication between the city and Texas, the rebel forces would probably be reduced to great straits for the want of provisions.

The inconvenience attending a variety of calibers in our fire-arms is beginning to be felt. We have some of the caliber of .58 and others of the caliber of .54; for the latter caliber there should be a greater number of rounds than we have on hand here.

I regret that the elements of an organized expedition do not appear to be as far advanced as they should be. The Government party in this region must be assured of a strong, firm power to back them before they will decide in our favor; and it appears to me to be time to set our civil courts in operation, for they are the only power that can strike the traitors with wholesome dread. If the law does not assert its dignity amidst the arms that are raised for its defense, it will never do so. All our victories will prove useless unless the law is vindicated. Rebellions will occur as often as whirlwinds of a summer’s day if defeats at arms are the only penalties to be incurred thereby. One execution at the right time and place would do more towards checking the rebellion than would whole holocausts upon the field of battle. The law has been disparaged and emasculated for many years, and if it does not arise in its majesty and wield the sword before war lays it down, it will never wield it under our present form of government. A victorious popular party would be prone to forget the wholesome severities of the law in the congratulations of success when their arms were once laid down.

I would be permitted to state once more that I have received no communication from headquarters covering the period of our stay here-going on four months-and only two of official character from the seat of Government. They are from the Light-House Board. So far as this silence may imply confidence in me I shall strive to merit, but it would not be out of place to let an officer have some knowledge of what he is to do or else the means of deciding for himself.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. PHELPS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.



ON BOARD STEAMER MISSISSIPPI, Off Hilton Head, S. C., March 12, 1862.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commander-in-Chief U. S. Army:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the causes of my detention at this port, which will be fully set forth in the extracts from the itinerary herewith inclosed.

It will be seen that after a series of most unparalleled marine disasters I am at last ready for sea, and shall sail as soon as the weather permits.

I inclose also a copy of an order of arrest of the master of the steamer, by whose faults and mismanagement our misfortunes have been caused. A competent master and coast pilot have been detailed from the naval squadron to command the ship on the rest of the voyage.

I desire to express my deep sense of obligation both to General Sherman and officers of his command for every aid in our distressed condition. Thanks are especially due to Commander Boutelle, assistant, U. S. Coast Survey, for the very efficient assistance given by the steamer Bibb, under his command, and the untiring personal exertions in giving his services and those of his officers, at my request, to get this ship in a condition for sea, and also in acting as pilot to get her off a shoal on which she had grounded in our attempt to get to sea.

A board of survey of competent naval officers have pronounced the ship fit for sea, and I have no further fear of her, under a competent commander. No serious casualty has occurred and all these dangers. We have lost two men from diseases contracted prior to their enlistment The health of the command is good.

Of the conduct of nearly every officer and man during these perils, more trying and disheartening than the perils of any battle could be, I cannot speak too highly.

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

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General.



Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant-General.

By command of Major-General McClellan:

S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

-Itinerary kept by Joe. M. Bell, major and aide-de-camp, at the order of Major-General Butler, U. S. Army.-

On the morning of the 25th February the steamer Mississippi, having on board Major-General Butler, with his staff, and the Thirty-first Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, under Col. O. P. Gooding, and four companies of the Thirteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers, under Col. Neal Dow, left Hampton Roads, with fair weather and every prospect of a pleasant voyage, for Ship Island, with intent to stop at Hatteras Inlet, to take on board Brig. Gen. Thomas Williams, assigned to General Butler, and at Key West. The run through the night was very pleasant, the motion of the ship being scarcely perceptible, the vessel making from 8 to 10 miles per hour.


The morning of the 26th broke beautiful, with a smooth sea. The vessel ran very easily, and under the regulations established by General Butler the troops had got into regular and comfortable position. The weather warm. In the afternoon it began to grow lowering and symptoms of bad weather; the vessel was making for Hatteras Inlet. When about 8 miles from the inlet the weather became such as to make it imprudent to attempt to proceed farther in that direction, and the vessel was put to sea; the sea and wind steadily increased during the night, with the wind from southwest, to a gale, the vessel behaving admirably.

On the morning of the 27th, at about 1 o’clock a.m., the wind shifted instantly to the northeast, blowing a hurricane. The head of the ship was brought to the wind, during which maneuver she shipped several seas, which brought into the cabin through the sky-light some water and some into the engine-room. The vessel behaved admirably, there being no perceptible strain or labor, though she rolled considerably, yet not so much as might have been expected.

The ship’s crew being found insufficient to work the ship, a gang of sailors from Colonel Dow’s command was detailed to aid, and rendered the most valuable assistance. The gale continued very severe through the morning until towards 10 o’clock it began to abate, and at about 11 o’clock the vessel’s head was put to the southward. At 12 the sun was out and the captain took an observation, reporting to General Butler the position of the vessel to be 50 miles east of Hatteras. Vessel bowled along merrily, the sea and wind constantly subsiding, until evening, when no perceptible motion was apparent to the vessel. During the night everything quiet.

The morning of the 28th, at reveille, was dull and looked like rain, but before 7 o’clock it became bright and clear.

The vessel off Cape Fear after breakfast, and about 8.30 o’clock it was said she was aground.

Cape Fear light-house had been in sight for an hour or more and a buoy had been observed for some time. The vessel was moving about for some fifteen minutes, now backing, now going forward slowly, constantly striking, not very severely, the lead going. The captain ordered the anchor thrown over, and it was dropped on port bow. There was no wind or sea; boats were sent out to sound a passage off; under General Butler’s direction buoys were prepared; the vessel was sounded all around and from certain points her bow and various points on either side and from the stern; in all directions soundings were made and buoys set. The sailors and soldiers of the command were all put to use and worked cheerfully.

At about 11 o’clock a sail was seen from the southwest; the ensign was set, Union down, and a signal gun fired. The vessel hoisted American colors, but sent no boat and did not appear to be approaching. It was supposed her colors might be a ruse; a boat was sent off to her; she proved to be the U. S. steamer Mount Vernon, Commander Glisson. He promised all assistance and sent a boat to sound, and proceeded to work up to the Mississippi. He came up to within a quarter of a mile, and attempted to haul the head round with a hawser, without success.

Under General Butler’s direction various plans for the immediate lightening of the ship had been put in progress, to be resorted to as a last necessity.

The troops began to be transferred to the Mount Vernon, Colonel Dow’s command being first sent forward. The tide in the mean time was rising to become full at about 8.30 o’clock p.m. The propeller was set to work at full speed, all the troops were moved rapidly from stern {p.701} to stem and back again, and at about 7 o’clock she moved from her position and passed slowly ahead. At this time about 200 troops had been and were in the process of being transferred to the Mount Vernon. The Mount Vernon got under weigh and ran along with the vessel for a mile or more, when she passed ahead to lead the way to an anchorage. The Mississippi cast anchor to allow her boats to come up with the soldiers and then weighed and followed the Mount Vernon. It had been known that she leaked badly, and it was found that the water filled the lower hold and fore hold, and that it was fast coming in.

Details of soldiers were set to work bailing, and such pumps as could be worked were set going, with no apparent effect upon the leak. It was supposed that she had forced a hole in herself upon the anchor. All that could work were incessantly occupied with the leak. At about 10 o’clock anchored in Cape Fear River, below Fort Caswell; passed the night, which was clear and beautiful, in quiet.

In the morning of March 1 a survey was held upon the vessel, at the order of General Butler, by Colonel Dow, H. L. Sturgis, acting master of the Mount Vernon, who had been left on board of the Mississippi by Commander Glisson, and Captain Conant, of the Thirty-first Regiment. They reported in favor of proceeding under convoy to Port Royal. A quilted sail was placed under her bow; all hands arranged for bailing and pumping, and the captain of the Mount Vernon having agreed to accompany and having kindly detailed Acting Master Sturgis to proceed with us to Ship Island, the vessel-the chain having been brought aft and the gun amidships-at about 6 o’clock set out for Port ROYAL She was very much down by the head and the leak remained as before, the water-tight compartments preventing the water from coming aft the forecastle. The night was pleasant, the sea smooth, with no wind, and the vessel ran at about 8 1/2 knots an hour.

March 2, at 8 o’clock a.m., the vessel was off Charleston, S. C., with the Mount Vernon about 2 miles astern; weather delightful. Three blockading vessels just out; one ran down to the Mount Vernon; vessel kept steadily forward, and at about 5 o’clock arrived in harbor at Port Royal and anchored; leak as before. Sent ashore for leave to land troops that evening, but could not get it until morning.

Sent to Flag-Officer Boggs, of the Varuna, for assistance and survey. He, with Captains Boutelle and Renshaw, came immediately on board; promised all assistance in their power; lay at anchor all night.

March 3, proceeded according to orders to Skull Creek, Seabrook’s Landing, about 7 miles up the river. In the forenoon landed the troops, and under charge of Captain Boutelle, of the Bibb commenced searching for and endeavoring to stop the leak. A sail was bent over the bow, and all the pumps on board with several obtained from the land were set to work. This was continued from day to day without effect until on Friday, the 7th of March, a mattress cushion having been substituted for the sail, at evening the leak was got under.

On Saturday the 8th, just as the stoppage of the hole was supposed to have been effected, it burst out afresh.

Sunday, the 9th, renewed attempts were made with success, and the hole was stopped; a cushion of tarred oakum was wound around the hole; several sheets of tarred canvas laid on, then a thick sheet of rubber; a sheet of boiler iron was laid over this and screwed down with a jackscrew, and several barrels of heated rosin poured in, covering in to the depth of 8 inches. This caused the leak to nearly stop, and was pronounced sufficient for safety by nautical men of large experience.


On Monday, the 10th of March, the vessel was reladen and the troops brought on board-the Thirty-first Massachusetts Regiment.

Prior to this, on Saturday, the steamer Matanzas had been employed to take part of the troops, in case of necessity, and the Maine troops had been put on board her on Monday forenoon, and she had dropped down to Hilton Head, with orders to await the Mississippi. At about 2.30 p.m. the Mississippi east off and began to clear the wharf preparatory to departure. In opposition to the opinion of several nautical gentlemen of skill the captain moved his boat by the stern; she backed against the shore, and, hitting the rudder, the tiller-rope parted just as she began to move forward; it being impossible to guide her, she ran directly upon shore about a half mile below the wharf, and became hard and fast. The tug-boat Mercury was sent for and the steamer Honduras to get her off. At high tide on the morning of 11th, at about 2.30 o’clock, the ship having been put under the charge of Captain Boutelle, of the Bibb, who had kindly volunteered his assistance, an attempt was made to tow her off, but unfortunately the tide was the lowest, with one exception, ever recorded in this creek.

Another attempt was made on the tide in the afternoon with the Mercury, the Locust Point, and the Parkersburg steamers, to tow her off, without success. Another attempt was advised. On the morning of the 12th, at about 4 o’clock, the attempt was successfully made, and she ran down to Hilton Head, and anchored there at about 5.30 o’clock a.m.

Our escape from this as from the other troubles is due to everybody but the master of our vessel and his crew. But for our own sailors and soldiers and the advice and assistance of others our fate would have been a sorry one.

ADDENDUM.-I have learned since it occurred that the vessel when approaching Hatteras Inlet got among the breakers and into less than a proper amount of water for safety. The facts appear clearly in the records of the board of inquiry.

[Inclosure No. 2.]


CAPTAIN: I transmit herewith a copy of the proceedings and testimony of a board of inquiry ordered upon the causes of the disaster which have delayed our voyage and imperiled our lives. The results of careful examination of the evidence are these:

1st. That off Cape Hatteras we were in the most imminent peril from running over the shoals within 4 fathoms water, and that, too, in daylight. If we had struck there in the gale that followed every life must have been lost.

2d. Could competent foresight and seamanship have brought us into that position?

I cannot permit the statement made by yourself, that you learned in twelve or fifteen hours after leaving Fort Monroe that the general wished to stop at Hatteras, to be any excuse; it was told you in Hampton Roads that it was necessary to stop at Hatteras Inlet to take up General Williams. The testimony of William A. Drum, one of the quartermasters of the ship, shows that it was known at least to him.

3d. That in smooth water, with a clear sky, land in full sight, with a buoy and light-house in view, the vessel was run ashore upon Frying Pan Shoals in less than 3 fathoms water.


4th. That being hard and fast aground in less than 3 fathoms water and falling tide, the port anchor was let go, the ship heading southwest, the wind westerly, and the fore main-sail, spencer, forestay sail, and jib being set (see statement of chief officer), so that the ship was forced upon it, and a hole punched through her bottom.

I do not feel myself competent to examine the courses and distances had by the ship by which we were brought into this position, having only a landsman’s acquaintance with navigation, but the facts above stated are too prominent to escape the most careless observation. I will call attention, however, to some of the discrepancies of your statement, both with itself and with the direct testimony of others. You say (page 15) that between 5 and 6 o’clock a.m. of the 28th February you judged yourself on the edge of the Gulf Stream. You say (page 17) that the edge of the Gulf Stream is from 30 to 40 miles from Frying Pan Shoals. You say (page 16) you were running 8 1/2 knots per hour; that at 7 o’clock a.m. you were in sight of main-land. Now the eastern point of Frying Pan Shoals is shown by the charts to be about 22 miles from the main-land. How could you get in sight of main-land within two hours, and, finding yourself so much out of your place, not heave the lead until after the ship struck? Besides, you say (page 15) you did not “turn out” till between 6 and 7 o’clock. What means had you of judging where you were between 5 and 6 a.m.? You will observe also that your statement as to the depth of water off Hatteras, when the vessel was in the breakers, is expressly contradicted by at least four persons. You say there was not less than 7 fathoms at any time (page 16), while the concurrent testimony of at least four witnesses is that the lead showed 4 fathoms less.

These are but a small part of the discrepancies, which show to me that your mind is in such a state of confusion as to events that the lives of my men are not safe under the guidance of your nautical skill. I am forced to the conclusion, therefore, that through your neglect or incompetency the lives of 1,400 men have thrice been in peril; that the important interests of the Government in the speed of this voyage have been greatly injured and its objects much delayed, and perhaps thwarted.

After much detention we are now at anchor in Port Royal Harbor, about to again start upon our voyage. With the convictions above expressed I ought not, I cannot, permit the voyage to proceed with yourself in command of this ship.

It has been found impossible to get another to carry the troops within any reasonable time. There is but one course of duty left to me, a responsible and unpleasant one. You will therefore be placed under arrest, in your state-room, until you can be conveniently transferred to the Matanzas. You will be allowed to take from the ship with you your personal baggage only. Everything else will be left on board and a receipt will be given you for the ship, her tackle, equipment, and stores of every description; you will proceed to Ship Island on board the Matanzas.

After landing the troops there, if I determine to terminate the charter-party, the ship and crew will be again turned over to you, if the owners so desire.

Copies of the proceedings of the court of inquiry and of this order of arrest will be sent to the owners, together with a copy of the log since we left Fortress Monroe, with a report of the voyage from the itinerary kept by my order.

I am grieved to be obliged to this action, for our personal relations {p.704} have been of the kindest character, and I know yourself will believe that only the sternest sense of duty would compel me to it.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.


SAINT LOUIS, March 14, 1862.

E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington.

General Bragg is at Memphis, and large re-enforcements are arriving from the South by railroad, to sustain General A. S. Johnston and prevent us from reaching Memphis. If an attack on Mobile is intended, now is the time. The capture of that place would assist us very much here. Moreover, gunboats could then ascend the Alabama River and open its commerce.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Ship Island, March 20, 1862.

Pursuant to General Orders, No. 20, of February 23 1862 from the Headquarters of the Army, Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler, U. S. Volunteers assumes command of this department.

His staff is announced as follows:

Maj. George C. Strong, assistant adjutant-general, ordnance office and chief of staff.

Capt. Jonas H. French, aide-de-camp and inspector-general.

Capt. Peter Haggerty, aide-de-camp.

First Lieut. J. W. Cushing, Thirty-first Massachusetts Volunteers acting chief quartermaster.

First Lieut. J. E. Easterbrook, Thirtieth Massachusetts Volunteers, acting chief commissary.

Capt. George A. Kensel, chief of artillery.

First Lieut. Godfrey Weitzel, chief engineer.

First Lieut. J. C. Palfrey, assistant engineer.

First Lieut. C. N. Turnbull, chief of topographical engineers.

Surg. Thomas H. Bache, medical director.

Maj. J. M. Bell, volunteer aide-de-camp.

Capt. R. S. Davis, volunteer aide-de-camp.

First Lieut. J. B. Kinsman, aide-de-camp.

Second Lieut. H. C. Clarke, aide-de-camp.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.



Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I deem it proper to report for the information of the General-in-Chief that the rebels at Pensacola and along their line of defense have been stampeded by our glorious Union victories elsewhere. This information (indefinite, however) was derived from two stupid white {p.705} men and two negroes, who came over a few days since from Milton and East Bay, some 40 miles from Pensacola, but it is apparent that the enemy hold firm possession of Forts McRee and Barrancas and at least five sand batteries lining the shore between the former fort and the navy-yard. The four refugees could furnish no information but hearsay stories as to the force of the enemy in their forts, navy-yard, Pensacola, on Bayou Grande, Live Oak Plantation, &c. As my position is a defensive one, on an island, I am perfectly helpless for any offensive movement requiring water transportation for 50 men without naval co-operation. I have not under my command a dispatch steamer or sail vessel, and have scarcely enough surf-boats to land stores for the command.

I have made estimates on the Quartermaster’s Department for a steamboat and surf-boats, which ought to be, and I am in hopes will be, furnished without delay. The sloop of war Vincennes, carrying two 9-inch and four 8-inch Dahlgren guns, two rifled guns-one 20-pounder and one 10-pounder-is the only vessel of war that has been lying off Santa Rosa for the past two weeks. She cannot be made available here for any successful movement against the enemy.

The General-in-Chief can rely upon the zeal and spirit of my command. I will do everything in my power, with my limited means, to aid in crushing out this senseless and wicked rebellion.

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

L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Ship Island, March 29, 1862.

The following-named regiments and corps will embark to-morrow, commencing at 8 a.m., in the following order, viz:

1. On board steamer Mississippi, the commanding general and staff; Fourth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers; Durivage Cavalry (dismounted) and Manning’s battery; Weitzel Pioneers.

2. On board steamer Matanzas: Brigadier-General Williams and staff; Twenty-first Regiment Indiana Volunteers.

S. On board steamer Lewis: Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.

4. On board ship North America: Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers; Everett’s battery.

S. On board ship Wild Gazelle: Sixth Michigan Volunteers.

6. On board ship E. W. Farley: Twelfth Connecticut Volunteers.

Each regiment will take three tents, and the detached companies of cavalry artillery, and pioneers one tent each. The remaining tents will be left standing. The troops will carry their camp kettles, pans, cups, plates, knives and forks, and each soldier his knapsack, overcoat, blanket, one extra shirt, one extra pair of drawers, one extra pair of shoes, canteen and in his haversack four days’ cooked rations. They will also take all the axes, hatchets, picks, shovels, and spades they may have in possession.

Officers’ baggage will be limited to bedding and one valise, bag, or knapsack; no trunks in any case to be taken. The remaining baggage of officers and men will be properly secured, as compactly as possible, marked, and turned over to the division quartermaster.

Captains of companies will be held responsible that every soldier has in his cartridge-box 40 rounds of ammunition. {p.706}

The troops will be inspected at 6 p.m. to-day, to see that this order has been complied with as far as may be necessary at that hour, to insure promptness in the embarkation to-morrow. One non-commissioned officer for each regiment will be left behind to turn over the baggage, tents, &c., to the chief quartermaster.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS, ETC., March 30, 1862.

Flag-Officer FARRAGUT, Commanding West Gulf Squadron:

SIR: I am now ready to put on board ship six regiments and two batteries, and will be able to be in the “passes” in twelve hours. I am still of opinion that an effort be made to land above the fort as soon as you can get the gunboats by. Its moral, not to say actual, effect would aid the attack, if not compel surrender. If the Navy are not to be ready for six or eight days I ought not to sail, as my coal is running short, and I cannot carry more than eight days’ for sailing. May I ask that you send me word so as to reach me by Tuesday morning, and I will be embarked in waiting. If you prefer, I will be in time to attempt the landing off Isle Breton. If I can aid you in any way please command me. I shall wait your advices. If it is of importance that you advise me, please do not fail.

I am, with much respect, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.


Organization of the troops in Department of the Gulf, March 31, 1862.

  • First Brigade.
    Brig. Gen. JOHN W. PHELPS.
    • 9th Connecticut.
    • 12th Connecticut.
    • 13th Connecticut.
    • 8th New Hampshire.
    • 7th Vermont.
    • 8th Vermont
    • 4th Massachusetts Battery.
    • 1st Vermont Battery.
    • 2d Vermont Battery.
    • 2d Battalion Massachusetts Cavalry (one company).
  • Second Brigade.
    • 21st Indiana.
    • 26th Massachusetts.
    • 31st Massachusetts.
    • 6th Michigan.
    • 4th Wisconsin.
    • 2d Massachusetts Battery.
    • 6th Massachusetts Battery.
    • 2d Battalion Massachusetts Cavalry (one company).
  • Third Brigade.
    Col. GEORGE F. SHEPLEY, Twelfth Maine Infantry.
    • 12th Maine.
    • 13th Maine.
    • 14th Maine.
    • 15th Maine.
    • 30th Massachusetts.
    • 1st Maine Battery.
    • 2d Battalion Massachusetts Cavalry (one company).


Abstract from return of the Department of the Gulf, commanded by Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler U. S. Army, for March, 1862.

Command.Present for duty.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.Pieces of artillery.
1st (Phelps’) Brigade:
2d (Williams’) Brigade:
3d (Shepley’s) Brigade:

The Thirteenth Connecticut, Fifteenth Maine, and Seventh and Eighth Vermont Regiments of Infantry, and the Second Massachusetts and First Vermont Batteries reported on original as “not arrived.”


APRIL 2, 1862.

Maj. GEORGE C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General, &c.:

MAJOR: Taking with you on board the steamer Lewis the Ninth Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers and a section of Captain Everett’s battery, and acting in conjunction with the Navy, you will proceed to Biloxi, and demand and obtain an ample apology for the firing into a flag of truce upon an errand of humanity under your command upon the 1st instant.

The apology must be an ample one, and you will demand and obtain a guarantee against such occurrences in the future, signed by the mayor, the principal inhabitants, and the colonel commanding the forces there.

You will inform the authorities and the citizens that no flag of truce must be hereafter sent to this island unless accompanied by a commissioned officer, in full uniform, with proper credentials; that civilians cannot be received under such flag, or if received will be detained.

You will land and compel any force there to retire, and take such measures to secure and enforce the foregoing as you may deem best, either by seizing and bringing off the principal inhabitants or whatever else may seem advisable.

You will also proceed to Mississippi City and Pass Christian, if desired by the Navy, and co-operate with it in any demonstrations deemed advisable against those places.

By command of Major-General Butler:

JOS. M. BELL, Major and Aide-de-Camp.


BILOXI, MISS., April 3, 1862.

To the Mayor of Biloxi:

SIR: I am directed by Major-General Butler, commanding the Department of the Gulf, to call your attention to the fact that on the 1st {p.708} instant a party of men under my command, bearing a flag of truce and on an errand of mercy, were fired into in a most cowardly manner while their schooner was aground and just after they had left your shore.

An apology was made by a person claiming to be an officer of the Third Mississippi Volunteers, but General Butler has ordered that the repetition of such or similar outrageous action be the signal for the destruction of your town.

I am directed, moreover, to inform you that all persons in citizens’ dress who visit the lines of the United States forces on this coast under a flag of truce will be detained if suspected. All such flags, to be respected, must be accompanied by a military officer in uniform and with proper credentials.

Respectfully, &c.,

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Ship Island, April 10, 1862.

The following-named regiments and corps will embark, commencing at - m., and in the following order:

On board ship Great Republic: Twenty-first Regiment Indiana Volunteers; Fourth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers; Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteers.

On board steamer Mississippi: Twenty-sixth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers; Thirty-first Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers; Brown’s sappers and miners; Everett’s battery.

On board steamer Matanzas: Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers; Second Vermont Battery.

On board ship North America: Thirtieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers; Read’s cavalry; Durivage’s cavalry; Manning’s battery.

On board ship E. Wilder Farley: Twelfth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.

The amount of provisions, baggage, &c., to be carried by the troops will be the same as heretofore designated in General Orders, No. 8, current series. No knapsack will be unslung during embarkation or disembarkation or on board a lighter in going to or from any transport.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.




SIR: I have the honor to report my safe arrival at Ship Island on the 21st of March, after a series of casualties set forth in my last report from Port Royal to the General commanding the Army, but from thence no further accident. For three days after my arrival a storm prevented a landing of either troops or stores. Upon consultation with Flag-Officer Farragut, I was informed by him that he would probably be able to move in seven days. Accordingly, by dint of most strenuous labor of my troops day and night, I had embarked and ready for embarkation 6,000 of my best men to support his operations-a force judged to be sufficient for the advance, to be at once supported by the remainder of {p.709} my disposable force. After waiting four days, with troops on shipboard, I learned from the flag-officer that the storms and low water at the bar had prevented his getting his ships into position. For sanitary reasons I disembarked the troops, and shall re-embark to-morrow, and shall sail for the Head of the Passes when I am informed that the Navy will be ready for operations.

I have pleasure in reporting the safe arrival of all the troops assigned to this department (the last regiment from the North, the Thirteenth Connecticut Volunteers, arriving last night), except Nuns’ battery, the only drilled corps of artillery given me, which has for some unexplained reason been detained at Fortress Monroe.

During my enforced delay by shipwreck, General Phelps had sent away both the Constitution and Fulton steamers, so that I am much crippled for transportation. But “where there is a will there is a way,” and I shall be able by means of sailing vessels under tow to make my way up the Mississippi, but for ulterior movements on the coast one at least of those steamers will be of the last necessity, as well as several light-draught steamers, for which I had made requisition upon the Quartermaster-General.

In the mean time I have sent a regiment and section of a battery, under the direction of Major Strong, my chief of staff; to co-operate with the Navy, to demand an apology for an insult to our flag of truce, sent on an errand of mercy, with a shipwrecked passenger, as well as to destroy the position of a regiment of the enemy at Pass Christian. This service was gallantly performed; the proper apology was made at Biloxi, the town surrendered into our hands, and the rebels at Pass Christian, an equal force, with four pieces of artillery, driven from their camp, which, with its material, was burned. No lives were lost, and only 2 of our men were wounded. I trust my next dispatch, by the first opportunity of sending by a mail steamer, will give account of larger and as successful operations.

I think it due to the good conduct of the brave men of that expedition to ask to have published the general order upon that subject inclosed.

I put myself in communication with General Arnold, and have no doubt, in conjunction with him, of the easy capture of both Mobile and Pensacola, were it not that I felt bound as well by my instructions as my own judgment not to hazard the success of the main object of the demonstration in the Gulf.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Ship Island, April 12, 1862.

The major-general commanding desires publicly to testify his admiration of the gallant courage and good conduct of the Ninth Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers, Colonel Cahill commanding, and a section of the Sixth Massachusetts Battery, under Captain Everett, in the recent expedition to Biloxi and Pass Christian, as exhibited by the report of the staff officer in command of that expedition.

Of their bravery in the field he felt assured, but another quality more trying to the soldier claims his admiration. After having been for months subjected to the privations necessarily incident to camp life {p.710} upon this island, these well-disciplined soldiers, although for many hours in full possession of two rebel villages, filled with what to them were most desirable luxuries, abstained from the least unauthorized interference with private property and all molestation of peaceful citizens.

This behavior is worthy of all praise. It robs war of half its horrors. It teaches our enemies how much they have been misinformed by their designing leaders as to the character of our soldiers and the intention of our Government. It gives them a lesson and an example in humanity and civilized warfare much needed, however little it may be followed.

The general commanding commends the action of the men of this expedition to every soldier in this department. Let it be imitated by all in the towns and cities we shall occupy-a living witness that the United States soldier fights only for the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Off the Passes, Mississippi Delta, April 17, 1862.


SIR: I have the honor to report that I am now off the passes with eight regiments and three batteries of artillery of my best troops, under command of Brigadier-Generals Phelps and Williams, ready to co-operate with the fleet, who move to-day or, as I believe, to-morrow upon Forts Saint Philip and Jackson. These are all for which I have possible means of transportation, owing to the circumstances stated in my dispatch of 13th instant, and all that I believe will be needed for the present emergency. You may think that we have delayed, but I beg to assure you that, with the storms and winds and the means at our disposal, we made every haste and are ready as soon as we are needed.

The health of the command is very good, and their equipments as to arms and provisions abundant. It was especially fortunate that I made so large a provision for coal, as I have been enabled to spare the Navy more than a thousand tons, without which they would have been very much embarrassed. I have taken the means to keep up my own supply, and now there will be enough for all for the present. Steamers are much needed of light draught.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.



Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

GENERAL: I have the honor to state for the information of the War Department that the relations between my command and the rebels have (to the extent of my knowledge) undergone very little change since my last report.

Their forts and batteries and the navy-yard opposite appear nearly as formidable as they did three months ago. The spirit, discipline, and {p.711} instruction of my troops have improved. I would have attacked the enemy before this if I had not been separated from him by a broad bay and having no naval co-operation nor water transportation for anything like an adequate force. I was in hopes that General Butler would have co-operated with me in attacking the rebels in their rear, by landing two regiments of infantry and a field battery on the Perdido and by furnishing me with a steam gunboat to attack them at or above Pensacola, thus making a joint attack; but unfortunately the necessities of the service prevented this, as a copy of General Butler’s letter, herewith inclosed, will explain.

The position of the enemy is a very strong one from fortuitous circumstances. Occupying two strong forts and a redoubt and a line of batteries for at least 3 miles and separated from us by a broad bay, and being within easy communication with Mobile and Montgomery by rail and telegraph, he can be re-enforced, and having but a small force to oppose him with, not a naval vessel to cooperate, nor water transportation to aid our land forces-such is and has been for two months past the military status in this department.

I inclose copies of correspondence between Flag-Officers Farragut and McKean and General Butler and myself on this subject.

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

L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.



Flag-Officer D. G. FARRAGUT, Commanding Gulf Squadron:

DEAR SIR: I have under my command on this island 1,200 volunteers and 600 regular soldiers, but I am perfectly helpless for offensive movements without naval co-operation, being on an island, and having no water transportation. If you can spare two or three gunboats to run in by the Swash Channel, they, together with the land force that I will furnish, can, I think, take Town Point, on Live Oak Plantation, which (as reported by some rebel deserters) was defended by five heavy guns behind sand batteries, supported by 2,000 men; but subsequent information, derived from runaway negroes leads me to believe that all the guns and men, except one 10-inch columbiad and 400 men, have been removed, probably to Mobile.

The rebels have, and will have, entire control of the bay and inner harbor as long as they hold this point and their line of forts and batteries; but if we can take this point, your gunboats can pass out of range of their heaviest guns-from Four Mile Point, on Santa Rosa Island, to Milton, on the main-land, which would enable you to capture or destroy all the rebel steamers and sail vessels in those waters, and more perfectly blockade the harbor of Pensacola.

Town Point is an initial and decisive point necessary to be taken in any future operations for the recapture of the navy-yard and their line of defensive works.

I am in hopes you will soon be here, when we can discuss the whole subject.

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

L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.



U. S. FLAG-SHIP HARTFORD, Mississippi River, Head of Passes, April 8, 1862.

Brig. Gen. ARNOLD, Commanding Fort Pickens, Fla.:

DEAR GENERAL: Nothing would give me more pleasure than to cooperate with you in your designs against Pensacola, but you must be aware that I am on the eve of attacking New Orleans, and my orders are such that I cannot look at any other place until I succeed or fail in this.

If I succeed, Pensacola comes in turn, but not the first; still I hope to be able to gratify your wishes soon.

Until then I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. G. FARRAGUT, Flag-Officer Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.


Brig. Gen. LEWIS G. ARNOLD, Commanding Department of Florida:

GENERAL: I regret that we are unable to co-operate with you at present in the capture of Pensacola, as the presence of my troops and transports is necessary, as soon as possible, in the Mississippi River.

Should you not have taken that place before my return hither I shall take pleasure in sending you any assistance that may be necessary, and I trust you will not fail to call upon me at all times for any aid I can render you.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.


Maj. Gen. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of the Gulf, Ship Island:

GENERAL: I have just received your note of the 10th instant. I regret that the “fortune of war” will not permit you to co-operate with me in the taking of Pensacola, &c., at this time, for I am convinced that if the co-operation suggested by your assistant adjutant-general could have been afforded me the expedition would have been entirely successful; and so hopeful was I, that my orders have been issued and arrangements made with that view.

I must thank you for the patriotic and soldierly tender of your aid and co-operation at any future time, as expressed in the closing paragraph of your note, and I take this occasion to reciprocate the same kind and delicate sentiments, by offering you anything that you may require within my limited command that will benefit the public service.

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

L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.



Flag-Officer W. W. MCKEAN, Commanding Eastern Division U. S. Gulf Squadron:

DEAR SIR: Our recent victories in Tennessee, North Carolina, &c., having caused the rebels to remove the most of their best troops from the {p.713} navy-yard and their whole defensive line from Fort McRee to Pensacola, I am confident (although they apparently present a bold front as respects their forts and batteries) that if you will co-operate with me, by furnishing one or two gunboats, I can land a sufficient force, with your aid, to retake Pensacola, the navy-yard, and their entire line of forts and batteries. Moreover, you can capture four of their steamers and several schooners.

I have under my command from 1,800 to 2,000 available troops on this island, but I am perfectly helpless for any offensive movement off the island without naval co-operation and water transportation.

Flag-Officer Farragut writes to me that he cannot assist me against Pensacola till he has taken New Orleans. Then the opportune moment may have passed.

I am in hopes you will come here immediately and bring one or two gunboats, for I would be most happy to co-operate with Flag-Officer McKean.

The Navy has not a single vessel off Pensacola Harbor.

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

L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Steamer Mississippi, April 24, 1862.

Flag-Officer FARRAGUT, Commanding Western Gulf Squadron:

SIR: Allow me to congratulate you and your command upon the bold, daring, brilliant, and successful passage of the forts by your fleet this morning. A more gallant exploit it has never fallen to the lot of man to witness.

Captain Porter, with whom I have had a conference, agrees that it was best we should at once proceed to carry out the plan agreed upon by yourself and me, to wit, that I should immediately land troops to co-operate with you at the quarantine station and so hem in the forts.

When I left the mortar fleet, at about 8 o’clock this morning, the rebel flag was still flying upon the forts; the ram had floated down on fire and was consumed; another rebel steamer was burning. A signal had been made to cease firing by Captain Porter; the Portsmouth had returned to her anchorage unhurt; the Winona had been badly Crippled, a shot through her boilers and several in her hull, making water fast; the Itasca had been badly used, but had lost no men, and was in an effective condition-all other men unhurt save trifling casualties; the Harriet Lane had but one killed and wounded, beside, in all, so far as I could learn.

Captain Porter will forward you ammunition and supplies through the quarantine station should you desire. I will be able to aid you from the same point immediately. Please send directions as to your wishes by the bearer or otherwise.

I scud this by Captain Conant, of the Thirty-first Massachusetts Regiment, who goes to communicate with you. He is the gentleman of whom I spoke to you as having made a reconnaissance in the rear of Lieutenant Philips night before last. He knows the contents of this dispatch, for fear of accident, and may be most implicitly relied upon and trusted. I hope he may be able to report to me off Point Salle, when I will immediately communicate with Captain Porter. If in danger, Captain Conant has {p.714} been ordered to destroy this and remember its contents, and will do the same with any dispatches you may give him.

If you design proceeding up the river, will you leave, say, two gun boats at the quarantine station to protect our landing?

Respectfully, yours,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Head of Mississippi Passes, April 24, 1862.

The transports Mississippi, Matanzas, Lewis, Saxon, and Great Republic, with all the troops now on board, will proceed, under convoy of U. S. steamers Miami and Sachem, and without delay, to Sable Island, with a view to reaching quarantine station in rear of Fort St. Philip. All of the above-named troops will be under the command of Brigadier-General Williams until further orders.

II. Brigadier-General Phelps will remain in command of all the troops on board transport ships North America and E. W. Farley, and hold himself in readiness to occupy the forts as soon as they shall have been reduced.

By order of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Off Fort Saint Philip, on Gulf Side, April 26, 1862.

Actg. Brig. Gen. GEORGE F. SHEPLEY, General, Commanding at Ship Island:

GENERAL: The fleet passed by the forts on the morning of the 24th instant with but little loss, leaving the mortar fleet and a few gunboats below, without reducing the forts. They have substantially cleared the river of boats above the forts, but have left the ram and two rebel boats under the cover of the forts. These are proving troublesome to the remnant of our fleet below in the river.

The flag-officer has gone up with twelve vessels of his fleet to New Orleans, leaving us to reduce the forts.

I am endeavoring to effect a landing on the Gulf side, at the quarantine grounds. I am sadly in want of means of light transportation.

The Lewis is broken down for want of coal. She very foolishly came away with only five days’ coal, having lain alongside the Idaho while mending her smoke-stacks without taking any. I must have soft coal. I suppose the coal, or a large portion of it, from the Idaho is now in a schooner. If so, send her at once, either under tow of the Saxon or under sail, or both, but send the coal at all events; make every possible dispatch. Send also all the light draught schooners you have there not drawing more than 4 feet, say four; the little one I used to have, the Gipsey, if repaired, and all the boats possible; all are needed at once. Have the Parliament ready to sail at a moment’s notice, with everything on board for thirty days’ provision for us, with plenty of rice. Send fresh meat if any has arrived. Do not send the Parliament until further orders. You may send beef at once.


If the Washington or Butler has a large quantity of lumber on board, send her at once. Dispatch is of the first moment. If you have a light-draught steamer, send her by all means. The devil is in the Saxon and he is trying to break her down. Have her sent down here under sail if she does break down, so that I may get the Government property out of her.

Very respectfully, &c.,

BENJ F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.

Send on board one of the schooners a large supply of medical and surgical stores suitable for wounded men.

No great haste required as regards this.

By order:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA, Fort Pickens, Fla., April 28, 1862.

Brig. Gen. M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I feel it my duty to report to you (that the evil complained of may be remedied as soon as possible) the great injustice that has been done my command, about 2,000 strong, by being located on an island without having suitable boats to transport at one time 100 men off of it for any offensive movement against the enemy, and without a steamer or sail vessel belonging to the Quartermaster’s Department at my control to keep open communications with the army stationed at other points in the Gulf, to convey or bring any intelligence of the movements of our own troops or of the rebels, to tow flats loaded with troops and munitions for any military operation of this island. A requisition was made by my order on your department in February last for a steamer of 200 or 300 tons burden, as a dispatch boat, twelve surf-boats, 30 feet long, and 100 oars to which no reply has yet been received.

The condition of military affairs within the limits of my command for the past two months can be summed up in brief as follows: 2,000 men have been stationed on an island without sufficient or suitable means to get off of it, with scarcely enough surf-boats, &c., to land stores for the command, without a steamer or sail vessel belonging to the Quartermaster’s Department to communicate with other posts in the Gulf, receiving a mail about once a month or six weeks, and, I will add, almost abandoned by the Navy, as no vessel of war has been off this harbor for the major part of that time; this notwithstanding I have applied to Flag-Officer Farragut and McKean to co-operate with me in attacking the rebels opposite. They were compelled to decline for the time being, as they were employing every available vessel in their squadrons in the grand attack on New Orleans and in blockading.

I have been thus particular in stating the condition of things here to impress you with the importance and necessity of immediately furnishing my chief quartermaster with the boats, &c., called for in the requisition referred to.

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

L. G. ARNOLD, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.



HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Quarantine Station, La., April 30, 1862.

Col. E. F. JONES, Twenty-sixth Mass. Volunteers, U. S. Army, Commanding Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, La.:

SIR: You will, as soon as possible, place Forts Jackson and Saint Philip in a proper state of police and defense.

In addition to the general regulations of the Army relating to the care of fortifications and their armament, you will be guided by the following instructions:

At both works all frame buildings and everything combustible must at once be removed to the outside of the main work or be placed under bomb-proof cover; the ammunition, carefully assorted, placed in the magazine nearest to the batteries to which such ammunition belongs, and the magazine kept well ventilated, dry, and bomb-proof. The serviceable guns left at the works will be arranged in position mostly for up-river defense. All the provisions will be carefully stored in as dry places as possible. Temporary bridges will be constructed only at the main entrance. The damage to the earthwork at Fort Jackson will be repaired as much as possible. The ruins of the citadel will be removed to the outside of the work, and the material used for walks wherever necessary. Colonel Jones will establish a strict quarantine at this station, allow no vessel to pass (save ships of war of the United States) until the strictest surgical examination, and with a clean bill of health. No communication will be had with vessels by any person of his command without his express order and after the examination of the surgeon.

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, commanding.



Brigadier-General SHEPLEY, Ship Island:

GENERAL: I send you the Tennessee for a transport. You will at once take so many troops as she can carry and proceed to Fort Saint Philip, there delivering the camp equipage of Colonel Jones, and then proceed to New Orleans, or wherever I may be, and report to me. I want three regiments-Eighth Vermont, Twelfth Maine, and Thirteenth Connecticut. Leave the ablest colonel you have in charge at the island. Have provisions for us all for thirty days. I send Quartermaster Monroe for all the camp equipage of the regiments here and reasonable baggage. Send all baggage and horses for self and staff, so far as they have distinctive horses. If any accommodation, bring Mrs. Butler with you; if not, take the Saxon. I send the Great Republic for horses, all she can take, and Thompson’s battery, with ammunition. She can take one of the regiments. Do not put her below 15 feet, or 6 inches more, if possible; she cannot get over the bar. Get a tow for her.

Organize a number of men, say 250, with provisions for sixty days, and a competent commander, to take possession of Fort Wood. Lieutenant Reed, in the naval force at the island, will convey the expedition. I have very direct information from thence of the evacuation, but not official. Send Geo. Washington or some other ship with forage sufficient {p.717} for present need at least, and as much as possible. Bring an invoice of the supplies at Ship Island, and take all the unissued clothing not absolutely needed at the island. Let the brig Yankee Blade sail at once, without unloading; bring her invoice. Let the postmaster transfer himself to near New Orleans.

Everything is so far successful and everything requires dispatch.

2 P. M.

I am now at the passes. I find the Great Republic ashore there, hors de combat. I am tired of waiting for her any longer. Take the Ocean Pearl, or any other ship that does not draw more than 15 feet, for the horses; use your own discretion; the river is now open and free.

I am, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.


Abstract from return of the Western District, Department of the South, Brig. Gen. Lewis G. Arnold, U. S. Army, commanding, for April, 1862.

Garrisons.Troops..Present for duty.Aggregate present.
Santa Rosa Island, Fla.:
Fort PickensDetachments 1st and 2d Artillery and 3d Infantry18527640
Camp Lincoln6th New York Infantry22449676
Camp Seward75th New York Infantry26655803
Total66 1,6312,119



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 1, 1862.

I. In anticipation of the immediate disembarkation of the troops of this command, and the temptations and inducements of a large city, all plundering of public or private property, by any person or persons, is hereby forbidden, under the severest penalties.

II. No officer or soldier will absent himself from his station without arms or alone under any pretext whatever.

III. The commanders of regiments and companies will be held responsible for the strict execution of these orders and that the offenders are brought to punishment.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.




The city of New Orleans and its environs, with all its interior and exterior defenses, having been surrendered to the combined naval and land {p.718} forces of the United States, and having been evacuated by the rebel forces in whose possession they lately were, and being now in occupation of the forces of the United States, who have come to restore order, maintain public tranquillity, enforce peace and quiet under the laws and Constitution of the United States, the major-general commanding the forces of the United States in the Department of the Gulf hereby makes known and proclaims the object and purposes of the Government of the United States in thus taking possession of the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, and the rules and regulations by which the laws of the United States will be for the present and during a state of war enforced and maintained, for the plain guidance of all good citizens of the United States, as well as others who may heretofore have been in rebellion against their authority.

Thrice before has the city of New Orleans been rescued from the hand of a foreign government, and still more calamitous domestic insurrection, by the money and arms of the United States. It has of late been under the military control of the rebel forces, claiming to be the peculiar friends of its citizens; and at each time, in the judgment of the commander of the military forces holding it, it has been found necessary to preserve order and maintain quiet by the administration of law martial. Even during the interim from its evacuation by the rebel soldiers and its actual possession by the soldiers of the United States, the civil authorities of the city have found it necessary to call for the intervention of an armed body known as the European Legion, to preserve public tranquillity. The commanding general, therefore, will cause the city to be governed, until the restoration of municipal authority and his further orders, by the law martial, a measure for which it would seem the previous recital furnishes sufficient precedents.

All persons in arms against the United States are required to surrender themselves, with their arms, equipments, and munitions of war. The body known as the European Legion, not being understood to be in arms against the United States, but organized to protect the lives and property of the citizens, are invited still to co-operate with the forces of the United States to that end, and, so acting, will not be included in the terms of this order, but will report to these headquarters.

All flags, ensigns, and devices tending to uphold any authority whatever, save the flag of the United States and the flags of foreign consulates, must not be exhibited, but suppressed. The American ensign, the emblem of the United States, must be treated with the utmost deference and respect by all persons, under pain of severe punishment.

All persons well disposed towards the Government of the United States who shall renew their oath of allegiance will receive the safeguard and protection, in their persons and property, of the armies of the United States, the violation of which by any person is punishable with death. All persons still holding allegiance to the Confederate States will be deemed rebels against the Government of the United States, and regarded and treated as enemies thereof.

All foreigners not naturalized and claiming allegiance to their respective governments, and not having made oath of allegiance to the supposed Government of the Confederate States, will be protected in their persons and property as heretofore under the laws of the United States.

All persons who may heretofore have given their adherence to the supposed Government of the Confederate States or have been in their service, who shall lay down and deliver up their arms and return to peaceful occupations and preserve quiet and order, holding no further correspondence nor giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United {p.719} States, will not be disturbed either in person or property, except so far, under the orders of the commanding general, as the exigencies of the public service may render necessary.

The keepers of all public property, whether State, National, or Confederate, such as collections of art, libraries, museums, as well as public buildings, all munitions of war, and armed vessels, will at once make full returns thereof to these headquarters. All manufacturers of arms and munitions of war will report to these headquarters their kind and places of business.

All rights of property, of whatever kind, will be held inviolate, subject only to the laws of the United States.

All inhabitants are enjoined to pursue their usual avocations; all shops and places of business are to be kept open in the accustomed manner, and services to be had in the churches and religious houses as in times of profound peace.

Keepers of all public houses, coffee houses, and drinking saloons are to report their names and numbers to the office of the provost-marshal; will there receive license, and be held responsible for all disorders and disturbance of the peace arising in their respective places.

A sufficient force will be kept in the city to preserve order and maintain the laws.

The killing of an American soldier by any disorderly person or mob is simply assassination and murder and not war, and will be so regarded and punished. The owner of any house or building in or from which such murder shall be committed will be held responsible therefor, and the house will be liable to be destroyed by the military authority.

All disorders and disturbances of the peace, done by combinations and numbers and crimes of an aggravated nature, interfering with the forces or laws of the United States, will be referred to a military court for trial and punishment; other misdemeanors will be subject to the municipal authority, if it chooses to act. Civil causes between party and party will be referred to the ordinary tribunals. The levy and collection of all taxes, save those imposed by the laws of the United States, are suppressed, except those for keeping in repair and lighting the streets and for sanitary purposes. Those are to be collected in the usual manner.

The circulation of Confederate bonds, evidences of debt, except notes in the similitude of bank notes issued by the Confederate States, or scrip, or any trade in the same, is strictly forbidden. It having been represented to the commanding general by the city authorities that these Confederate notes in the form of bank notes are in a great measure the only substitute for money which the people have been allowed to have, and that great distress would ensue among the poorer classes if the circulation of such notes were suppressed, such circulation will be permitted so long as any one may be inconsiderate enough to receive them till further orders.

No publication, either by newspaper, pamphlet, or handbill, giving accounts of the movement of soldiers of the United States within this department, reflecting in any way upon the United States or its officers, or tending in any way to influence the public mind against the Government of the United States, will be permitted, and all articles of war news, or editorial comments or correspondence making comments upon the movement of the armies of the United States or the rebels, must be submitted to the examination of an officer who will be detailed for that purpose from these headquarters. The transmission of all communications by telegraph will be under charge of an officer from these headquarters.


The armies of the United States came here not to destroy but to make good, to restore order out of chaos, and the government of laws in place of the passions of men; to this end, therefore, the efforts of all well-disposed persons are invited to have every species of disorder quelled; and if any soldier of the United States should so far forget his duty or his flag as to commit any outrage upon any person or property, the commanding general requests that his name be instantly reported to the provost guard, so that he may be punished and his wrongful act redressed.

The municipal authority, so far as the police of the city and crimes are concerned, to the extent before indicated, is hereby suspended.

All assemblages of persons in the street, either by day or night, tend to disorder, and are forbidden.

The various companies composing the fire department in New Orleans will be permitted to retain their organizations, and are to report to the office of the provost-marshal, so that they may be known and not interfered with in their duties.

And, finally, it may be sufficient to add, without further enumeration, that all the requirements of martial law will be imposed so long as, in the judgment of the United States authorities, it may be necessary. And while it is the desire of these authorities to exercise this government mildly and after the usages of the past, it must not be supposed that it will not be vigorously and firmly administered as occasion calls.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 3, 1862.

The commanding general of this department has been informed that there is now at Mobile a stock of flour, purchased by the city of New Orleans for the subsistence of its citizens. The suffering condition of the poor of this city for the want of this flour appeals to the humanity of those having authority on either side.

For the purpose of the safe transmission of this flour to this city the commanding general orders and directs that a safe-conduct be afforded to a steamboat to be laden with the same to this place. This safe-conduct shall extend to the entire protection of this boat in coming, reasonable delay for discharge, and return to Mobile. The boat will take no passengers save the owners and keepers of the flour, and will be subject to the strict inspection of the harbor master detailed from these headquarters, to whom its master will report its arrival.

The faith of the city is pledged for the faithful performance of the requirements of this order on the part of the agent of the city authorities, who will be allowed to pass each way with the boat, he giving no intelligence or aid to Confederates.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 3, 1862.

The president, directors, &c., of the Opelousas Railroad are authorized and required to run their cars over the road for the purpose of {p.721} bringing to the city of New Orleans provisions, marketing, and supplies of food which may be offered in order to supply the wants of the city.

No passengers, other than those having the care of such supplies as owners or keepers, are to be permitted to come into the city and none others are to leave the city. All other supplies are prohibited transportation over the road either way, except cotton and sugar, which may be safely brought over the road, and will be purchased at the fair market value by the United States in specie. The transmission of live stock is especially enjoined. An agent of the city government will be allowed to pass over the road either way, stopping at all points, on the faith of a pledge of such government agent that he transmits no intelligence and affords no aid to the Confederates.

The officer commanding the post having the terminus of such road within his pickets will cause a thorough inspection of the cars and boats for the purpose of furthering this order, and will offer no further hinderance, so long as this order is in good faith complied with.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 4, 1862.

The commanding general of the Department of the Gulf has been informed that live stock, flour, and provisions, purchased for subsistence of the inhabitants of the city of New Orleans, are now at the junction of the Red and Mississippi Rivers. The suffering condition of the poor of the city for want of these supplies appeals to the humanity of those having authority on either side. For the purpose, therefore, of the safe transmission of these supplies to the city, the commanding general orders and directs that a safe-conduct be afforded for two steamers, to be laden with provisions, cattle, and supplies of food, either alive or slaughtered, each day, if so many choose to come.

This safe-conduct shall extend to their entire protection by the forces of the United States during their coming, reasonable delay for discharge not exceeding six days, unless in case of accident to their machinery, and in returning to or near the junction of the Red and Mississippi Rivers.

And safe-conduct is further granted to boats laden as beforesaid with provisions for New Orleans from any point above the junction of such rivers, if at any time during which these supplies are needed the forces of the United States should be at or above said junction.

The boats will take no passengers save the owners and keepers of the freight aforesaid, and will be subject to strict inspection by the harbor master detailed from these headquarters, to whom they will report their arrival.

The faith of the city is pledged for the faithful execution of the requirements of this order on the part of the agent of the city authorities, who will be allowed to pass the boats either way, he giving no intelligence or aid to the Confederates.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff. {p.722}


HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 4, 1862.

The commanding general of the department having been informed that rebellious, lying, and desperate men have represented, and are now representing, to honest planters and good people of the State of Louisiana that the United States Government, by its forces, have come here to confiscate and destroy their crops of cotton and sugar, it is hereby ordered to be made known, by publication in all the newspapers of this city, that all cargoes of cotton and sugar shall receive the safe conduct of the forces of the United States; and the boats bringing them from beyond the lines of the United States forces may be allowed to return in safety, after a reasonable delay, if their owners so desire, provided they bring no passengers except the owners and managers of said boat and of the property so conveyed, and no other merchandise except provisions, of which such boats are requested to bring a full supply for the benefit of the poor of this city.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 6, 1862.

A military commission, of not less than five commissioned officers of and above the rank of captain, with a recorder and legal adviser, is constituted and appointed, for the trial of all high crimes and misdemeanors which by the laws of any State in the Union, or the United States, or the laws martial, are punishable with death or imprisonment for a long term of years.

The sentence of such courts will be assimilated to those provided by such laws, due regard being had to the necessity of severity and for prompt punishment incident to the crimes and disorders arising from a state of war.

The commission will sit at all convenient hours for the dispatch of business, will be attended by the provost-marshal or his assistants, all its orders respected and obeyed, and its summonses complied with.

As the motives of men make so largely the element of the crimes cognizable by this commission, the rules of evidence of the English common law may be so far relaxed as to allow the accused to be questioned in presence of the commission, always leaving it to his free choice to respond or not to the questions proposed.

The accusation will be substantially in the form used in courts-martial, excepting that it should fully set forth a description of the accused, his residence and business, whether or not he has been a loyal citizen, his antecedents, character, and acts in that regard, so far as known, which portion of the accusation may be put in controversy at the trials, provided the accused be not a soldier of the United States.

All proceedings, findings, and sentences of this commission are to be subjected to the approval of the commanding general, and will be carried into effect upon his order.

The following-named officers are detailed for and will constitute such commission:

1. Col. Henry C. Deming, Twelfth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.

2. Col. N. A. M. Dudley, Thirtieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.


3. Lieut. Col. C. M. Whelden, Thirty-first Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

4. Maj. F. A. Boardman, Fourth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers.

5. Capt. Peter Haggerty, aide-de-camp.

Maj. J. M. Bell, volunteer aide-de-camp, recorder and legal adviser.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Acting Chief of Staff.



WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State:

MY DEAR SIR: I write this note simply as a remembrance of your kindness and support to the expedition which has accomplished such fortunate results.

I find that the British consul here has complicated himself and his fellow-countrymen with the rebels in every form. The precise contrary course, I believe, has been taken by the French consul. The British Guard, now all claiming protection as British subjects, having organized themselves into a company on the night of the occupation of the city by our troops, voted to send their arms and uniforms to Beauregard, and a portion of them were sent.

For this violation of neutrality I have ordered every man who cannot produce his arms and uniform to leave the city in twenty-four hours.

Allow me to suggest for your consideration whether the port of New Orleans might now be opened.

Most truly, your friend,




Brigadier-General PHELPS:

SIR: I am directed by the major-general commanding the department to ask if you have seized the Carrollton and Lake Railroad; if you have not, that he desires it to be done, and that pickets be thrown out the shore of the lake, so that schooners and other means are not used to carry or send people away in that direction.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. HAGGERTY, Captain and Aide-de-Camp.



To the Mayor and Common Council of the City of New Orleans:

MESSRS.: I desire to call your attention to the sanitary condition of your streets. Having assumed, by the choice of your fellow-citizens and the permission of the United States authorities, the care of the city of New Orleans in this behalf that trust must be faithfully administered. Resolutions and inaction will not do. Active, energetic measures, fully and promptly executed, are imperatively demanded by the exigencies of the occasion. Specially the present suspension of labor furnishes ample {p.724} supplies of starving men who can be profitably employed to this end. A little of the labor and effort spent upon the streets and public squares which was uselessly and inanely wasted upon idle fortifications, like that about the United States mint, will place the city in a condition to insure the health of its inhabitants. It will not do to shift the responsibility from yourselves to the street commissioners, from them to the contractors, and then to the sub-contractors through all the grades of civic idleness and neglect of duty.

Three days since I called the attention of Mr. Mayor to this subject, and nothing has been done.


BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 10, 1862.

Acting Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, Colonel Twelfth Maine Volunteers, is hereby appointed military commandant of New Orleans.

All officers on duty in this city or in Algiers, except officers of the division staff; will report to him.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, May 9, 1862.

The deplorable state of destitution and hunger of the mechanics and working classes of this city has been brought to the knowledge of the commanding general. He has yielded to every suggestion made by the city government, and ordered every method of furnishing food to the people of New Orleans that government desired. No relief by those officials has yet been afforded. This hunger does not pinch the wealthy and influential, the leaders of the rebellion, who have gotten up this war, and are now endeavoring to prosecute it without regard to the starving poor, the workingman, his wife and child. Unmindful of their suffering fellow-citizens at home, they have caused or suffered provisions to be carried out of the city for Confederate service since the occupation by the United States forces.

Lafayette Square, their home of affluence, was made the depot of stores and munitions of war for the rebel armies, and not of provisions for their poor neighbors. Striking with the vile, the gambler, the idler, and the ruffian, they have destroyed the sugar and cotton which might have been exchanged for food for the industrious and good, and regrated the price of that which is left by discrediting the very currency they had furnished while they eloped with the specie; as well that stolen from the United States as the banks, the property of the good people of New Orleans, thus leaving them to ruin and starvation. Fugitives from justice many of them, and others their associates, staying because too puerile and insignificant to be objects of punishments by the clement Government of the United States. They have betrayed their country; they have been false to every trust; they have shown themselves incapable {p.725} of defending the State they had seized upon, although they have forced every poor man’s child into their service as soldiers for that purpose, while they made their sons and nephews officers.

They cannot protect those whom they have ruined, but have left them to the mercies and assassinations of a chronic mob. They will not feed those whom they are starving. Mostly without property themselves, they have plundered, stolen, and destroyed the means of those who had property, leaving children penniless and old age hopeless.

Men of Louisiana, workingmen, property-holders, merchants, and citizens of the United States, of whatever nation you may have had birth, how long will you uphold these flagrant wrongs, and by inaction suffer yourselves to be made the serfs of these leaders?

The United States have sent land and naval forces here to fight and subdue rebellious armies in array against her authority. We find substantially only fugitive masses, runaway property-burners, a whisky-drinking mob, and starving citizens, with their wives and children. It is our duty to call back the first, to punish the second, root out the third, feed and protect the last.

Ready only for war, we had not prepared ourselves to feed the hungry and relieve the distressed with provisions. But to the extent possible within the power of the commanding general it shall be done.

He has captured a quantity of beef and sugar intended for the rebels in the field A thousand barrels of these stores will be distributed among the deserving poor of this city, from whom the rebels had plundered it, even although some of the food will go to supply the craving wants of the wives and children of those now herding at Camp Moore and elsewhere in arms against the United States.

Capt. John Clark, acting chief commissary of subsistence, will be charged with the execution of this order, and will give public notice of the place and manner of distribution, which will be arranged as far as possible so that the unworthy and dissolute will not share its benefits.

By command of Major-General Butler:

GEO. C. STRONG, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.


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.