What I would recommend is, that I be allowed to raise here, and have the equipment here of, or have sent me, a force large enough to hold by armed occupation every of the slightest importance, with a supporting force that could not be overcome, and this part of the country made to pay the expenses of such occupation. A few months under that regime would reduce this people to order and assure the Union men that they were not to be given up to rapine and murder in a few days by the retirement of our troops.
In the present frame of mind, under the pressure of the order of General Lovell and the Confederate Government (an official copy whereof I inclose, marked H) to burn all the cotton and sugar, such burning will take place in advance of my march wherever I may move, entailing great destruction of property upon its innocent owners, who with tears in their eyes entreated me not to advance into certain sections of the country lest their property should be burned.
As an instance of recklessness of their troops in arms take the following: The river has been unusually high an a crevasse opening at certain points would do an immensity of damage. A party of 40 rebels surprised the train on the Opelousas Railroad, ran down to within 13 miles of the city on the opposite bank of the river, and there deliberately cut the levee in six different places. If their design had been carried out they would have droned out every plantation between New Orleans and Fort Jackson for 70 miles, but not injured the United States. All this was done because the planters were supposed to favor us. Prompt measures were taken by me to prevent the injury before it became irreparable, which were successful.
I also inclose a report made me by Lieutenant Weitzel, of the Engineers, to which I desire attention, so that some measure may be taken to secure certain co-operation by all the officers of the navy in the defenses of New Orleans, which I have always received from Flag-Officer Farragut when he is present.
I have read Commander Porter's official report of the surrender of the forts, and here permit me, for the sake of my brave and enduring soldiers of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts and Fourth Wisconsin Regiments, who waded in the swamps in the rear of Fort Saint Philip up to their arm opts in water in order to cut off its garrison and get ready to assault the enemy's works, to put the truth of history right before the War department and the country by the simple enumeration of the fact that it was due to their efforts and that of their comrades, and to those alone, that Forts Jackson and Saint Philip surrendered when they did. No naval vessel or one of the mortar fleet had fired a shot at the forts for three days before the surrender and not one of the mortar boats was within 25 miles at that time, they having sailed out of the river from prudent consideration of the prowess of the ram Louisiana, which was supposed to be "lively' near the forts. A majority of the garrison of Fort Jackson had surrendered to my pickets the night before the officers made a surrender to Commander Porter and obtained from him better terms than has been or ought to be given during the war to a rebel officer or soldier, and under those terms the rebel General Duncan claims a right to be and is in the army of Beauregard, giving "aid and comfort," and only holding himself "not to serve in arms," which are the terms of his parole. I send a copy of the terms of capitulation. I do not wish to take from the well-earned and well-deserved consideration due to the Navy for their brilliant exploit in running past Forts Saint Philip and Jackson. I have borne and shall ever bear testimony to their courage and gallantry on that occasion,
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