War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0485 Chapter XXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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no such language contained in the letter of Lieutenant Commanding Nichols, or even any from which such inference might be drawn, still I shall meet your general remark on your own terms. You say you locate your batteries at such points on the river as are deemed best suited, &c., without reference to the people of the town, and claim no immunity for your troops. Now, therefore, the violation is with you. You choose your own time and place for the attack upon our defenseless people, and should therefore see that the innocent and defenseless of your own people are out of the way before you make the attack; for rest assured that the fire will be returned, and we will not hold ourselves answerable for the death of the innocent. If we have ever fired upon your "women and children" it was done here at Baton Rouge, where an attempt was made to kill one of our officers landing in a small boat manned with four boys. They were, when in the act of landing, mostly wounded by the fire of some 30 or 40 horsemen, who chivalrously galloped out of the town, leaving the women and children to bear the brunt of our vengeance. At Grand Gulf also our children to bear the brunt of our vengeance. At Grand Gulf also our transports were fired upon in passing, which caused the place to be shelled-with what effect I know not; but I do know that he fate of a town is at all times in the hands of the military commandant who may at pleasure draw the enemy's fire upon it, and the community be made to suffer for the act of its military.

The only instance I have known where the language of your letter could possibly apply took place at New Orleans on the day we passed up in front of the city, while it was still in your possession, by your soldiers firing on the crowd. It rust, however, that the time is past when women and children will be subjected by their military men to the horrors of war; it is enough for them to be subjected to the incidental inconveniences, privations, and sufferings. If any such things have occurred as the slaying of women and children or indecent people I feel well assured that it was caused by the act of your military and much against the will of our officers; for, as Lieutenant Commanding Nichols informs the mayor, we war not against defenseless persons, but against those in open rebellion against our country, and desire to limit our punishment to them, though it may not always be in our power to do so.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Flag-Officer, Comdg. Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.



Secretary of War:

SIR: Since my last dispatch was written I have received the accompanying report from General Phelps. It is not my duty to enter into a discussion of the question which it presents. I desire, however, to state the information of Mr. Lablanche, given me by his friends and neighbors, and also gathered from Jack Lablanche, his slave, who seems to be leader of this party of negroes. Mr. Lablanche I have not seen; he, however, claims to be loyal and to have taken no part in the war, but to have been quietly on his plantation, some 12 miles above New Orleans, on the opposite side of the river. He has a son in the secession army, whose uniform and equipments, &c., are the "symbols