of secession" of which General Phelps speaks. Mr. Lablanche's house was searched by the order of General Phelps for arms and contraband of war, and his neighbors say that his negroes were told that they were free if they would come to the general's camp; that thereupon the negroes, under the lead of Jack, determined to leave, and for that purpose crowder into a small boat, which from overloading was in danger of swamping. Lablanche then told negroes that if they were determined to go they would be drowned in that boat, and he would hire them a large boat to put them across the river, and that they might have their furniture if they would go and leave his plantation and crops to ruin. They decided to go, and Lablanche did all a man could to make going safe. The account of General Phelps is the negro side of the story; that above given is the story of Mr. Lablanche's neighbors, some of whom I know to be oleyl man. An order against being allowed in camp is the reason that they are outside. Mr. Lablanche is represented to be a humane man, and did not consent to the exodus of his negroes. General Phelps, I believe, intends making this a test case for the policy of the Government so long as I hold its commission, and I understand that policy to be the one I am pursuing. I do not feel at liberty to pursue any other. If the policy of the Government is nearly that I sketched in my report upon this subject as that which I had ordered in this department, then the services of General Phelps are worse than useless here. If the views set forth in his report are to obtain, then he is invaluable, for his whole soul is in it, and he is a good soldier, of large experience, and no braver man lives. I beg to leave the whole question with the President, with perhaps the needless assurance that his wishes shall be loyally followed even if not in accordance with my own, as I have now no right to have any upon the subject. I write in haste, as the steamer Mississippi is waiting this dispatch.
A waiting the earliest possible instructions, I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
CAMP PARAPET, Near Carrollton, La., June 16, 1862.
Captain R. S. DAVIS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, New Orleans, La.:
SIR: I inclosure herewith, for the the information of the major-general commanding the department, a report of Major Peck, officer of the day, concerning a large number of negroes of both sexes and all ages who are lying near our pickets with bag and baggage as if they had already commenced an exodus. Many of these negroes have been sent away from one of the neighboring sugar plantations by their owner, a Mr. Babbillard Lablanche, who tells them, I am informed, that the "Yankees are king here now, and that they must go to their king for food and shatter." They are of that four millions of our colored subjects who have no chief of king, nor in fact government, that can secure to them the simplest natural rights. They cannot even be entered into treaty stipulation with and deported to the East, as our Indian tribes have been