CAMP PARAPET, June 15, 1862.
General J. W. PHELPS:
SIR: In addition to the regular "post-guard report" of this date, returned to your headquarters, I beg leave to call your attention to the large and constantly increasing number of blacks who have congregated near the upper picket station on the river road. I learn that twenty-four hours ago they numbered about 75. The officer of the guard reports to me this morning that the number has increased to 150 or more. The first instalment was sent by a man named Labanche, from the other side of river, in boats, on the night of the 13th, he giving them the choice, according to their statement, of leaving before sundown or receiving fifty lashes each. Many of these desire to return to their master, but are prevented by fear of harsh treatment. They are of all ages and physical condition, a number of infants in arms, many young children, robust men and women, and a large number of lane, old, and infirm of both sexes. The rest of them came in singly and in small parties from various points up the river within a hundred miles. They brought with the boxes, bedding, and luggage of all sorts, which lie strewn upon the levee and the open space around the picket. The women and children, and some feeble ones who needed shatter, were permitted to occupy a deserted house just outside the lines. They are quite destitute of provisions, many having easter nothing for days except what our soldiers have given them from their own rations. In accordance with orders already issued the guard was instructed to permit none of them to enter the lines. As each officer of the day will be called upon successively to deal with the matter, I take the liberty to suggest whether some further regulation in reference to these unfortunate persons is not necessary to enable him to do his duty intelligently, as well as for the very apparent additional reasons that the congregation of such large numbers in our immediate vicinity affords inviting opportunities for mischief of ourselves, and also that unless supplied with the means of sustaining life d by the benevolence of the military authorities or of the citizens (which is scarcely supposable) they must shortly be reduced to suffering and starvation in the very sight of the overflowing store-houses of the Government.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
FRANK H. PECK,
Major, Twelfth Regt. Conn. Vols. Field Officer of the Day.
[JUNE 19, 1862.-For Butler to Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting funds from the New Orleans banks, see Series III, Vol. II.]
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, No. 42.
New Olreans, June 19, 1862.
The commanding general das received information that certain of the foreign residents in this department, notwithstanding the explanations of the terms of the oath prescribed in General Orders, No. 41, contained in his reply to the foreign consuls, have still scruples about taking that oath. Anxious to relieve the consciences of all who honestly entertain