War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0508 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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The enemy needs river steamboats to transport his troops on their plundering expeditions along the Mississippi, and he seizes all that lie within his reach. He searches for them in bayous seldom navigated, and by the aid of traitorous informers he has succeeded in capturing those that were thought to be effectually hidden. This must be prevented at any cost. As no concealment can be depended on, the boats must be destroyed whenever the near approach of the enemy shall leave no other means of preventing their capture.


The delicate question of permitting New Orleans to be supplied with provisions while in the occupation of the enemy was presented to me for decision soon after my return from Camp Moore, whither I had gone for the purpose of concerting with the authorities at Richmond plans for the future, which will soon be made manifest. Much was and is to be said for and against the policy. It is sufficient for my present purpose to say that I gave permits to two agents of the committee from the city to carry provisions to our citizens so long as the Federal general should faithfully observe to our citizens so long as the Federal general should faithfully observe his pledge not to appropriate any portion of the provisions to other uses than supplying the wants of our own people. I was not aware of the danger that attended such a policy in affording advantages for the establishment of an intercourse which the pervious part of this address will show I could not approve. But I did not expect that such a concession, made in tender consideration of the pressing wants of that city, would be abused by any of its own citizens to the extent of committing an act little short of affording direct aid to the enemy. The recent act of the cashier of the Bank of America and his accomplices has convinced me that any departure from the rule that the necessities of the population of any locality must be held subservient to the paramount consideration of the public safety is attended with peril, and that in my desire to relieve the people of New Orleans I was subjecting the public interests to danger of injury. No boats will hereafter be permitted to go to New Orleans or Baton Rouge while those places are occupied by the enemy, unless, after the arrival of the commanding general, Confederate officers should be detailed for the purpose of going in charge of them in the manner usually practiced by belligerent.


It is not proper for obvious reasons to state here in detail the measures I have taken and the plans devised for the defense of our homes. The loss of New Orleans and the opening of the Mississippi, which will soon follow, has greatly increased our danger and deprived us of many resources for defense. With less means we have more to do than before. Every weapon we have and all that our skillful mechanics can make will be needed. Every able-bodied citizen must hold himself in readiness for immediate active service. Brave, vigilant, energetic officers are authorized to raise bands of Partisan Rangers. Let every possible assistance be rendered them in forming, arming, equipping, and mounting their companies and in giving them support and information when in service. Let every citizen be an armed sentinel to give warning of any approach of the insolent foe. Let all our river-banks swarm with