Because of an order to do this necessary thing to protect your front, threatened by the enemy, you tender your resignation and ask immediate leave of absence. I assure you I did not expect this, either from your courage, your patriotism, or your good sense. To resign in the face of an enemy has not been the highest plaudit to a soldier, especially when the reason assigned is that he is ordered to do that which a recent act of Congress has specially authorized a commander to do, i. e., employ the African to do the necessary work about a camp or upon fortifications. General, your resignation will not be accepted by me; leave of absence will not be granted, and you will see to it that my orders, thus necessary for the defense of the city, are faithfully and diligently executed, upon the responsibility that a soldier in the field owes to his superior.
I will see that all proper requisitions for the food, shelter, and clothing of these negroes at work are at once filled by the proper departments. You will also send out a proper guard to protect the laborers against the guerrilla force, if any, that may be in the neighborhood.
I am, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., August 2, 1862.
Commanding Western Gulf Squadron:
DEAR SIR: I inclose you Captain Porter's letter to me, for your information. I will send him a steam-tug, of whose service he can avail himself.
I would strongly urge that one of the light-draught double-enders be sent to him, say the Westfield, Clifton, or Miami, to clear out Red River. As to the suggestion as to fortifying Baton Rouge on the river side, it is simply impossible for want of proper guns. If the fleet cannot hold the river against the enemy's rams or other boats the quicker we abandon Louisiana the better.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
UNITED STATES GUNBOAT ESSEX,
Off Baton Rouge, July 30, 1862.
Hdqrs. U. S. Forces, Commanding New Orleans, La.:
GENERAL: I have the honor respectfully to lay before you the following facts:
After running the blockade at Vicksburg my orders were to proceed to Baton Rouge, take in supplies, and then to ascend the Mississippi, constantly cruising between this point and Vicksburg.
The gunboats Katahdin and Kineo, also the ram Sumter, were left with me here as a protecting force. The two former boats have their machinery so deranged that they are absolutely useless for active serv-