PRIVATE.] HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, August 13 [11?], 1862.
MY DEAR SIR: I believe you might well be surprised at my official letter of to-day. I need not assure you that it was not caused by any act or thought of yours. It became necessary, however, to meet the representations of Captain Porter, of the mortar fleet, as to the operations of the Army. I assure you that never have I failed publicly and privately to acknowledge and add my testimony to the concurrent thought of all my officers in their appreciation of the gallant acts of the Navy. My dispatches everywhere show this, and I only call your attention to the fact in justification of what I certainly deem and unkind though toward myself. I am not aware that the Navy preserved my army at Baton Rouge; if so, I will acknowledge it with pride and pleasure. I assure you, my dear admiral, that I feel only the most glorious exultation at the exploits of your branch of the service. You need no one to speak of or herald your acts; they speak for themselves. The Navy need have no jealousy of the Army, especially in this department; and while I will acquit you of any intentional or unintentional neglect of the Army or its acts, yet I will call your attention to the fact that the only mention of the existence of the army of this department, even in the official dispatches of the Navy relating to the capture of New Orleans, is by Captain Porter in these words: "I sent General Butler in the Miami around in the rear of the forts." For this I do not feel at all aggrieved by you or your officers; on the contrary, I beg to repeat that toward yourself personally and the officers of the squadron I have none but the most cordial feelings.
Believe me, truly, your friend and servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, August 14, 1862.
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Since the attack on Baton Rouge, of which I sent you the general description in my last, I have directed that place to be slightly entrenched and put in condition of defense. My judgment has been to hold the point, not for any special military but for its political importance. If pressed here, however, I must evacuate it, but shall destroy it before I leave it.
We are now threatened by the whole western division of the Southern Army, under General Van Dorn, Breckinridge, and Jeff. Thompson, together with whatever troops can be gathered from Texas or on the western bank of the river.
The withdrawal of the troops at Vicksburg and the apparent inactivity or withdrawal of troops from Corinth has allowed the concentration of all their troops upon us.
Vicksburg is essentially bare of troops. We are considerably weakened by decease and discharges of those whom nine-months' service have shown unfit for duty.
I have largely caused the regiments to be filled up by enlistments here, and I doubt not in all I have enlisted a thousand men in the old regiments, and I have now 1,200 being organized as the First Regi-