War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0552 W. FLA.,S. ALA.,S. MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, August 16, 1862.

Col. HALBERT E. PAINE,

Commanding at Baton Rouge:

COLONEL: Upon the most mature consideration, in view of the evident preparations to attack the city of New Orleans, which requires a concentration of our forces, I am constrained to come to the conclusion that it is necessary to evacuate Baton Rouge. We have demonstrated our ability to hold the place, but it is not now a question of ability. You will therefore begin the movement quietly and rapidly; get everything off except your men, and then see to it that the town is destroyed.

After mature deliberation I deem this a military necessity of the highest order-much more than the burning Hampton by Magruder. That town was burnt by its own friends in August to prevent it giving shelter to our troops. The shelter of Baton Rouge to them is a necessity in the long winter campaign, to say nothing of its advantages as a summer residence.

In regard to the poor prisoners, they will be between tow fires. Use in regard to them your best judgment. I do not know that I can aid you further by any observations.

By order of Major-General Butler:

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. S. DAVIS,

Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-With regard to the prisoners in the penitentiary, whatever disposition you make of them do not bring them down here.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, August 16, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: This will be handed you by Joseph M. Bell, esq., late law partner and son-in-law of our friend the lamented Rufus Choate. Mr. Bell has been serving with me since November last as volunteer aide-de-camp and military secretary, more recently as provost judge of the city of New Orleans, wherein he was won golden opinions from all right-minded persons. Major Bell goes North for a moment of recruitment, as he has good cause to do, and I am pleased to be able through him to communicate so directly with the War Department.

I have but little doubt that I shall be attacked here within the next twenty days or thereabouts.

As I predicted some months since in my dispatch to the War Department, I am in danger from the debris of Beauregard's army at Shiloh. Some nineteen or twenty regiments and several batteries are gathering in upon us from it.

I have ordered the evacuation and destruction of Baton Rouge, which will be effected unless an attack is made upon it by Van Dorn before we shall get away. In that case we shall fight. The pendency of a contest there is imminent. It seems to be the tactics of the enemy to attempt to drive us out of New Orleans at all hazards. They agree the town will be destroyed in so doing, but they reason that there is so large a foreign interest here that the destruction of the town will em-