Mr. Deslondes is informally possessed of my views upon this topic, and he may be able to so far convey to me the views of the authorities upon your behalf as to make a basis of more formal action.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, August 26, 1862.
Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,
Commanding, &c., New Orleans:
GENERAL: Re-enforcements will be sent to you as early as possible. The new levies are only just beginning to come in and are still unorganized.
I cannot think that there can be a very large force under Van Dorn, as the main army that retreated from Corinth is now operating against Buell and Morgan in Tennessee and Kentucky. They estimate Bragg's forces at over 80,000, and it is known that very considerable detachments of Beauregard's army are now in Arkansas and Mississippi. It is deemed of the greatest possible importance to hold New Orleans, and re-enforcements will be sent as early as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, August 27, 1862.
GENERAL: As indicated in my dispatch to the Secretary of War of the 16th instant, finding a concentration of troops by the enemy I withdrew at my leisure the troops at Baton Rouge, and have them now encamped behind my lines at Carrollton. As the town of Baton Rouge is now held by two gunboats stationed in the river, and if the enemy attempt to build batteries there it will be necessary to drive them out by shells, I ordered the State library to be brought away, and Powers' statue of Washington from the State-house. This has been safely accomplished. The library is stored with the city library here. I have sent the statute of Washington to the mayor of New York, to be held in trust for the people of Louisiana until they shall have returned to their senses. I deem the evacuation of Baton Rouge a matter of prudence, as the entire force at Vicksburg had been brought down to Jackson and Tangipahoa for the avowed purpose of an attack upon New Orleans. This attack will come, if at all, in the course of twenty days.
I have sent to Brigadier-General Arnold, at Pensacola, to spare me what troops he can, and have ordered his presence for consultation.
Finding from your letter to me that it was impossible to expect re-enforcements, in time at least to meet the expected movement, yielding to the necessity of the case I have called upon a portion of a brigade of soldiers who were in the Confederate service, and are now ready and desirous of doing loyal service to the Union here.
I have kept clear of the vexed question of arming the slaves. I am fortified by precedents of a half century's standing, acted upon by the Confederate authorities within six months, and I believe I have done