scribed or required by law or general regulations. You, however, are authorized to establish some general regulations for your department or for New Orleans, which in case of doubt will enable aliens applying for favors that can only be allowed to loyal, or at least inoffensive, persons to prove that they belong to that class.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, September 1, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding the Army of the United States:
GENERAL: Nothing of interest has occurred to the troops of this department since my last dispatch. Our dispositions being made for defense, the forts which the enemy expected to surprise being strengthened, I am inclined to the opinion that he has for the present abandoned his plan of attack. My informers also confirm this view by their intelligence. Since the plan of attack was abandoned Breckinridge has gone with a portion of his division to Mobile, and is said to be en route to Virginia. The condition of the people here is a very alarming one. They have literally come down to starvation, not only in the city, but in the country. Planters who in peaceful times would have spent their summers at Saratoga are now on their plantations essentially without food. Hundreds weekly by stealth are coming across the lake to the city, reporting starvation on the lake shore. I am distributing in various ways about $50,000 per month in food and more is needed. This is to the whites. My commissary is issuing rations to the amount of nearly double the amount required by the troops. This to the blacks. They are now coming in by hundreds, say thousands, almost daily. Many of the plantations are deserted along the coast, which phrase in this country means the river from the city up to Natchez. Crops of sugar-cane are left standing to waste which would make a million of dollars' worth of sugar.
Guerrillas interfere with all white labor which would be peaceable and impress it into the rebel Army. The act of Congress which allows no proper punishment of these marauders renders it impossible to restrain them. It is useless to tell me to try them, send the record to Washington, and then to shoot them if the record is approved. Events travel altogether too rapidly for that. In the mean time they hang every Union man they catch, and by their proclamations (see Governor Moore's, on file with the War Department) they threaten to hang every man who has my pass. All this while also they are prating in their papers and by the message of Davis about carrying on a civilized warfare. We have with us a great number of negro women and children, barefoot and half naked. May I aks in what way, in view of the coming winter, these are to be clothed? I can house them. There are houses of rebel officers enough to cover them.
I learn by the secession newspapers that I am to be relieved of this command. If that be so, might I ask that my successor be sent as early as possible, as my own health is not the strongest, and it would seem but fair that he should take some part in the yellow-fever season.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,