With the Commodore (now Admiral) Farragut there has ever been the utmost reciprocity of aid and the warmest sympathy.
I was very anxious that the expedition should get off to Vicksburg as early as possible, and I did everything I could do to speed it. Captain Porter, in his letter to me, expressly so states. The steamer Empire Parish, which was a boat belonging to private parties here that had come to the city relying upon my safeguard, was as much within his control as mine. Nay, at the very time Captain Porter complains, as will be seen by the affidavits herewith submitted, the Empire Parish was seized by him and wholly under his control. It will be seen also that at the very time Captain Porter complains to the Department of the delays of the steamer Fox she was under the orders of Commodore Morris, his senior officer, and in his employ. I inclose the original order, which I desire preserved. It is true that the master of that steamer got drunk and behaved badly at the Passes. That truth Commodore Porter states, but he omits to state that for such conduct the master was punished by instant discharge. Why suppress that fact, which was known to Captain Porter? If there is a naval officer on this station that will not bear the fullest testimony to the exertions of myself and command to aid the Navy everywhere and at all times, with the exception of Captain Porter, they certainly will do very differently from what they have personally stated to me. My chief quartermaster, Colonel Shaffer, knows the facts relating to this transaction, and I desire the fullest inquiry should be made of him.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
[Inclosure No. 1.]
UNITED STATES STEAMER OCTORARA, Southwest Pass, July 15, 1862.
Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,
Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans:
SIR: Your letter of July 15 has been received.* You must not suppose that I wrote to you while under any excitement from the fact that you had applied the word misstatement to the report made to you in my previous letter. It was some time after receiving the communication of Lieutenant-Commander Breese that I wrote my letter of the 5th instant.
On hearing what was alleged against me I examined carefully my first letter to see if I had inadvertently said anything to offend you, and also handed it to several of my officers, who could see in it nothing that could possibly reflect upon you or the Army.
In the first place, I supposed from your letter directed to me at Ship Island (in which you urged me to use dispatch), that the expedition was one started by yourself, and that you were more interested in it even than I was, it was most natural I should look to you for support when I found that your subordinates were careless in the performance of your orders. Had those subordinates been officers in the army I should have said but little on the subject, and I wish to say here that I do not consider any of them as connected with the Army corps in any way. They were civilians in every respect to me, apparently indifferent about obeying orders received from the highest authority.