of sixteen. I shall treat these with every courtesy due their position. No hair of the head of one of my captured soldiers ought to be touched upon any pretext of reprisal or retaliation. I trust you will reconsider your determination to do so in any event.
That I punish the guilty marauders with promptness the women and children of New Orleans, who sleep in calm, undisturbed quiet under our flag, will tell you; that I deal generously with my enemies a thousand and nineteen families of Confederate soldiers now being fed from my rations will testify. That I will take care of, protect, and avenge the wrongs and lives of my fellow-soldiers confined to my care you as a soldier can judge.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
P. S.-Since writing this note I have received a letter from Commodore Porter, a copy of which I inclose. I state frankly I do not believe the report made by Commodore Porter. If true, it only adds another example of the infelicity of employing such partisan forces; if false, it shows the damage of reprisals and retaliation upon any report whatever.
B. F. B.
ON BOARD UNITED STATES GUNBOAT ESSEX, Off New Orleans, September -, 1862.
General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,
Commanding United States Forces at New Orleans, La.:
GENERAL: I understand you have this day captured some guerrillas. On the 15th August my fourth master, Mr. Spencer Kellogg, with four of my seamen from the Essex, were made prisoners by some guerrillas at Port Hudson when engaged in cutting adrift some flat-boats used by the rebels for conveyance of supplies from the west bank to the east bank of the Mississippi; the next day they were hanged, so I understand from a citizen of Bayou Sara in whom I have much confidence.
I would ask you under the circumstances that retribution be carried out, and would respectfully suggest that for each seaman of mine hanged one guerrilla be shot, and for my officer ten.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. D. PORTER,
Commodore, United States Navy.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, September 10, 1862.
Hon. W. H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State:
SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, and to inform you that a copy thereof, as well as of the translation of the Spanish minister's communication which accompanied it, has been transmitted to Major General B. F. Butler,*
*Documents referred to will appear in Series III, Vol. II.