War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0572 W. FLA.,S. ALA.,S. MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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country and render every part accessible by water; indeed in no other way. Now, all these bayous have this remarkable condition in common: At the mouth of each is a bar, leaving but 4 or 5 feet depth of water, while inside there will be 10 to 30 feet. To meet this state of facts (the Navy have no boat that draws less than 7 feet when loaded, so that they are useless for the service) I have taken two steamers (river), and am so altering and strengthening them as to fit them for the service desired. They will draw when loaded about 4 feet of water, and I shall come then with power enough to resist any guerrilla or [other] attack. The expense with new boilers for one will be in the neighborhood of $12,000.

There is another difficulty under which we labor. These are high-pressure boats, which advertise their approach 3 miles, so that it is impossible to capture anybody or to get any supplies that can be moved or got our of the way. I desire, therefore, a light-draught low-pressure boat that can burn hard coal. Such a one I find here in the Nassau, and if she is suitable in other respects I desire authority to purchase her. I shall take her until I get a return from this note, and endeavor to do so with privilege of buying her, deducting her use. The exigencies of public service, in my judgment, clearly call for the expenditure. She will cost in the neighborhood of $40,000; less perhaps. Any delay with the necessary alterations will embarrass it much.

An early reply is requested.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

WASHINGTON, D. C., September 14, 1862.

Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, New Orleans:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your report of the 1st instant.

The rumor in regard to your removal from the command is a mere newspaper story, without foundation. Probably some one who wished the changes proposed made the publication as a feeler of public sentiment.

The matter of feeding the negroes on your hands is one of serious importance, and, if possible, some measures should be taken to make them earn their own living. The law of humanity forbids us from permitting them to starve, but if we adopt the principle of feeding all who come within our lines the only alternative may be starvation to ourselves. I leave the matter, however, entirely to your discretion, hoping that you will economize the expenses as much as possible. In regard to guerrilla bands and marauders, the act of the last Congress has completely tied the hands of our officers; they can now do nothing to abate this terrible evil.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,





New Orleans, September 18, 1862.

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