War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0654 W.FLA., S.FLA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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their pleasure. Some made reports every day; others never made any. General orders were issued as soon as you had assumed command requiring immediate returns, and special and peremptory instructions were addressed to those who failed to comply with these general orders. In consequence we have a reasonably reliable return for the 31st ultimo, and shall be able to do so, I think, regularly hereafter.

The supply of blanks on hand was quite small, mostly printed here, and was wholly insufficient to meet the requisitions made on the 1st instant for the next six months.

No founds of the adjutant-general's department were turned over to me.

All the clerks (some five or six) were civil employes, paid by Captain Davis from what is generally called the "Provost Fund." I found them ignorant, and replaced them by my own clerks, detailed, with a single exception, from the ranks.

In addition to the military duties properly belonging to the adjutant-general of a department I found my whole time, night and day, taken up a first by applications, almost invariably presented in person, for the return of guns taken away from the citizens under General Butler's orders; for permission to hunt; for permission to fish; for passes within the lines and beyond the lines; for orders to release sequestered cotton and sugar; for precautionary orders prohibiting their seizure; for orders for the payment of checks refused by the banks; for the release of prisoners; for the suspension, commutation, or remission of sentences imposed by the judicial officers; to remove certain parties from houses; to place certain parties in houses; to restore property of all kinds seized by officers, soldiers, or citizens "connected with the Government;" to prevent property from being so seized; to return negroes; to prevent them from going away; to prevent them being prevented from going away; for bread; for employment; for orders to one citizen to do or not do all imaginable things that another citizen might wish him to do or not to do; to order the payment of debts; to prevent persons from leaving New Orleans to escape the payment of debts; to order the passenger-railway company to redeem a handful of blue tickets, &c.

I also found that a number of special police officers and innumerable other petty employes, both civil and military, throughout the department reported to me direct, instead of to the chief of the proper military or civil department concerned. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the duties of the adjutant-general's department were coextensive with the wants and interests of the individual citizens of New Orleans.

While things remained in this condition, without system or organization, it must have been utterly impossible for the adjutant-general to devote his attention to the military interests of the command, much less to the management of the details of his office. In a word, so far as any information of the military affairs of this department is concerned, I found the condition of my department almost a total bank. In saying this I but confirm the statement which was made to me by Major Strong.

On many of the subjects I have enumerated you have made general decisions; others have been confided to the chiefs of the military or civil departments concerned; all have been systematized.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

RICH'D B. IRWIN,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.