War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0697 Chapter XXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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the remainder of the division probably reached there last night or this morning.

Part of the seize train arrived here yesterday, and was immediately sent on to join Weitzel. It must be with him now.

I regret to have to report the loss yesterday of the loss yesterday of the gunboat Diana while making a reconnaissance in the Atchafalaya. All the particulars so far received of the unfortunate affair, which is reported by General Weitzel to have occurred in consequence of a direct and unaccountable disobedience of his orders, are given in the inclosed copies of three telegrams from that officer.*

The inclosed newspaper slip, containing items copied from the Memphis (Jackson) Appeal of the 22nd, gives the latest information we have of the position and movements of the Hartford and Albatross.

It appears from these reports that Admiral Farragut was at Natchez on the afternoon of the 17th and left there on the morning of the 18th and passed Grand Gulf on the morning of the 19th instant. This, probably true, seems to corroborate the information I received on the evening of the 15th, that the admiral had gone up within a few hours after daylight on that day.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,

New Orleans, March 31, 1863.

Col. E. G. BECKWITH,

President Sequestration Commission:

COLONEL: The property referred to in your letter comes into possession of the Government under an order of the general commanding this department dated November 9, 1862. Section 10 of this order authorizes and empowers the commissioners to hear, determine, and report definitely upon the loyalty, disloyalty, or neutrality of the various claimants for this property, and also to report such persons as in their judgment ought to be recommended to the President by the commanding general for amnesty or pardon, so that they may have their property returned.

The manifest intention of this order is that the property shall not be returned except upon authority of the Government at Washington, and I do not feel at liberty, in view of this fact, upon my own authority to authorize its surrender to claimants.

The establishment of a provisional court in this department, with powers analogous to those authorized to execute the confiscation law, makes is proper that final adjustment of these cases be referred to that tribunal.

In cases where the property, real or personal, is likely to receive injury temporary measures may be adopted to preserve it, and, pending the decision of the court referred to, the use and occupation of any real estate or plantation may very properly be granted to the claimant or claimants, subject to the decision of this tribunal. The preservation of the property itself may require this course to be pursued. Whenever any well-disposed person makes application for the use and occupation of the property under this condition I would recommend that

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*See p.290.

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