If there be any mistake in the late chief quartermaster's estimates, it should be made known . The question is of importance, both to your army and to the heavily burdened treasury.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, No. 15.
New Orleans, February 8, 1863.
War necessarily brings with it, to a great extent, the suspension of ordinary pursuits and vocations, and naturally affects most materially those whose resources are delivered from the product of their lands, and it is not just that too pressing creditors should be permitted to cripple well-disposed citizens in their efforts to return to their former state of prosperity, and acquire the ability to promptly meet all just demands. As a measure beneficial to all concerned, the general commanding directs as follows:
1st. The foreclosure of mortgages or instruments that are such by their effect, and sales under foreclosures, as against loyal citizens having interests in the subject-matter, whether as owners, mortagers, or otherwise, are prohibited.
2nd. The property of loyal citizens, owning and working plantations, is exempted from forced sale under execution or otherwise until further orders. Provided, however, that this exemption shall not be effectual as to debts created or obligations incurred subsequently to the date of this order, which shall have remained uncanceled for six months.
By command of Major-General Banks:
RICH'D B. IRWIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
NEW ORLEANS, February 19, 1863.
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2nd February,* which refers to my dispatch of the 15th of January, relating to the condition of military affairs in the department. The papers accompanying my dispatch were intended to give a truthful exhibit of the state of military preparations, as presented to the officers in charge of the different departments of the army organization upon my assuming command here, and not as justifying delay in my movements, or as a demand upon the Government at Washington for the supplies that were deficient. It was intended as a statement of a historical fact, and was in no respect overstated. In confirmation of this, I regret to be obliged to say that the representation of Colonel Shaffer, late quartermaster-in-chief of this department, to General Meigs is entirely without foundation. There are not 5,000 horses and mules to be obtained within the lines of the army. There are not a sufficient number of mules in this department at present to cultivate the grain crops that are necessary to preserve the people from famine, and as for horses, there are not 100 to be obtained fit for military service within the reach of the army. I beg your attention to the report of Major Robinson, of the Louisiana cavalry, who, thoroughly searching the State for cavalry horses, and seizing any animal that could be taken with any justification whatever,
* See p.671.