Commanders of divisions, brigades, regiments, and posts will report any violation of this order, and take every possible precaution to enforce its strict observance. Pillage and depredations will be suppressed. The appropriation of the property of the country to private use or personal emolument demoralizes the army and dishonors the service.
Commanding officers will be held responsible for the conduct of their men, and for the summary punishment of offenses. A man who abandons his flag and his comrades, in the face of the enemy, to pillage and under women and children, or unprotected people, deserves and should receive the summary infliction of the penalty of death denounced by the Articles of War for his crime.
It is the legitimate right of an army to obtain its supplies from the country it occupies. This right will be exercised to its fullest extent, and the Government will answer to the enemy and to the country for that which it applies to its use or leaves to the people; but all seizures must be made by authorized officers, accounted for to the chiefs of the proper my staff departments, according to the nature of the property, and scrupulously applied to the use and benefit of the Government.
By command of Major-General Banks:
RICH'D B. IRWIN,
WASHINGTON, April 3, 1863.
Major-General BANKS, New Orleans:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of March 21* is received, and has been shown to the Secretary of War.
In regard to cotton trade, you will see from the orders of the War Department and the regulations of the Treasury Department (just printed) that the whole question is now definitely arranged.
It is to be regretted that we cannot at present send to New Orleans more troops or gunboats without taking them from General Hunter's department. The unexpected delays thee have resulted from the want of preparations in the Navy. Whether the operations there are successful or not, I hope that as soon as they are terminated a portion of the land and naval forces in the Department of the South may be sent to the Gulf.
It is unfortunate that the Government, yielding to outside pressure and the impatience of the people, has undertaken too many things at the same time. but this has been the result of circumstances which neither you not I could control. We are only responsible for doing our best with the means at our command.
Your great object, to be kept continually in view, must be to connect with General Grant. He has been written to to do all in his power to connect with you. It would seem from this distance that the Atchafalaya offers the best means of effecting this object; but you and General Grant can judge best, being on the spot.
I hope that the weather will soon permit some of our armies to move. A successful operation would greatly relieve the Government.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
*See p. 251.