War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0413 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

appears by report of State auditor. The State is being rapidly and unnecessarily run in debt for the benefit of officials and office seekers. If I have the power I wish to prevent this; if not, I must simply record my protest against this scandalous abuse under cover of legislation upon an impoverished and exhausted people. My own view of the matter is simply this: that the present civil government of Louisiana is an experiment liable to be cut short at any time by military orders, and that until approved and received by Congress they are wholly within the scope of martial law. Immense salaries without duty to be done, gross expenditures for benefit of individuals, little regard to the people of be governed, characterize their administration, and it would be far better for all concerned that military government prevail.

Your obedient servant,

S. A. HURLBUT,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,

New Orleans, La., October 29, 1864.

Major General S. A. HURLBUT,

Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.:

GENERAL: I have not had time until to-day to examine your communication of the 22nd instant. It is scarcely necessary for me to say that until the President by a counter-proclamation revokes his proclamation of December 8, 1863, or until Congress has acted definitely upon the subject, all attempts at civil government, within the territory declared to be in insurrection, are the creation of military power, and, of course, subject of military revision and control. The questions proposed by you are subjects for grave consideration, both in their local and national aspects. The President has adopted this policy as one of the means of restoring peace and establishing the national authority. The orders given by him are controlling orders, and in their full extent and application will be respected by all military authorities. This not simply as a question of policy of which the President is the judge, but of subordination to superior military authority. In both relations it is our duty to give the fullest effect to the means adopted by him for the accomplishment of the intended object. The Legislature of Louisiana cannot, however, abrogate or modify any military orders or regulations without the consent or approval of the commander of the department, or of superior military authority, nor can it in any way whatever interfere with any question of military operations or military administration. In questions of policy or administration not military in their character, while the absolute right of interference remains the same, the propriety of that interference is more restricted, but it should undoubtedly be exercised whenever in your judgment the action taken by the Legislature tends to embarrass or defeat the policy adopted by the President. In questions of doubtful expediency, it will be proper to suspend its action until the matter can be submitted to him for decision. Questions of revenue in an enemy's territory are under the control of the military authorities, unless excepted by law, or by the orders of superior authorities.

Very respectfully, sir, obedient servant,

ED. R. S. CANBY,

Major-General, Commanding.