War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0613 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

[Inclosure A.]

The following is the mayor's reply to the first demand for a surrender of the city which was made on the 25th instant:

MAYORALTY OF NEW ORLEANS, City Hall, April 26, 1862.

Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, U. S. Flag-Ship Hartford.

SIR: In pursuance of the resolution which he thought proper to take out of regard for the lives of the women and children who still crowd this great metropolis, General Lovell has evacuated it with his troops and restored back to me the administration of its government and the custody of its honor.

I have in concert with the city fathers considered the demand you made of me on yesterday of an unconditional surrender of the city coupled with a requisition to hoist up the flag of the United States on the public edifices and to haul down that which still floats to the breeze from the dome of this hall, and it becomes my duty to transmit to you the answer which the universal sentiment of my constituency no less than the promptings of my own heart dictate to me on this sad and solemn occasion.

The city is without means of defense and utterly destitute of the force and material that might enable it to resist the overpowering armament displayed in sight of it. I am no military man and possess no authority beyond that of executing the municipal laws of the city of New Orleans. It would be presumptuous in me to attempt to lead an army to the field if I had one at my command, and I know still less how to surrender an undefended place held as this is at the mercy of your gunners and mouth of your mortars. To surrender such a place were an idle and unmeaning ceremony. The city is yours by the power of brutal force and not by any choice or consent of its inhibitants. It is for you to determine what shall be the fate that awaits her.

As to the hoisting of any flag than the flag of our own adoption and allegiance let me say to you, sir, that the man lives not in our midst whose hand and heart would not be palsied at the mere thought of such an act; nor could I find in my entire constituency so wretched and desperate a renegade as would dare to profane with his hand the sacred emblem of our aspirations.

Sir, you have manifested sentiments which would become one engaged in a bettet to which you devoted you sword. I doubt not but that they spring from a noble though deluded nature, and I know how to appreciate the emotions which inspire them. You will have a gallant people to administer during the occupation of this city-a people sensitive of all that can in the least affect its dignity and self-respect. Pray, sir, do not allow them to be insulted by the interference of such as have rendered themselves odious and contemptible by their dastardly desertion of the mighty struggle in which we are engaged, nor of such as might remind them too painfully that they are the conquered and you the conquerors. Peace and order may be preserved without a resort to measures which could not fail to wound their susceptibilities and fire up their passions. The obligations which I shall assume in their name shall be religiously complied with. You may trust their honor, though you ought not to count on their submission to unmerited wrong.

In conclusion I beg you to understant that the people of New Orleans while unable at this moment to prevent you from occupying this city do not ransfer their allegiance from the Government of their choice to the one which they have deliberately repudiated, and that they yield simply that obedience which the conqueror is enabled to extort from the conquered.

Since writing the above which is an answer to your verbal communication of yesterday I have received a written communication to which I shall reply before 12 o'clock if possible to prepare an answer in that time.




[Inclosure B.]


City Hall, April 28, 1862.


GENTLEMEN: I herewith transmit to you a communication from Flag-Officer Farragut, commanding the U. S. fleet now lying in front of the city. I have informed the officer bearing the communication that I would lay it before you and return such answer as the city authorities might deem proper to be made.