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against Butler's action, as a violation of treaty rights, etc. The reply was somewhat sharp and decisive in tone, and gave these gentlemen to understand that they must mind their own proper business, and not undertake to give aid in any way to the rebel cause. M. Couturie wrote to Washington, and the Netherlands minister made loud complaint as to the indignity to which the consul had been subjected; whereupon Mr. Seward sent the Hon. Reverdy Johnson to New Orleans, as a special commissioner, to investigate the whole matter. On his report the money was given up to those who claimed it as foreign property, and Gen. Butler had a great deal of trouble with very little satisfaction. The consuls generally in New Orleans made themselves thoroughly disagreeable; but they soon found that Butler was a man who would put up with no nonsense or proclivities towards rebellion.*
The intensified bitterness of feeling on the part of the New Orleans rebels, and the daily mortification which came upon their pride and haughty boastings, we have before alluded to. This feeling cannot, in fact, be described; it can hardly be imagined. Open acts of, violence, as they occurred, were promptly punished; and the men for the most part, abusive as they might show themselves, had to satisfy their hatred by mutterings and a sort of sullen blackguardism. The women, however, especially the women in good circum
* Mr. Parton gives a long and interesting chapter, with documents, respecting the foreign consuls and their conduct in New Orleans. See Parton's" Gen. Butler in New Qrleane," pp. 354-406.
stances, the well dressed young girls, the women of old wealthy families, these manifested such spitefulness of temper, and behaved themselves towards our officers and men in such wise as that it speeddy became altogether intolerable. No indignity that could be thought of by these Ncnr Orleans "ladies" was left untried; such as insulting gestures, upturned noses, minute rebel flags on their persons, even at last spitting in the faces of the Union soldiers and upon their uniforms. Of course, such a state of things could not be allowed to continue; it must be stopped at once, and that effectively.
But ftow to do it, was not so easy to determine. The women could not be subjected to the same or similar punishments with the men; and Butler, after considerable study, prepared his general order, No. 28, which, as it became somewhat famous afterwards, we give to the reader in full : — "As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans, in return for the most scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered, that hereafter, when any female shall, by word, gesture, or movement, insult, or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded, and held liable to be treated, as a woman of the town plying her avocation." That is, every woman of the town, behaving as every such miserable being does, was liable, according to the laws of New Orleans, to be arrested, imprisoned for the night in the calaboose, and next morning to be fined Ch. Xvii.j
$5 by the magistrate. No decent woman would for a moment expose herself to such degradation. Whatever may be thought of Butler's choice of phraseology, the effect of the order was immediate; and its success complete. Thenceforward, the "ladies" of New Orleans found it best to confine the evidences of their feelings of enmity within bounds, and to behave themselves in the streets and in public with tolerable propriety*
Unfortunately, as it turned out, there was a bad, vile sense which could be put upon the language of the latter part of the order, by such as wished to do so, as if Butler had deliberately ordered his officers and troops to commit the grossest outrage which can be conceived of The order became famous all over the country; Mayor Monroe was immediately horrified, and wrote in the greatest haste to Gen. Butler ;+ others joined with him, for the purpose of getting the order rescinded; which resulted in the sending his Honor, and
* It deserves to bo stated, in this connection, that in no instance was the order misunderstood on the port of the troops, and not one arrest under Order No. 28 was ever made.
f Butler's note addressed to the mayor requires, as a matter of justice, to be quoted:—" Sir—There can be, there has been, no room for misunderstanding of general order No. 23. No lady will take any notice of a strange gentleman, and a fortiori of a stranger, in such form as to attract attention. Common women do. Therefore, whatever woman, lady or mistress, gentle or simple, who, by gesture, look or word, insults, shows contempt for, thus attracting to herself the notice of my officers and soldiers, will be deemed to act us becomes her vocation of common woman, and will be liable to be treated accordingly. This was most fully explained to you at my office. I shall not, as I have not, abated a single word of that order; it was well considered. If obeyed, it will protect the true and modest woman from all possible insult. The others will take care of themselves. You can publish your letter if you publish this note, and your apology."
others like him, to Fort Tackson, and placing the city under martial rule. Beauregard seized upon the opportunity^ and almost surpassed himself in the proclamation which he issued; ihe governor of Louisiana discoursed upon so stirring a theme as guarding " the chastity of our women," and "recoiling in horror from the panderer to lust and desecrator of virtue;" in various parts of the North, Butler was sharply and bitterly criticized; and even our very neutral friends in England felt bound to call the order " infamous," and to sneer expressively at "the model Republic."*
On a previous page (see p. 157), we mentioned the execution of Mumford for an act of daring outrage upon the United States flag, on the 27th of April. The execution took place on the 7th of June, and it is noteworthy as the first instance in the history of the government, of a military trial and conviction for such an offence. This severe meting out of justice was followed, a few days afterward, by the execution of four persons, named Clary, Roy, Crage and Newton. Clary had been second officer of a United States transport, Crage had been first officer of the ship City of New York, Newton had been a private in the army, and Roy belonged to New Orleans. These men, with several others, formed an organized gang of thieves, who, under pretended forged authority of Gen. But
* Pollard's language is unusually violent about " the Beast," the " vulgar and drunken Butler," the " order which stigmatized as prostitutes the ladies of New Orleans," the infamous plundering, lying, harlotry and the like, by our officers and soldiers, etc., etc.—" Second Tear of the War," pp. 17-21.
BUTLER'S FAMOUS ORDER No. 28.
ler, and disguising themselves in uniforms or' United States soldiers, entered and searched various houses, and stole all the money, jewelry and everything else they could lay hands upon. On being ai rested, they were tried and convicted, and Butler sentenced them be hung. The sentence was carried into execution on the 16th of June. The effect was salutary upon the minds of both rebels and Union men in New Orleans.
Abating none of his zeal, Butler was diligent in enforcing the confiscation act of Congress, July 17th; he seized upon 6,000 arms of various descriptions in private hands; and he made numerous efforts to benefit the blacks—respecting whom the government had not yet adopted a definite line of policy —by enlisting many of them into the United States service, etc. Outside of the city, and in other parts of the department of the Gulf, he strove to accomplish something; but the lack of reinforcements, and the reverses to our arms in Virginia during the summer, prevented his doing all that he purposed.
It will be remembered that Commodore Farragut, immediately after the capture of New Orleans and its occupation by Butler (see p. 158), availed himself of the desired opportunity to advance up the Mississippi . He sent detachments of his squadron to take possession of the principal places, and to clear the way for the opening of the river throughout its entire course. This was to be accomplished by co-operation with Commodore Davis, who was advancing from above Memphis towards Farragut's fleet below.
At Baton Rouge, 140 miles above
New Orleans, the national flag was raised, with expressions of Union feelings on the part of a portion of the inhabitants, and the arsenal and other public property were taken possession of by Capt. Palmer of the Iroquois, on the 8th of May. On the 12th, Natchez was visited, but as it was a position of no military importance no steps were taken to occupy it. About a week later, Commander Lee, with the advance of the squadron, arrived near Vicksburg, and under orders from Commodore Farragut and Gen. Butler, demanded the surrender of the place and its defences. This was peremptorily refused by the city authorities. Farragut arrived shortly after, with a body of troops under General Williams, and was followed by an additional naval and military force, including Porter's mortar flotilla, which had j been withdrawn from its proposed theatre of operations on the Gulf. The fortifications at Vicksburg, consisting of an extensive range of batteries on the heights, the town being built on a | bluff rising to a considerable elevation above the river, were not very readily to be assailed by the guns of the squadron. In fact, the reduction of the place, which was capable of easy reinforcement from its railroad connections with the interior, was speedily ascertained to be an undertaking of no slight difficulty.*
* Butler's scheme, by which the Mississippi was to be turned from its course and Vicksburg made an inland town, was a failure. Vicksburg, it will be remembered, is situate opposite a peninsula, on the other side of the river, some three miles long by a mile wide, formed by the Mississippi doubling on its own coarse. Butler's plan was to cut a canal across this peninsula and persuade the river into a now channel; but the
Farragut determined to pass the batteries at Vicksburg. Accordingly, on the 28th of June, he did so, early in the morning, and eight out of the ten vessels under orders reached a part of Davis's fleet above, at the mouth of the Yazoo River. Davis joined Farragut at once above Vicksburg. The rebel ram Arkansas had been carried up the Yazoo River in May, and Col. Ellet went to look after and if possible destroy her; but he was unsuccessful. On the 15th of July, the Arkansas, completely iron-clad, and with ten guns, steamed down the Yazoo, dashed in among our gun boats and other vessels, and finally arrived in safety under the fortifications of Vicksburg.
Annoyed at this, Farragut the same evening, repassed the batteries, intending to bombard the Arkansas in passing; but the darkness prevented his carying out his plan. As the water in the Mississippi was falling, Farragut dropped down the river and reached New Orleans, July 28th. Davis sailed up the river, and in conjunction with Gen. Curtis, made a successful expedition up the Yazoo River.
For the present, at least, nothing further could be done with Vicksburg, and the rebels determined to regain possession of Baton Rouge. The ram Arkansas was to attack our few gun boats at the place, while Breckenridge from Camp Moore was to assault it by land. Our force at Baton Rouge, at the beginning of August, was weak, not more
soil of tough clay and the low state of the water showed that the plan was impracticable. Vicksburg therefore remained as it was, a formidable rebel post, requiring immense effort and labor to subdue.
than 2,000 effective men, Gen. William's being in command.
Aware of the approach of the enemy, on the 4th of August, Gen. Williams placed his troops in position outside the town, and the next morning the rebels appeared. The ram Arkansas, having repaired damages, was a short distance above, expecting to take part in the encounter. The attacking force was estimated at 6,000 men; Williams had only about one-third that number in good condition, but many of those on the sick list joined their comrades on the field, and fought with their accustomed bravery. Our limits do not admit of giving details; suffice it to say, that for five hours, under a blazing sun, the battle raged, and with the aid of the gun boats the rebels were defeated. Exhaustion and the intense heat rendered it impossible to pursue the enemy to any purpose. Gen. Williams was killed in the thickest of the fight, and our entire loss was reported to be nearly 300.
The ram Arkansas, part of her machinery being out of order, did not engage in the fight; but the next morning, Commander W. D. Porter, in the Essex, determined to make another effort for her destruction. Accordingly, as he writes in an off hand way to Farragut :—" This morning (August 5th) I steamed up the river; and at ten A.m. attacked the rebel ram Arkansas, and blew her up. There is not a fragment of her left. Her engines having given way, the ram was backed on shore and set on fire, and the crew, to the number of about 200, escaped."
The district of Lafourche, southwest of New Orleans, which has been termed the garden of Louisiana, for its richness, was occupied by staunch secessionists, who hated the United States heartily, and utterly detested the commanding general of the Gulf department and his doings. In the month of May, Col. Kinsman visited Lafourche district, and gave the people significant warning of what was in store for them if they resisted the authority of the United States. Col. Keith, at a later date, was in the same region, hunting after those wretches known as guerrillas, and by his promptitude in administering j ustice, repeated the warnings previously given. In the latter part of October, it was determined by Gen. Butler to send an expedition into this region and bring it directly under his control. General Weitzel was placed in command of the forces, a brigade of infantry and the requisite artillery and cavalry. By rapid movements, a spirited and successful action at Labadieville, and some less im
portant combats, Weitzel obtained, in some four days, complete possession of the entire district. Butler, with his usual promptitude, applied the confiscation act of July, 1862, to the Lafourche district, and by this, as well as other measures, caused the United States authority to be felt and respected by the inhabitants.
For some reasons never made public, but not difficult to imagine, the government had determined, early in November, to recall Gen. Butler, and place Gen. Banks in command, adding Texas to the department of the Gulf. Butler, unaware of this, was as busy as ever, hoping and praying for reinforcements; but on the evening of December 14th, Gen. Banks arrived at New Orleans, and made known to Butler that his services were no longer required in the department. On the 24th, Butler left New Orleans and returned to the North; Banks having entered upon his dutie* on the 16th of December.