Doc. 176.-General Banks's order.
headquarters Department of the Gulf, New-Orleans, September 28, 1863.General orders, No. 70: I. The heroic efforts of the army of the United States have reestablished the free navigation of the Mississippi and its tributaries. The vindication of the freedom of these waters by the iron hand of war against a confederation of rebel States is an event of equal import with their discovery and settlement, and makes the Union a nation. It is a baptism of blood. In a brief period of time this vast and fertile valley will be opened to the peaceful commerce of the world. Notwithstanding the ravages of war, the destruction of property, the dispersion of laborers, and the decimation of population, the inhabitable globe does not offer a nobler theatre for intelligent enterprise than the valley of the Mississippi. The cultivation of new products, the application of new elements and different systems of labor, the immediate reorganization of local governments, and the resistless energy of many millions of freemen, will create individual and national wealth, such as the world has never seen. Never was a country better worth fighting for, better worth defending. The highest duty of the people is to maintain and defend the freedom of the Mississippi, upon which depends the support of the present and the hope of the future. The Government is entitled to the armed assistance of all those who claim the right of citizens or seek to share their privileges. Those who covet the profits of trade, disclaiming citizenship and acknowledging allegiance to foreign nations only, remain here by permission and favor, and not of right. In the performance of this duty, and to assist in maintaining the important advantages secured by a free communication between the valley of the Mississippi and the markets of the world, the citizens of the First and Second Congressional Districts of Louisiana, liable to military duty, have been enrolled for general military service, in accordance with the provisions of the law of conscription, passed by Congress, so far as it may be applicable to this Department. Proper publication will be hereafter made of the number of troops required for this purpose, and the time and manner of their selection. The conscription will not be held to embrace those well-disposed persons who, in the event of capture by the enemy, would not be entitled to the full immunity of soldiers of the United States. II. The organization of one or more volunteer regiments, to be designated “The Louisiana volunteers,” whose services will be limited by the term of enlistment, to the protection and defence of New-Orleans, is hereby authorized. Volunteers for this service will receive a bounty of one hundred dollars, twenty-five dollars of which and one month's pay will be advanced when the volunteer is mustered into service for the war. Captain C. W. Killborn, Provost-Marshal of the  city of New-Orleans, is. charged with the immediate organization and command of the first regiment; Captain R. B. Brown, Provost-Marshal of the parish of Jefferson, is authorized to organize and command the second regiment. The first regiment will be recruited and organized in the city of New-Orleans, excepting the Fourth District, and the second within the limits of the parish of Jefferson, and the Fourth District of New-Orleans. III. Able-bodied men of color between the ages of twenty and thirty years, employed upon Government or on private plantations, will be detailed for military service in the Corps d'afrique, upon order of the Commission of Enrolment. No officer or other person is allowed to recruit men for any special regiment of that corps; and every officer recruiting for this corps under this order will be furnished with, and required to exhibit, authority for his acts, signed by the Superintendent of Recruiting, and approved by the Commission of Enrolments. Substitutes will be received in cases where the labor of the recruit is specially required, and exemptions allowed in cases of necessity, upon application to the Commission of Enrolment, but by no other person or authority. Arrangements will be made to secure the crops of the season, and laborers will be furnished as far as practicable to supply the vacancies occasioned by the execution of this order. The first duty of those engaged in the cultivation of the soil is to protect it from invasion, and those whose interests are inconsistent with a vigorous defence of the Department, or who are indifferent to the invasions of a public enemy, can have no rights which the Government is bound to respect.