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[95] rage strove for the mastery. As our squadron neared the levee, our sailors gave a cheer, to which some few in the adjacent crowd responded, provoking thereby pistol-shots from the irate Rebels surrounding them. After a brief delay, Capt. Bailey was sent ashore to demand the surrender of the city; when the valorous mob received him with groans, hootings, and threats of violence, which did not prevent his proceeding, under the escort of more considerate citizens, to the Mayor's office; the mob that followed him contenting itself with assaults on such citizens as were suspected of Unionismn. On reaching the City Hall, he made his demand, requiring that the Federal flag be displayed from the public edifices; to which the Mayor responded, disclaiming any authority to comply A messenger was thereupon sent to Gen. Lovell, who informed Capt. Bailey that he had already evacuated the city, which he now formally turned over to the municipal authorities, leaving them to act as they should see fit. Capt. Bailey now returned to the fleet to await such action; and the Mayor, refusing to haul down the State flag from the City Hall, sent to the Common Council, which was in session, a message recommending that an answer be returned to Capt. Farragut, stating that the city, being incapable of offering further resistance, yielded to physical force alone, without giving up its allegiance to the Confederate Government, while it had no authority over the Custom-House, Post-Office, and Mint, and would do nothing with regard to them. This undignified and ridiculous betrayal of spite and chagrin was reiterated by the Mayor in a letter1 to Capt. Farragut, which was tersely and fitly


Mayor's Office, city of New Orleans, City Hall, April 20, 1862.
Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, United States flag-ship Hartford:
Sir — In pursuance of a resolution which we thought proper to take, out of regard for the lives of the women and children who still crowd the 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 council with the City Fathers, considered the demand you made of me yesterday of an unconditional surrender of the city, coupled with a requisition to hoist the flag of the United States on the public edifices, and haul down the flag that still floats upon the breeze from the dome of this Hall. It becomes my duty to transmit to you an answer which is the universal sentiment of my constituents no less than the promptings of my own heart on this sad and solemn occasion. The city is without the means of defense; and is utterly destitute of the force and material that might enable it to resist an 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 in the field. if I had one at command; and I know still less how to surrender an undefended place, held, as this is, at the mercy of your gunners and your mortars. To surrender such a place were an idle and unmeaning ceremony. The city is yours by the power of brutal force, not by my choice or the consent of its inhabitants. It is for you to determine what will be the fate that awaits us here. As to hoisting any flag not of our own adoption and allegiance, let me say to you that the man lives not in our midst whose hand and heart would not be paralyzed at the mere thought of such an act; nor could I find in my entire constituency so desperate and wretched 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 better cause than that to which you have devoted your sword. I doubt not that they spring from a noble though deluded nature: and I know how to appreciate the emotions which inspired them. You have a gallant people to administrate during your occupancy of this city — a people sensitive to all that can in the least affect their dignity and self-respect. Pray, Sir, do not fail to regard their susceptibilities. The obligations which I shall assume in their name shall be religiously complied with. You may trust their honor. though you might not count on their submission to unmerited wrong.

In conclusion, I beg you to understand that the people of New Orleans, while unable to resist your force, do not allow themselves to be insulted by the interference of such as have rendered themselves odious and contemptible by their dastardly desertion of our cause in the mighty struggle in which we are engaged, or such as might remind them too forcibly that they are the conquered and you the conquerors. Peace and order may be preserved without resort to measures which I could not at this moment prevent. Your occupying the city does not transfer allegiance from the government of their choice to one which they have deliberately repudiated; and they yield the obedience which the conqueror is entitled to extort from the conquered.


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