previous next

[292] received evidence fully establishing the truth of the fact that the said William B. Mumford, a citizen of the Confederacy, was actually and publicly executed in cold blood by hanging, after the occupation of the city of New-Orleans by the forces under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, when said Mumford was an unresisting and non-combatant captive, and for no offence even alleged to have been committed by him subsequent to the date of the capture of the said city ;

And whereas, the silence of the Government of the United States, and its maintaining the said Butler in high office under its authority for many months after his commission of an act that can be viewed in no other light than as a deliberate murder, as well as of numerous other outrages and atrocities hereafter to be mentioned, afford evidence too conclusive that the said government sanctions the conduct of the said Butler, and is determined that he shall remain unpunished for these crimes:

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the confederate States of America, and in their name, do pronounce and declare the said Benjamin F. Butler to be a felon, deserving of capital punishment. I do order that he shall no longer be considered or treated simply as a public enemy of the confederate States of America, but as an outlaw and common enemy of mankind, and that, in the event of his capture the officer in command of the capturing force do cause him to be immediately executed by hanging.

And I do further order that no commissioned officer of the United States, taken captive, shall be released on parole, before exchange, until the said Butler shall have met with due punishment for his crime.

And whereas, the hostilities waged against this Confederacy by the forces of the United States, under the command of the said Benjamin F. Butler, have borne no resemblance to such warfare as is alone permissible by the rules of international law, or the usage of civilization, but have been characterized by repeated atrocities and outrages, among the large number of which the following may be cited as examples:

Peaceful and aged citizens, unresisting captives and non-combatants, have been confined at hard labor, with hard chains attached to their limbs, and are still so held in dungeons and fortresses.

Others have been submitted to a like degrading punishment for selling medicines to the sick soldiers of the Confederacy.

The soldiers of the United States have been invited and encouraged in general orders to insult and outrage the wives, the mothers, and the sisters of our citizens.

Helpless women have been torn from their homes and subjected to solitary confinement, some in fortresses and prisons, and one especially on an island of barren sand under a tropical sun; have been fed with loathsome rations that had been condemned as unfit for soldiers, and have been exposed to the vilest insults.

Prisoners of war, who surrendered to the naval forces of the United States on agreement that they should be released on parole, have been seized and kept in close confinement.

Repeated pretexts have been sought or invented for plundering the inhabitants of the captured city, by fines levied and collected under threat of imprisoning recusants at hard labor with ball and chain. The entire population of New-Orleans have been forced to elect between starvation by the confiscation of all their property and taking an oath against conscience to bear allegiance to the invader of their country.

Egress from the city has been refused to those whose fortitude withstood the test, and even to lone and aged women, and to helpless children; and after being ejected from their homes and robbed of their property, they have been left to starve in the streets or subsist on charity.

The slaves have been driven from the plantations in the neighborhood of New-Orleans until their owners would consent to share their crops with the Commanding General, his brother, Andrew J. Butler, and other officers; and when such consent had been extorted, the slaves have been restored to the plantations, and there compelled to work under the bayonets of the guards of the United States soldiers. Where that partnership was refused, armed expeditions have been sent to the plantations to rob them of every thing that was susceptible of removal.

And even slaves, too aged or infirm for work, have, in spite of their entreaties, been forced from their homes provided by their owners, and driven to wander helpless on the highway.

By a recent general order, number ninety-one, the entire property in that part of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, has been sequestrated for confiscation, and officers have been assigned to duty with orders to gather up and collect the personal property, and turn over to the proper officers upon their receipts, such of said property as may be required for the use of the United States army; to collect together all the other personal property and bring the same to New-Orleans, and cause it to be sold at public auction to highest bidders — an order which, if executed, condemns to punishment, by starvation, at least a quarter of a million of human beings, of all ages, sexes, and conditions, and of which the execution, although forbidden to military officers by the orders of President Lincoln, is in accordance with the confiscation law of our enemies which he has effected to be enforced through the agency of civil officials.

And, finally, the African slaves have not only been incited to insurrection by every license and encouragement, but numbers of them have actually been armed for a servile war — a war in its nature far exceeding the horrors and most merciless atrocities of savages.

And whereas, the officers under command of said Butler have been, in many instances, active and zealous agents in the commission of these crimes, and no instance is known of the refusal of any one of them to participate in the outrages above narrated.

And whereas, the President of the United

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Benjamin F. Butler (3)
William B. Mumford (2)
Andrew J. Butler (2)
Abraham Lincoln (1)
Jefferson Davis (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: