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At ten o'clock in the evening Sheridan wires these words to Belknap, Secretary of War:

New Orleans: Jan. 4, 1875.
It is with deep regret that I have to announce to you the existence in this State of a spirit of defiance to all lawful authority, and an insecurity of life which is hardly realized by the General Government or the country at large. The lives of citizens have become so jeopardized, that, unless something is done to give protection to the people, all security usually afforded by law will be over-ridden. Defiance to the laws and the murder of individuals seem to be looked upon by the community here from a standpoint which gives impunity to all who choose to indulge in either, and the civil government appears powerless to punish or even arrest. I have to-night assumed control over the Department of the Gulf.

This Department of the Gulf, comprising three great States-Louisiana, Missisippi, and Arkansas, with all the forts and stations in the Gulf of Mexico, except the forts in Mobile Bay — are swept by one stroke of the pen from McDowell's Division of the South.

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