of New Orleans, Farragut
made a formal request that the flag of the United States
, which he was about to raise upon the custom house, be respected with all the civil power of the city.
It appears from this note that on April 29, 1862, the city had for the first time formally surrendered to Flag-officer Farragut
Before this date, not after it, Mumford
had torn the flag down from a public building.
The city, until the surrender had been accomplished, was still under the authority of its own municipal officers.
The State, of which the city was a part, was still a State of secession, a State not yet brought into a Union of which she had declared herself ‘independent.’
Before the surrender was effected, on April 27, 1862, the flag of the United States
was a foreign flag.
As such, that flag possessed no more authority as a symbol than that of France
, two governments that, like the United States
, had at one time wielded authority in Louisiana
An insult to the flag constituted, under such circumstances, an act of war; in no sense an ‘overt act of treason.’
It could not under those circumstances deserve the penalty of death.
Before the military commission had decided against Mumford
, however, there is official testimony that his death had already been determined upon.
On April 29th, the day of the city's surrender, General Butler
, being at the time in the city, showed vindictiveness along with the faculty of observation:
I find the city under the dominion of the mob. They have insulted our flag—torn it down with indignity.
This outrage will be punished in such manner as, in my judgment, will caution both the perpetrators and abettors of the act, so that they shall fear the stripes, if they do not reverence the stars, of our banner.
If words convey purposes, William B. Mumford
was by them prejudged.
When they were written he was deprived