Chapter 24: New Orleans.Although depressed by the loss of the victory virtually won by General Johnston at Shiloh, because “someone had blundered” after his death, the people were still far from being hopeless of final success. They knew that we were still masters of the river south of Fort Pillow, and they believed that we should be able still to retain the rich valley of the lower Mississippi. But general disappointment and a temporary feeling of alarm suddenly arose from an event unexpected, and never hitherto feared: the fall of New Orleans, which had been regarded as strong enough to repel the attacking force. Such also had been the belief of General Lovell, the military commander there, as late as December 5, 1861. Chains were stretched across the approaches to New Orleans, and obstructions sunk in the river at the narrowest points; the forts had been all strengthened; but all these were passed. Our new ram, the Jlississzippi, was destroyed by our forces, and all the machinery and materiel  of war was lost, and the key to the Mississippi was in the enemy's hands. The loss of New Orleans was a terrible disaster. But deeply as its capture was deplored by the Confederates, the spirit of the people did not become despondent, and a series of Confederate victories soon revived their most ardent hopes of achieving national independence. General Butler was soon inaugurated as the autocratic ruler of the city. His course in hanging Mumford upon the charge of hauling down the United States flag from the Mint, of which act he was innocent, and in issuing “Order no. 28,” excited strong resentment not only in the South, but in the North and abroad, but does not properly come within the scope of a biography of the President of the Confederacy. The moral effect of his infamous “Order no. 28” was great, and reconciled whomsoever might have differed from the policy of the Confederate leaders within our borders.1  Butler's government in New Orleans, and his assaults upon the helpless women and noncombatants, filled our army with horror and indignation. Upon the receipt of a copy of this infamous order, President Davis issued his proclamation as follows: After reciting that General Halleck had put General Lee off by delay, to avoid either avowal or disavowal of General Butler's cruel course in the execution of an innocent noncombatant, the President said:
In the House of Lords, on the T3th, Lord Carnarvon called attention to General Butler's proclamation relative to the ladies of New Orleans, and condemned it in severe terms as without precedent in the annals of war. He asked if the Government had information of its authenticity, and if it had protested against it. He also asked if there was any truth in the rumors of the mediation of France and England. The success of such mediation would depend greatly upon the manner in which, and the time when, it was offered, but he trusted the Government was in position to give the subject favorable consideration. Earl Russell said that, from Lord Lyons's despatches, the Government believed the proclamation to be authentic, but with respect to any action of the United States Government, in the way of approval or disapproval, they had no information. Lord Lyons had made no representation to the American Government upon the subject, and he did not appear to have any information respecting the proclamation upon which he could do so. For his own part, he (Russell) hoped the American  Government would, for its own sake, refuse its sanction to and disapprove the proclamation. It was important to the whole world that the usages of war should not be aggravated by proclamations of this kind. He then gave the explanation of the treatment the proclamation referred to, but thought such proclamation, addressed to forces which had just captured a hostile town, was likely to lead to great brutality. He therefore thought this explanation was no defence for the proclamation, and sincerely hoped the American Government would disavow it. With respect to the rumors of mediation, Earl Russell was glad the question had been put, for the rumors were likely to lead to much mischief. Her Majesty's Government had made no proposal to France, and the French Government had made no proposal to England; and therefore upon this subject there had been no communications of any kind between the two Governments. Without, however, giving any opinion as to the propriety of offering mediation at some future time, if circumstances should prove favorable, he must say that at the present time such mediation appeared to him to be the most inopportune. He conceived that in the embittered state of feeling in America, it would not only lead to no good, but would retard  the time for such offer being favorably made. Mr. Hopwood asked if there was any truth in the mediation rumors. Lord Palmerston said that no communication had been received from the French Government on the subject; and as to the British Government, they had no intention at present to offer mediation.