Butler's rule in New Orleans

The following correspondence, which appears in a late number of the New Orleans Deltas, explains the reason why Mayor Monroe was sent to Fort Jackson. It will be seen that Butler deliberately reaffirms, though pretending to quality, his base libel upon the ladies of New Orleans. The qualification, if possible, is more infamous than the original offence:

State of La., Mayoralty of New Orleans.,

City Hall, May 18th, 1862.
Major Gen. Benj. F. Butter, Commanding U. S. Forces:

--Your general order No. 28. of date of 15th inst., is of a character so extraordinary and astounding, that I cannot, holding the office of Chief Magistrate of this city, chargeable with its peace and dignity, suffer it to be promulgated in our presence without protesting against the threat it contains, which has already roused the passions of our people, and must exasperate them to a degree beyond control. Your officers and soldiers are permitted by the terms of this order to place any construction they may please upon the conduct of our wives and daughters, and upon such construction to offer them atrocious insults.

The peace of the city and the safety of your officers and soldiers from harm or insult have, I affirm, been successfully secured to an extent enabling them to move through our streets almost unnoticed, recording to the understanding and agreement entered into between yourself and the city authorities. I did not, however, anticipate a war upon women and children, who, so far as aware, have only manifested their displeasure at the occupation of their city by those whom they believe to be their enemies.

I will never undertake to be responsible for the peace of New Orleans while such an edict, which infuriates our citizens, remains in force.

To give a license to the officers and soldiers of your command to commit outrages such as are indicated in your order, upon defenceless women, is in my judgment, a reproach to the civilization, not to say to the Christianity, of the age, in whose name I make this protest. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

John T. Monroe, Mayor.

Immediately upon the receipt of this epistle, the Provost Marshal brought the Mayor before Gen. Butler. The Mayor was then told that the language of the letter would not be tolerated, and that of he believed that he could no longer control the "aroused passions of the people," he would be received of any responsibility for the tranquility of the city, and sent to a place of safety himself, to-wi Fort Jackson. The Mayor said that he only desired to vindicate the honor of the virtuous women of the city. He was informed that there was no vindication needed, because the order did not contemplate any virtuous woman, for the General did not believe that such person, by word, gesture or movement, meant to insult any one of his officers or soldiers. And the order implied to no others, save those that had insulted the troops.

The Mayor said with this explanation he was satisfied, and would withdraw his letter. He therefore signed the following written apology, and left for his home:

General Butler:

This communication having been sent under a mistake of fact, and being improper in language, I desire to apologize for the some and to withdraw it. John T. Connor, Mayor.

May 16, 1861.

Now the matter touching Order No. 28 was supposed to have been ended.

But this course did not suit the keepers of John T. Monroe, and in the evening of the same day Gen. Butler received the following letter:

Mayoralty of New Orleans,

City Hall, May 16, 1862.
Major General Butler:

--Having misunderstood you yesterday in relation to your General Order No. 28, I wish to withdraw the endorsement I made on the letter addressed to you yesterday. Please deliver the letter to my Secretary, Mr. Duncan, who will hand you this note.

Your obedient servant,

John T. Monroe, Mayor.

To this General Butler returned the following answer:

Headq'rs Department of the Cully,

New Orleans, May 18, 1862.
--There can be, there has been, no room for misunderstanding of General Order No. 18.

No lady will take any notice of a strange gentleman, and a fortiori of a stranger simply in such form as to attract attention, Common women do.

Therefore, whenever woman, lady, or mistress, gentle or simple, who, by gesture, look, or word, insult, shows contempt for, thus attracting to herself the notice of my officers and soldiers, will be deemed to act he becomes her vocation as a common woman, and will be liable to be treated accordingly. This was most fully explained to you at my office.

I shall not, as I have not, hate a single word of that order, it was well considered, and if obeyed, will protect the tone and modest women from all possible insult. The others will take care of themselves.

You can publish your letter, if you publish this note and your apology.


Best. F. Betish,
Major-General Commanding.

Backed down.

The New Orleans has ingloriously backed out of its positions on cotton burning, as will be seen from the following correspondence in the Picayune:

New Orleans May 21, 1862.
To Major-Gen. Butler, Commander in-Chief of the Department of the Gul.:
General — Our article of the 16th inst., in reference to cotton, was thought by you to have been "an elaborate though covert argument in favor of the cotton-burning mob. " We desire frankly to assure you that you were mistaken in listener.

We have not intended, and do not intend, to advocate the destruction of cotton or other crops by the Southern people. We believe it to be a barbarous and wanton waste of property, not to be tolerated by the civilized world.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient Serv'ts,

C. F. Whisen& Co.

Upon the publication of the foregoing note the Bee may resume its publication and the business of its Office. Benj F. Builer,

Major General Commending.

How the people are to pray.

Usurping the prerogative of the Almighty, as will be seen by the following order, our enemies have undertaken to prescribe the from and the substantiae of the people's prayers. They are required to pray for the success of those who have invaded their homes, insulted their wives and daughters, and attempted to arm their slaves and incite them to insurrection — or, which is the same thing, they are forbidden to invoke the blessings of Heaven upon a gallant army in expelling such a foe from their midst. In forbidding us to pray for the success of our, cause, they require us to pray for the success of theirs.

Office Mil'y Comm'dt of New Orleans.

City Hall, May 28, 1862.
hereafter, in the churches in the city of New Orleans, prayers will not be offered up for the destruction of the Union or Constitution of the United States, for the success of the rebel armies, for the Confederate States, so called, or any officers of the same, civil or military, in their official capacity.

While protection will be afforded to all churches, religious houses and establishments, and religious "services are to be had as in times of profound peace," this protection will not be allowed to be perverted to the upholding of treason or advocacy of it in any form. Where thus perverted, it will be withdrawn. G. F. Shepley,

Military Commandant.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Butler (8)
John T. Monroe (4)
C. F. Whisen (1)
Shepley (1)
Picayune (1)
Duncan (1)
John T. Connor (1)
Commending (1)
Benjamin F. Butter (1)
Benj F. Builer (1)
F. Betish (1)
Bee (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 18th, 1862 AD (2)
May 28th, 1862 AD (1)
May 21st, 1862 AD (1)
May 16th, 1862 AD (1)
May 16th, 1861 AD (1)
16th (1)
15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: