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Text for Page 224 [02-08-1863]

              207
                      In New Orleans.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
The Owasco returned to this port on the morning
of the 6th of this month.  What information she
brought beyond the general statement that the
Rebels were very busy building batteries, is un-
known.  Its importance may be surmised by the
fact that Commodore Farragut left on the same
evening, in the City of Hartford, for Galveston.
  Capt. Wilson is of the opinion that the Harriet
Lane is seriously disabled.  He declares that he saw
a small river steamer towing her up the stream, as
for repairs.  It may be remembered that at the
taking of the unfortunate vessel, a Lieut. Lee of the
U. S. N. was killed.  The Owasco reports that his
father, a Lieut.-Colonel in the Rebel service, read
that of the burial for the dead over the remains of
his son.  He spoke of his loss as a personal sacrifice
to the Southern cause.
  You may look upon the bombardment of Galves-
ton, sooner or later, as a foregone conclusion.  It
may not occur immediately, nor should I wonder if
Commodore Farragut�s voyage involved a general
cruise to the different ports blockaded by our fleet in
the Gulf. Yesterday morning, the Secessionists of
New-Orleans were jubilantly ascribing his de-
parture to a disaster at Mobile�an attack on Ship
Island�danger up the river.  Each day brings its
batch of rumors, begot by the father of lies, for the
temporary elation of his children.  I know a score
of places within pistol-shot of this hotel, where I
could, every alternate day, obtain �news� for you
of a most surprising character, with the only draw-
back of its entire falsity.  Rabelais�s giant, Hear-
say, who was fed upon rumors, might eat to satiety
now in New-Orleans.  He has established his head-
quarters here.
  On the 6th, came a vessel under a flag of truce
from Madisonville, across Lake Pontchartrain, to
Hickox�s Landing.  It had on board six Rebel of-
ficers, who were desirous of signifying to Gen.
Banks that, as the majority of prisoners predom-
inated on their side, they desired a speedy exchange
of such Confederate soldiers as are confined in the
Custom-House or elsewhere. Conversing among
themselves they spoke bitterly of Capt. Frank B.
Mancosos, who not long ago deserted from the
Rebel service, effecting his escape by the accidental
death of two of his pursuers.  Accusing him of
murder, they swore to retaliate in the event of his
falling into their hands.
  On the same day an informal and private meeting
of planters of this vicinity occurred in this hotel,
for the purpose of adopting some resolutions in ac-
cordance with a recent order of Gen. Banks, rec-
ommending the payment of slaves for their labor.
In accordance with this, the Sequestration Commis-
sion (acting under the General�s instruction) has
issued the following notice:
			NEW-ORLEANS, Feb. 5, 1863.
  The officers of the Government will induce the slaves to
return to the plantations where they belong, with their fami-
lies, and when returned will require them, and those remain-
ing upon the plantation, to work diligently and faithfully for
one year, to maintain respectful deportment to their employ-
ers, and perfect subordination to their duties, upon condition
that the planters or other employers will feed, clothe, and
treat them properly, and give to them at the end of the year
one-twentieth part of the year�s crop, or a fixed monthy
compensation, in cases where it may be more convenient, as
follows:
Mechanics, sugar-makers, drivers, &c������..$3 each.
Able-bodied field men������������� 2 each.
Able-bodied field women, house servants, nurses, &c.  1 each.
  The proportion reserved for the slaves shall be divided into
shares and distributed according to the value of their labor,
follows:
Mechanics, sugar-makers, drivers, &c���.....3 shares each.

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
Able-bodied field men����������..2 shares each.
Able-bodied field women, house servants, nurses,
  &c������������������2 shares each.
  All negroes not otherwise employed will be required to
labor upon the public works, and no person capable of labor
will be supported at the public expense in idleness.
		     E. G. BECKWITH, Col., 
			Pres. Sequestration Commission.
  Gen. Banks was present at the planters�meeting
before mentioned, and obliged those assembled with
an explanation of his views and intentions.  After
some discussion they determined to accept the ar-
rangement proposed, and agreed to abide by it for
one year from the date thereof, it being distinctly
understood that the crop referred to meant the com-
mercial crop, and that the acceptance of the contract
did not imply the surrender of any right of property
in the slaves, or other right of the owner.  In other
words, the planters made the best of what they con-
sider a compulsory bargain, being as tenacious as is
possible of their human chattels.
  In accordance with this agreement, Gen. Banks
has, under the date of February 6, issued a circular
authorizing the reception of signatures to it, and pro-
viding for the carrying out in good faith the pro-
visions on the part of the authorities.
  The action of these planters�there were not
forty present in all at the meeting, the most promi-
nent being a Mr. Cottman�will probably be largely
imitated, not, however, without much grumbling by
those who are disposed to regard President Lincoln�s
exception of these parishes from emancipation as
authorizing their return to the old normal diabolism
of Slavery.  I heard indignant comment to this
effect in the rotunda of the St. Charles only this
morning.
  From up the river we have advices to the 6th.  It
is rising rapidly, and those familiar with it predict
its attaining an unusual altitude.  If so, there may
be grounds (or rather waters) for the apprehension 
of those dangerous crevasses alluded to by me in a
fromer letter.  By the way, the one I described, be-
low the city, has increased, swamped an additional
couple of fields, inundated the little village of negro
quarters, and now threatens the islanding of the
planter�s mansion and sugar-house.
  One good thing has, however, come of the rising
of the Mississippi, as a set off against our prospect-
ive drowning.  The cut-off, or canal at Vicksburg, is
a success!  We hear of there being nine feet of
water in it already, of a dredging boat having passed
through it, of Union field batteries at either end!
The Secessionists here are horrible apprehensive on
the subject, I promise you.  Almost as much so as of
the return of Gen. Butler.
  At Baton Rouge, until very recently, nothing
seems to have transpired of consequence.  The Es-
sex keeps watch and ward on the river above, as
usual, occasionally steaming up to within a safe dis-
tance of Port Hudson, just to see how things look
in that direction.  At Louisiana�s capital, in order to
avoid any gratuitous panic, in case of attack, it is
undertood among the inhabitants that if they hear
the �long roll� beat they are to flock to the levee,
there to abide the turn of events.  The 174th New-
York is now quartered in the penitentiary; the 8th
New-Hampshire (once on the opposite side of the river)
near the United States barracks.  On the [unclear words]
of the preceeding month the first-mentioned [unclear word]
ment gave a �minstrel� entertainment in the [unclear word]
hall of their building, at which Gens. [unclear words]
and Dudley, and many field and staff officers [unclear words]
ed.  The pecuniary results, $140, were de[unclear words]               
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