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shipped down the Bayou Teche to New Orleans, to Colonel Holabird, chief quartermaster of the Department of the Gulf. Opelousas is inland, that is, not on the Teche, and no cotton was sent thence by water. There was no way to send cotton thence by water. The cotton was shipped from Barre's Landing under the direction of the quartermaster of that post, which was under the immediate command of Colonel Greenleaf, of the Fifty-second Massachusetts Regiment. I don't recall his name. I have no knowledge of the shipment of any cotton to any other person at New Orleans than Coionel Holabird, that is, from that part of the country where I was military governor. I had no official knowledge of what became of the cotton after it passed out of my lines. It is my supposition that it all went to Colonel Holabird, as he was chief quartermaster.
I was ordered to Barre's Landing on May 5, 1863, and assumed command there on the 11th following. I left Barre's Landing Thursday, May 21, 1863. I left no troops at Opelousas. All went with me to Barre's Landing. I cannot state whether all the cotton, sugar, &c., bronght into Opelousas before I left it as above, had been removed when I lett it. When I left Barre's Landing as above, the post there was abandoned, and all the products of the country previously brought there were, to the best of my knowledge, removed. I moved from there with my train and troops to Berwick, opposite New Orleans, and on Tuesday, May 26, reported to Colonel Chandler, quartermaster at Brashear City, and turned over my whole train to him. If the train contained any cotton, it wasn't much. While I was military governor, as above, our established lines did not extend beyond Opelousas and Barre's Landing, but we had communication between those two places all the time. Our parties used to go out say ten or fifteen miles into the enemy's country. The parties went under strong escort.
Cross-examination conducted by DARWIN E. WARE, Esq., for the United States: Q. When did your seizures begin in the Saint Landry district ?-A. April 20, 1863, or about then; I took command at Opelousas on that day, and we went right about it. That was what we were put there for.
Q. What personal supervision did you give to these seizures ?-A. None.
Q. What supervision did you have of the reports of seizures made by parties detailed by you ?-A. Reports would be made by the officers of the foraging parties to the quartermaster of the post, and his books were submitted to me daily.
Q. With what particularity as to means of identification as to ownership, &c., were the reports of the quartermaster submitted to you made 1-A. The cotton was reported as taken from such and such a plantation.
Q. Were there any means of identifying the cotton after seizure, by marks showing from what plantation the cotton came?-A. I can't state from my own knowledge that there were. To the best of my knowledge and belief, whenever cotton was receipted for, the receipts run for so many bales of cotton marked so and so. If there was any order given to give receipts, it was a verbal order. I cannot say whether any such order was given. There was no written order to that effect.
Q: Did the quartermaster's books submitted to you contain memoranda of the marks on the cotton, showing plantations from which it was taken ?-A. Yes.
Q. From what towns in the neighborhood of Opelousas were these seizures madeA. I cannot specify the towns. I can only say that they were made within 10 or 15 miles of Opelousas or Barre's Landing. These places were about 8 miles apart.
Q. Were the seizures of cotton made exclusively in any particular locality in the neighborhood of Opelousas ?-A. No.
Q. For how long a time from the time when you began were these seizures made, and were they made continuously, or at intervals ?-A. They were made from April 20 to May 21. They were made continuously.
Q. Were they made after you ceased to be commander of the post ?-A. No.
Q. What was done with the cotton, in the way of storage, upon its arrival at Opelousas, or what was done with it ?--A. In some cases it was piled up on vacant lots. In other cases it was sent right through to Barre's Landing.
Q. When sent through to Barre's Landing was it sent in charge of the parties which brought it in, or how otherwise ?-A. The same train and guard that brought it in would carry it through.
Q. In that case would the cotton be reported to your quartermaster ?-A. Yes; I think in every case.
Q: Would the party, in such case, on arriving at Opelousas, receive new orders for its delivery at Barre's Landing, in writing ?-A. No
Q. To whom would the parties deliver it at Barre's Landing, in such case ?-A. To the post quartermaster. I can't recall his name.
Q. Was the post quartermaster at Barre's Landing under your command during these seizures and before you assumed command there ?-A. No.
Q. Did the shipment of cotton at Barre's Landing to Brashear City proceed during these seizures, and before you assumed command there!-A. I suppose so. My official kpowledge did not extend beyond Barre's Landing during the period inquired of,
Q. Did the reports of cotton received by the post quartermaster at Barre’s Landing, before you took command there, come under your official supervision !-A. No.
Q. Had you official supervision, then, of the shipments of cotton from Barre's Landing that took place before you assumed command there!-A. No.
Q. What was the process of sending to Barre's Landing the cotton seized, which, when brought in, was stored at Opelousas, before you assumed command at Barre's Landing, as regards documentary vouchers ? —A. There were no vouchers. That is, I know of none. None were given or received at the time of transfer of cotton from Opelousas to Barre's Landing. When cotton was so sent, it was without any written order slowing what cotton was so sent.
Q. Were there ever any occasions for comparing the books of the post quarterinasters at Opelousas and at Barre's Landing, to see whether they corresponded 1A. No; I know of none.
Q. After you took command at Barre's Landing, were any shipments of cotton made from there to Brashear City 1-A. Yes.
Q. What proportion of all you seized was so shipped ?-A. It would be hardly more than griess-work to answer. I should think about a third.
Q. What was the process of shipment after you took command at Barre's Landing, as regards documentary vouchers to or from yourself 1-A. There were no vouchers given
or received by me. Q. What was the aggregate amount of cotton seized by you at this time-from the time of arrival at Opelousas to your departure from Barre's Landing ?-A. I should say over 6,000 bales; not far from that.
Q. Did you seize any cotton which, at the time of seizure, was not in bales 1-A. I do not remember of any.
Q. Was this cotton all of one quality, or how otherwise, and what was its general character ?-A. I don't know anything about it.
Q. Who had charge of the shipment of cotton at Barre's Landing after you assumed command there?-A. My post quartermaster. It was Lieutenant Stoddard, I think.
Q. Under what orders from you as to its destination was it so shipped ?-A. To deliver it to the quartermaster at Brashear City. It went aboard steamers.
Q. What steamers transported it 1--A. I remember the naine of only one, and that was the Louisiana Belle; there were several others.
Q. After the arrival of the cotton at Brashear City, have you any further knowledge of its destination, or what became of it?-A. No.
Q. What was the character of the territory in which these seizures were made, as to hostility to the United States, and were there differences in this particular between different localities !-A. I considered them all, the inhabitants of this part of Louisiana, as hostile to the United States, and enemies, although they were not in arms. They claimed the protection of the United States Government as being foreigners. They were all French there. They almost all of them had some of their male people in the war on the Confederate side.
Q. Did yon know any or all of these plaintiffs when you were in command there, personally or by reputation ?-A. No; I heard such names; they were common there.
Q. Did you receive any aid or manifestation of friendliness from any of these claimants while you were in command in this locality ?-A. I know of none; or from auy of the inhabitants.
Q. Is there any benefit of any kind to yourself depending upon the result of these claims? A. No.
Q. Have you had any correspondence with any of these claimants or personal interviews in regard to these claims, directly or indirectly ?-A. None, to my knowledge.
Q. Have you stated the names of all the officers of whom you bave any recollections as baving anything to do with these seizures? If not, please add them.-A. No, I have not. I will add the names of Capt. David J. Bunker, Boston; Capt. Lyman W. Gould, Boston; Capt. Francis E. Boyd, Boston; First Lieut. Bradley Dean, Boston; First Lieut. James W. Hervey, New Bedford; First Lieut. William M. Gifford, Boston; First Lieut. Wesley A. Gore, Boston; First Lieut. David P. Mussey, Cambridge; First Lieut. C. W. C. Rhodes, Boston; Second Lieut. E. H. Robbins, New Bedford; Second Lieut. Charles Stone, Lawrence; Second Lieut. William Harris, jr., Boston; Second Lieut. John H. Weston, Boston ; Second Lieut. Auios Heafield, Salem.
Re-examined by John J. WEED, Esq. : Q. Was not Barre's Landing the natural shipping point to New Orleans from the district in which you made the above seizures 1--A. It was, and it was the only one used by us, to my knowledge.
The witness then states:
1. E. CHICKERING. August 18, 19, 1870. Sworn to and subscribed before me. (SEAL.]
FRANCIS W. PALFREY, Commissioner of the Court of Claims.
Report of Col. S. B. Holabird, assistant quartermaster, U. S. A. From House Ex. Doc. No. 97, Thirty-ninth Congress, second session, pages 28-40.
WASHINGTON, D. C., August, 1866. GENERAL: I have the honor to submit an account, marked A, of the cotton, &c., received at New Orleans during the war; also paper B, wherein the disposition of it is set forth; and account C, exhibiting the proceeds thereof in money. In explanation, it should be stated that this report gives an account of cotton seized, or in military possession by seizure, or from some question being raised as to its disposition. There was cotton received and transported under the Treasury regulations not included herein, as it was only handled as matter of freight. The cotton sent to New York and Boston, it is presumed, was sold by the Treasury officers, as no returns were ever made to me of any sales thereof. It will be perceived in account C that 2,700 bales (it ought probably to be 270) were disposed of by the United States provisional court, and really this amount ought not to appear in this report; but finding it mentioned on the memorandum drawn from my accounts, it is included, although it was not controlled or managed by the military authorities, except in so far as its transportation may have been concerned. There are 1,207 bales of cotton derived from cotton collected from the batteries, bridges, trenches, hospitals, camps, and fields, &c., in and around the works of Port Hudson, by negro troops and contrabands, under the general supervision of Brigadier-General George L. Andrews, commanding the post, and in obedience to department orders marked D. This cotton mentioned was, by the exertion of the people, so much clear gain to the Government, for it was all essentially lost to it, although a portion of it would, in all probability, have been collected and disposed of by adventurers and army followers. This cotton may have been the remains, originally, of twice or thrice the number of bales mentioned ; of course it was, much of it, in incredibly bad order, having been buried in the earth, used for beds, and some of it stained with the blood of our soldiers mutilated in the siege of Port Hudson. One hundred thousand dollars of the proceeds of this cotton was applied in the Quartermaster's Department, and not specially mentioned here. The proceeds of this cotton may be said to have covered all the expenses of the schools for the poor colored people in Louisiana up to 1865, and possibly through that year. There is a lot of 404 bales of cotton from the Brazos (Schedule A), captured by the enterprise of the troops on the Rio Grande, and several hundred miles from the fields where it was grown, which cotton was sold by direction of the commander of the Department of the Gulf to assist in paying for the steamers and vessels lost in the expedition to Brazos Santiago and the Rio Grande. There was much more captured there and sold, but I have not been furnished with an account of it; it was applied in the Quartermaster's Department by like authority and for a like purpose. The cotton released to parties was done so upon proper orders, by authority of the military commander and Treasury officers, although set down as done by my orders--a custom thus adopted by snch officers and persons as had charge of it subordinate to me. A great deal, held only for freight and belonging to private parties, thus stands released to C. A. Weed & Co., they being commission merchants or Treasury agents, and acting for several others, who were the owners, in so recovering this cotton. Finally, at the risk of tediousness, I wish to set down my testimony that the most of the cotton and other products gathered west of the Atchafalaya River, in 1863, was so gathered and delivered at points of transportation by the negro slaves of the country, who, with rare tact and industry, used the teams of their masters who had fled to the enemy and brought it from all manner of hiding places, in swamps and forests, as well as from the plantations of their masters. They seemed to be impressed with the belief that they were thus doing the Government some service, and earning their transportation to freedom and food from its officers. It was owing to their efforts that it could be thus moved, in the midst of rapid operations, without any real attention being given to the subject. I saw a large amount of cotton thus gathered and delivered at Barry's Landing. It should be stated that, in many instances, these poor people bauled out and deposited cotton where it could not be taken away, and where it had to be abandoned altogether to returning enemies or the flames kindled by guerillas. The proceeds of twenty or thirty bales, more or less, were transferred to the supervising agent of Treasury at New Orleans, and not included in this account, although sold under my general directions, they having been special cases involving conflicting and doubtful claims or violations of military orders. Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. HOLABIRD,
Brevet-Colonel, Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. A. Maj. Gen. M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. A.
Nov. 18 Taken by M. McKee, on order Colonel
Vermillion ville, for military pur.
Delivered to Brott & Davis, 20
Ditto, 28 sacks
This cotton was delivered by the
steamer at Natchez, Miss.