William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook
Hd Qrs Detach. 7th Vt InptFort Pike LaMay 27/62Dear Father
I hear a mail leaves for the North soon. Everything moves on here about as usual.
I visited New Orleans for the first time last Saturday it is certainly wonderful
what a change has come over the city since it has fallen into our hands. the
people look rather dispondant & are exceedingly shy. they say but little to
the Union Officers or soldiers but stare at them with amazement. the union sentiment is rapidly gaining ground & the people are
gradually becoming tame it seems very odd that a force of 6 or 8,000 should be
able to hold such a city as New Orleans in such so complete in state
of subjugation & the more I think of it the more unreal it seems.
the citizens are so respectfullyeffectually subdued that they are almost afraid to look at a Federal soldier. I think in three weeks the city of New Orleans will be entirely Union. present appearances indicate it. of course the lower & barbarous class would be exempted. Gen Butler is certainly in his element. although not exhibiting all the qualities of a military trained general. his fearless & determined sway triumphs over all obstacles. his thorough knowledge of law & his peculiar fitness for administration makes him a better man to govern a city than to manage an army in the field. his HdQrs are at the St Charles I had a long talk with him in regard to my future operations at this Post. Gen Shepley is Military Commandant of the city. a better man could not have been selected. he is from Maine & was formally a lawyer. he is one of the
finest men I have ever met & is much respected by all who meet him. Lt. Col. Brown 8th Vt has been appointed by Gen. B - editor of the N. O. Delta. The 8th Vt are quartered in the city & are doing guard duty. the 7th are at Carralton under Gen Phelps excepting this detach. I went to Carralton after calling on Gen. Butler. I stopped with Gen. B. over night the Gen. is all absorbed in the "contraband" question. while there I received yours & mothers letters. I recommended Lieut Hitchcock to the Gen as an aide. & he has given him the position. The "contrabands" keep pouring in on me I have now all I care to keep & any others coming I shall not allow to remain within my lines. my orders are to keep what I want for my own use, & not permit any more to loiter within my lines, also not to deliver up
any slaves to their owners. I have come in contact with all the "Illustrious men" exmember of congress & refund politicians & I believe as far as heard from, have succeeded in keeping up my end. I have acquired some little notoriety by my reports. & I expect any name will go into "Rebeldom" by many gentlemen that have expressed themselves highly pleased" by the strict accountability I have exacted from them in a very gentlemenly manner" (this is what they say) my acts have been vindicated to some extent in Mobile by a "flag of truce" that has passed here often I see by the papers the Vt Brigade have been gaining laurels on the Potomac. I am glad to hear it. I expect the most of our fighting will be confined to mosquitoes nevertheless we may do something yet.
The health of my command is excellent & I believe the health of the regt. is generally very good. I can't say that I am particularly pleased with the way affair are conducted here. & I wish often I was under more military men. I hope I may be fortunate enough to receive an appointment in the regular army soon.
Frank sends me a great selection of paper by most every mail religious come &
all kinds, all of which are very acceptable. I wish you would send me the Bratt papers. I am in good health.
With a great deal of love to all at home
Your Aff. SonWm. C. Holbrook
P. S. Directions
Wm C Holbrook
Maj. 7th. Vt. Inpt.
Gen. Phelps Brigade