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Nero Orleans, December 15, 1862.
SOLDIERS OF THE ARMY OF THE GULF :
Relieved from further duties in this Department by direction of the President, under date of November 9, 1862, I take leave of you by this final order, it being impossible to visit your scattered out-posts, covering hnndreds of miles of the frontier of a larger territroy than some of the kingdoms of Europe.
I greet you, my brave comrades, and say farewell!
This word, endeared as you are by a community of privations, hardships, dangers, victories, successes, military and civil, is the only sorrowful thought I have.
You have deserved well of your country. Without a murmur you sustained an encampment on a sand-bar, so desolate that banishment to it, with every care and comfort possible, has been the most dreaded punishment inflicted upon your bitterest and most insulting enemies.
You had so little transportation, that but a handful could advance to compel submission by the Queen City of the Rebellion, whilst others waded breast-deep in the marshes which surround St. Philip, and forced the surrender of a fort deemed impregnable to land attack by the most skillful engineers of your country and her enemy.
At your occupation, order, law, quiet and peace sprang to this city, filled with the bravos of all nations, where, for a score of years, during the profoundest peace, human life was scarcely safe at noonday.
By your discipline, you illustrated the best traits of the American soldier, and enchained the admiration of those that came to scoff.
Landing with a military chest containing but seventy-five dollars, from the hoards of a rebel government you have given to your country's treasury nearly a half million of dollars, and so supplied yourselves with the needs of the service that your expedition has cost your Government less by four-fifths than any other.
You have fed the starving poor, the wives and children of your enemies, so converting enemies into friends, that they have sent their representatives to your Congress, by a vote greater than your entire numbers, from districts in which, when you entered, you were tauntingly told that there was “no one to raise your flag."
By your practical philanthropy you have won the confidence of the“ oppressed race" and the slave. Hailing you as deliverers, they are ready to aid you as willing
servants, faithful laborers, or, using the tactics taught them by your enemies, to fight with you in the field.
By steady attention to the laws of health, you have stayed the pestilence, and, humble instruments in the hands of God, you have demonstrated the necessity that His creatures should obey His laws, and, reaping His blessing in this most unhealthy climate, you have preserved your ranks fuller than those of any other Battalions of the same length of service.
You have met double numbers of the enemy, and defeated him in the open field ; but I need not further enlarge upon this topic. Yon were sent here to do that.
I commend you to your commander. You are worthy of his love.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major General Commanding.
Nero Orleans, December 17, 1862.
I. In compliance with General Orders No. 184, of the 9th ultimo, from the War Department, Adjutant General's Office, the undersigned hereby assumes command of the Department of the Gulf, including the State of Texas.
II. The following named officers are announced as constituting the Staff of the Major General commanding, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly :
Lieut. Col. RICHARD B. Irwin, Assistant Adjutant General.
New Orleans, December 16, 1862.
All military and civil officers of this Department, who are engaged in the superintendence of public works, of any character, or who have assumed to direct and control private or public property, and all other persons engaged on such works or charged with the direction of such property, will report to these lleadquarters, forthwith, the character of such works, the number of persons employed, a description o! the property held, and the authority upon which proceedings have been based. No claims for compensation for such services will be considered from this date, until such reports have been received at these Headquarters.
BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL BASKS:
RICILARD B. IRWIN,