Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/238

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228
Southern Historical Society Papers.

Governor Moore's Proclamation Concerning General Butler's Infamous Order.

Executive Office, Opelousas, Louisiana,
May 24th, 1862.

To the People of Louisiana:

The general commanding the troops of the United States now holding possession of New Orleans issued the following order on the 15th instant:

"As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans, in return for the most scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female shall, by word, gesture or movement, insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation.

"By command of Major-General Butler."

The annals of warfare between civilized nations afford no similar instance of infamy to this order. It is thus proclaimed to the world that the exhibition of any disgust or repulsiveness by the women of New Orleans to the hated invaders of their home, and the slayers of their fathers, brothers and husbands, shall constitute a justification to a brutal soldiery for the indulgence of their lust. The commanding-general, from his headquarters, announces to his insolent followers that they are at liberty to treat as women of the town the wives, the mothers, the daughters of our citizens, if by word, gesture or movement any contempt is indicated for their persons, or insult offered to their presence. Of the nature of the movement and the meaning of the look, these vagabond refuse of the Northern States are to be the judges.

What else than contempt and abhorrence can the women of New Orleans feel or exhibit for these officers and soldiers of the United States? The spontaneous impulse of their hearts must appear involuntary upon their countenances and thus constitute the crime for which the general of those soldiers adjudges the punishment of rape and brutalized passion.

History records instances of cities sacked and inhuman atrocities committed upon the women of a conquered town, but in no instance in modern times, at least without the brutal ravishers suffering condign punishment from the hands of their own commanders. It was reserved for a Federal general to invite his soldiers to the perpetration of outrages, at the mention of which the blood recoils in horror to quicken the impulses of their sensual