Geo. S. Denison, Esq
politician inclined to liberal ideas and generous policy, though not classed among earnest men; a leader of the Know Nothings in the days when Know Nothingism prevailed; generally taken up and sustained politically by two sides but committing himself fully to neither, yet making it understood that, on the whole, he was conservative. His favorite maxim is that "Success is a Duty"; and of course, his ambition is to be successful. I confess I expected more from him in the field than he has achieved. He has always seemed to me equal to every place he has filled, and I hoped much from him in this troublous time. I do not abandon that hope; though I fear that in going to New Orleans and assuming the command of the Department of the Gulf in place of Genl Butler, he took upon himself a task to which even his resources are inadequate. Had he gone direct to Texas as I expected, I think he would have achieved higher success and much greater reputation.
It seems probable now that Gen. Butler will soon resume the command in New-Orleans, but I am by no means certain of it. A few days will, probably, determine the matter.
I have written to Mr. Bullitt, inviting him to counsel with you, and advising him to retain the officers appointed under you; and counselling him to avoid the errors to which his genial and generous temperament naturally expose him.2
There is nothing new here. We are looking for an attack on Charleston and hope for its success.
The winds are drying the roads and it will soon be practicable for Hooker's army to take the field. Much is expected from him. The news from the Mississippi is uncomfortable. The successive losses of the Queen of the West and Indianola have made us very apprehensive for the gun boats and the army above New Orleans. It seems probable, however, that the Indianola has been sunk and the Queen of the West and the Webb are not competent to very serious undertakings.3 The safety of New Orleans is supposed to be fully assured by the ships there, as well as by the army. In a few days, we trust the losses will be repaired and Vicksburgh if not Port Hudson compelled to yield
Continue to write me fully, and oblige
Yours very sincerely,
S P CHASE
|I.||Denison "Private & Confidential" letter of February 12 reported on plans for military action in Louisiana and criticized the administration of Nathaniel P. Banks. " Banks' policy seems to be conciliatory & hesitating," wrote Denison. "He seems afraid of responsibilities." Denison to Chase, Feb. 12, 1863 ( Chase Papers, L.C.).|
|II.||Chase to Bullitt, Feb. 26, 1863 (above).|
|III.||Confederates captured the USS Queen of the West, a steamboat converted into an iron-protected ram, on the Red River, February 14, and sank the USS Indianola, a steam- powered gunboat, nearby on February 24. CSS William H. Webb, a 656-ton wooden steam|