Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Occupied City

Occupied City: New Orleans Under the Federals 1862--1865

GERALD M. CAPERS
Copyright Date: 1965
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hs9w
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Occupied City
    Book Description:

    New Orleans is the largest American city ever occupied by enemy forces for an extended period of time. Falling to an amphibious Federal force in the spring of 1862, the city was threatened with the possibility of Confederate recapture even as late as 1864. How this tension affected the lives of both civilians and soldiers during the occupation is here examined.

    Gerald M. Capers finds that the occupation policies of General Benjamin F. Butler and General Nathaniel P. Banks were successful and that Butler's harsh policies were by no means as vicious as legend would have it. Banks at first reversed Butler's harsh policies, but was gradually compelled to become less lenient. Banks did succeed in establishing a civil government under Lincoln's orders, but Congress refused to recognize the civil government and imposed a reconstruction government at war's end.

    Life for the average resident of New Orleans, Capers states, was much better during the occupation than it was for Southerners in areas still in Confederate control. Relative economic decline had begun in the 1850's but New Orleans even enjoyed a war boom during the last two years. And although America's only brief experience as an occupation force at the time had been in Vera Cruz during 1846, Butler and Banks performed their duties well.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6237-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. MAPS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. ONE THE CRESCENT CITY ON THE EVE OF THE CIVIL WAR
    (pp. 1-24)

    WHEN THE PELICAN FLAGof the Independent State of Louisiana was raised in New Orleans on January 27, 1861, it was the fourth flag to fly over the city. The Stars and Bars of the Confederate banner at the end of March was the fifth. From the founding of the city in 1718 until near the end of the Seven Years War, the Island of Orleans had belonged to France, and from 1762 to 1800, to Spain. Then Spain secretly returned it to Napoleon, who in turn sold it to the United States in 1803. Changes in national allegiance were...

  6. TWO THE CAPTURE
    (pp. 25-53)

    THE STORYof the Civil War has been told and retold many times. A major episode in that story was the battle at the forts near the mouth of the Mississippi and the consequent fall of the city of New Orleans in April, 1862. Just as local history has little significance unless it is woven into the larger national epic, so any single battle attains meaning only against the major events of the entire war. The fighting near the mouth of the river, like the bloody battle of Shiloh which preceded it by two weeks and the naval capture of...

  7. THREE ENTER GENERAL BUTLER
    (pp. 54-76)

    MILITARY OCCUPATIONof American cities has been rare in our national existence, as no foreign enemy has invaded our mainland since 1815. Yet there are a few notable exceptions: the British held New York during most of the Revolution, and Charleston and Philadelphia for briefer periods; the Federals occupied New Orleans and Memphis for three years during the Civil War. The problems which faced the British in the 1770s were much simpler because of the smaller scale of military operations and the presence of large numbers of Tories or neutrals in the Atlantic ports. In the southern river towns a...

  8. FOUR THE RULE OF THE BEAST, MAY TO DECEMBER, 1862
    (pp. 77-97)

    MANY OF THE BASICmunicipal problems with which the Federals had to cope during the occupation had arisen during the first year of the war, when New Orleans was held by the Confederates. In the early months, before heavy fighting started and while residents were confident of a quick and easy victory, the city in general enthusiastically supported the war effort by volunteering for military service and by financial contributions. Since Lincoln’s call for troops after Sumter made the main issue one of defense against invasion, at first all classes responded to the call to arms. While the crack regiments...

  9. FIVE CHANGES IN COMMAND, 1862-1865
    (pp. 98-119)

    BUTLER’S ATTEMPTto enforce his authority upon the 40,000 foreigners¹ and their consuls in New Orleans proved his undoing. Ironically, the effort was more reasonable on grounds of equity, though not of international law, than some of his other actions. He knew that many of the aliens had actively aided the Confederacy before the capture and that most of them sympathized with it; naturally their protests against almost all of his orders during the occupation produced a violent controversy. From the first they took the position that Butler could not touch them because they were not citizens of the United...

  10. SIX UNIONIST POLITICS AND RECONSTRUCTION GOVERNMENT
    (pp. 120-144)

    OF NECESSITYthe government established in Federal Louisiana was in essense amilitarygovernment, set up in an occupied area under the war powers of the President through the agency of his generals. It was called acivilgovernment at the time because elections were held in which a portion of the populace was permitted to vote for state but not municipal officials, for a constitutional convention, for congressmen, and for a legislature. But to a considerable extent the commanding general influenced the outcome of these elections and thereby the choice of officials, whose action he had the power to...

  11. SEVEN THE ECONOMY OF A CONQUERED METROPOLIS
    (pp. 145-171)

    BOTH BELLIGERENTSsuffered certain immediate economic losses during the American Civil War. The most obvious of these was the physical destruction of property in the South, where almost all of the major battles were fought in the course of four years of hostilities. Many southern areas sustained inestimable damage from military campaigns, like Sherman’s march to the sea, the objective of which was the economic destruction of interior regions supplying the Confederate armies. The United States early imposed an increasingly effective blockade of southern ports which slowly strangled the South’s agrarian economy. On the other hand, the diversified North, after a...

  12. EIGHT PRESS, CHURCH, AND SCHOOL
    (pp. 172-190)

    SEEN FROMthe longer experience of the midtwentieth century, the complexities of the problem of military occupation are more apparent than they were to Americans of the Civil War era. An occupied population, in fact, has certain advantages over its conquerors—even in wartime. From a mere military point of view the simplest method for the conquerors to achieve security is a stern one backed by the threat of severe punishment or execution for disobedience, like that of Butler in New Orleans or the Germans in France during World War II. Even this method has its limitations, for as the...

  13. NINE CIVILIANS AND SOLDIERS
    (pp. 191-213)

    LIKE POLAND, because of a sea-level terrain, Louisiana in the first century and a half of its existence was exposed to a succession of invasions. First, the French early in the eighteenth century removed the local Indians who dwelt in the narrow strip of land along the portage between Lake Pontchartrain and the river. After 1763, when Spain took over from France, a few Spaniards came in and settled there alongside their Latin brothers. As time passed and after the United States bought the area in 1803, an Anglo-American invasion began which increased steadily in intensity, particularly from the northeastern...

  14. TEN THE NEGRO DURING THE OCCUPATION
    (pp. 214-231)

    ON THE EVEof the war the Negro population in New Orleans, roughly 13,000 slaves and 11,000 free persons of color, presented certain contrasts to that of the South at large. There were many mulattoes—80 percent of the free persons of color had white blood, as did some of those who were legally slaves. Though interracial marriage was forbidden, white men of both upper and lower classes, even married ones, had taken colored women as concubines without interference from civil authorities. The offspring of such unions could inherit property if the mother were free. Miscegenation had begun in the...

  15. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 232-238)

    THE PERSISTENCEof the Civil War in the collective memory of the South is still obvious a century later. Such persistence is understandable. As C. Vann Woodward observes inThe Burden of Southern History, one of the ways in which the South differs distinctly from the rest of the nation is that it has suffered defeat in a long war. For more than a generation after the Revolution, Tory ladies in New York City closed their shutters on the Fourth of July. For an even longer period after the expulsion of James II, English Royalists prayed for the return of...

  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 239-244)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 245-248)