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1862: Occupied Union Territory
Advancing from the Mississippi River, Union Admiral David Farragut fought past Forts Jackson and St. Philip to capture New Orleans. The city surrendered on April 27, 1862. The Union had captured a major city, the major Confederate port, and by controlling the Mississippi, split the Confederacy in two. General Benjamin Butler arrived on May 1, 1862, to govern the occupied city, and would leave by the end of the year the most hated man in New Orleans history.

Map of New Orleans with highlighted places from 1862

The St. Charles Hotel Mint. Jackson Square.


St. Charles Hotel. 1. The St. Charles Hotel
The St. Charles Hotel would not give Butler a suite so he took the entire building as his headquarters. Justifiably afraid that his men would be overcome by yellow fever, Butler cleaned up the city and for the duration of the war the "Saffron Scourge" did not take its usual toll on the city.


Exterior of the US Mint office in New Orleans. 2. Mint.
In an act of defiance against the occupiers, W. B. Mumford took down the American flag flying over the mint and then bragged about it around town. Butler had him arrested and tried, and then publicly hanged at the mint. The General had earned another nickname: Beast Butler.


Jackson Square. 3. Jackson Square.
During his notably corrupt tenure, Butler tried to confiscate coins from the Dutch and French consulates, claiming the money had been intended to pay for Confederate arms. His actions caused an international uproar and on Christmas Eve, 1862, Butler was recalled by the Union and replaced by General Nathaniel Banks. Before he left, Butler went to Jackson Square and inscribed a quote from Andrew Jackson on the base of that president's statue: "The Union Must and Shall be Preserved."

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New Orleans American Experience

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