R. R. Peebles wrote to Brig. Gen George F. Shepley, military governor of Louisiana, on behalf of McManus and Griffin, owners of several plantations in Plaquemine Parish near New Orleans. Peebles was the manager of the plantations.
Peebles wrote that soldiers from the 13th Maine visited the plantation when the owners were not at home, took furniture, trunks, a watch, wine and brandy, and a small sum of money.
The soldiers reportedly searched the house, scattered papers, and told the slaves they were free. The soldiers also reportedly told the slaves that if their former master attempted to interfere with them, they could kill him.
When the owner returned, the slaves were "in a high state of excitement" and McManus was afraid for his life. He went back to the plantation and the slaves refused to work, crops were in need of attention and would soon be a total loss. He suggested the buildings would be destroyed and the livestock slaughtered.
Peebles sought some action from the military command of New Orleans.
Shepley, a Portland lawyer, had commanded the 12th Maine Volunteers before being promoted to command of the 3rd Brigade, then military commandant of New Orleans, and, when Union troops took control, military governor of the state.
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