Robert H. Shannon Addresses a Unionist Rally in Louisiana
February 11, 1864

In February 1864, Robert H. Shannon spoke at a "great ratification meeting" in New Orleans, which sought to restore Louisiana to the Union by electing Unionist Michael Hahn as governor and ratifying a new anti-slavery state constitution. 

Parting Words of R. H. Shannon, Esq.

Mr. Shannon said he was delighted to say a few parting words. You have heard said from two Southern States—Arkansas and Tennessee—that they are about wheeling into the Union. You will now hear that Louisiana never went out of the Union. When the question was submitted to the people, they gave a majority against secession, which has never been made public. It must be a heartfelt pride to you that she is about to resume her place, and that her star is about to shine out undimmed.

Mr. Rozier and Mr. Roselius stand on the same platform as certain men of the North. In the whole of their speeches there is not one word against Jeff. Davis and his minions. They speak of the stars and stripes and the star spangled banner—all pretty and good things—but why don’t they speak of Jeff. Davis and his armed hordes? I am glad that there is an iron-clad oath. I would to God that every man could and would take such an oath. Would it hurt him? Are you afraid to take it? (Cries of “No! No!”) They stand on the same platform, so far as their speeches are concerned, as the copperheads. Do you know what a copperhead is? I will tell you. Copperheads consists of four species:

  1. Men who love slavery better than their country.
  2. Men who love the Democratic party better.
  3. Men who love their own pockets better.
  4. Constitutional grumblers, habitually discontented with everything.

They are divided into two classes.

  1. Those who openly oppose the war for the Union. This class heartily supported the war against Mexico, waged in the interest of slavery, but deems one waged in the interest of Union and liberty, unjust and unholy.
  2. Those who profess to favor the war. This class devotes itself to embarrassing the national government, by denouncing every energetic measure against rebels as “unconstitutional.” It decidedly approved the forcible silencing in past years, of peaceful advocates of liberty, but as decidedly disapproves the silencing at the present time of open advocates of slaveholding treason.

Every copperhead is agreed in one particular. He would sell his country for thirty pieces of silver, and invest the proceeds in [negroes].

Mr. Shannon accompanied his definition with a series of running comments highly interesting and greatly diverting. He concluded by saying that Tennessee had a representative in Andrew Johnson, Arkansas in Gen. Gnatt, and you will have a noble representative in the person of Michael Hahn, your next governor.

The meeting then formed in procession, and, after visitting the offices of the Era and True Delta, which were saluted, and before which the band played national anthems, repaired to the Clay Statue, from which they dispersed at a late hour.



The Daily True Delta (New Orleans, Louisiana), February 11, 1864.