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[94] at once to send off his munitions and provisions by steamboat and rail-road, while the greater part of his conscripted militia disbanded and dispersed. What was left worth taking was sent off to Camp Moore, 78 miles above, on the Jackson Rail-road.

The Rebel flotilla having been mainly destroyed, Capt. Farragut, with his nine vessels that had safely run the gauntlet of Rebel forts, fireships, rams, and gunboats, while steaming slowly and cautiously up the river, had not yet reached New Orleans when he was met by ample evidence that the city was virtually in his hands. Cotton-loaded and other valuable ships came floating down the river wrapped in flames, the mute but vivid witnesses of the enemy's despair. “I never witnessed such Vandalism in my life,” he reports, “as the destruction of property: all the shipping, steamboats, &c., were set on fire and consumed.”

On reaching1 the English Turn, six or seven miles below the city, he descried the new earthworks on both banks, known as the Chalmette batteries; when, forming his fleet in two lines, and allotting to each its proper work, he moved on. The Cayuga not having observed the signal for close order, was considerably in advance, and so for 20 minutes exposed alone to the fire of the Rebel batteries. But the Hartford now caine up, dispensing liberal broadsides of shell, shrapnel, and grape, the first of which drove the Rebels on the right bank from their guns ; while the fire of the Pensacola, the Brooklyn, and the residue of the fleet, which came up in quick succession, very soon silenced the remaining forts, and set their gunners in rapid motion toward places of greater safety No further obstacles nor perils but those presented by burning steamers, cotton-ships, rafts, &c., were encountered until, at 1 P. M., thle squadron anchored, during a violent thunder-storm, in front of New Orleans, whose levee for miles afforded a magnificent but melancholy spectacle of burning cotton, sugar, and other staples of South-western commerce; while the river in front was so full of burning ships that great vigilance and skill were required to avoid them.2

There was no attempt at resistance, but on shore anarchy and impotent

1 At 10:30 A. M. on the 25th.

2 Pollard says:

No sooner had the Federal fleet turned the point, and come within sight of the city, than the work of destruction of property commenced. Vast columns of smoke ascended to the sky, darkening the face of heaven and obscuring the noon-day sun; for five miles along the levee, fierce flames darted through the lurid atmosphere, their baleful glare struggling in rivalry with the sunlight; great ships and steamers, wrapped in fire, floated down the river, threatening the Federal vessels with destruction by their fiery contact. In front of the various presses, and at other points along the levee, the cotton had been piled up and submitted to the torch. It was burned by order of the Governor of Louisiana and of the military commander of the Confederate States. Fifteen thousand bales were consumed; the value of which would have been about a million and a half of dollars. The tobacco stored in the city, being all held by foreign residents on foreign account, was not destroyed. The specie of the banks, to the amount of twelve or fifteen millions, was removed from the city and placed in a secure place; so were nearly all the stores and movable property of the Confederate States. But other materials were embraced in the awful conflagration. About a dozen large river steamboats, twelve or fifteen ships, some of them laden with cotton, a great floating battery, several unfinished gun-boats, the immense ram, the Mississippi, and the docks on the other side of the river, were all embraced in the fiery sacrifice. The Mississippi was an iron-clad frigate, a superior vessel of her class, and accounted to be by far the most important naval structure the Confederate Government had yet undertaken.

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