time, and that in consequence it was not within the range of probabilities that she could be regarded as an aggressive steamer, or that she could be brought into the pending action in that character. As an iron-clad, invulnerable floating-battery, with sixteen guns of the heaviest calibre, however, she was then as complete as she would ever be. Fort Jackson had already undergone, and was still subjected to, a terrible fire of thirteen-inch mortar shells, which it was necessary to relieve at once, to prevent the disabling of all the best guns at that fort. And although Fort St. Philip partially opened out the point of woods concealing the enemy, and gallantly attempted to dislodge him or draw his fire, he nevertheless doggedly persisted in his one main object, of battering Fort Jackson. Under these circumstances I considered that the Louisiana could only be regarded as a battery, and that her best possible position would be below the raft, close in on the Fort St. Philip's shore, where her fire could dislodge the mortar-boats from behind the point of woods, and give sufficient respite to Fort Jackson to repair in extenso. This position (X on the diagram herewith sent) would give us three direct and cross-fires upon the enemy's approaches, and at the same time insure the Louisiana from a direct assault, as she would be immediately under the guns of both forts. Accordingly, I earnestly and strongly urged these views upon Captain Mitchell, in a letter of this date (copy lost) but without avail, as will be seen by his reply attached as document D. Being so deeply impressed myself with the importance of this position for the Louisiana, and of the necessity of prompt action, in order to insure the success of the impending struggle, I again urged this subject upon Captain Mitchell during the latter part of the same day, as absolutely indispensable and imperative to the safety of New Orleans, and to the control of the lower Mississippi. My efforts were ineffectual to get him to move the boat from her original position above the forts. His reply is attached as document E, in which he is sustained by all the naval officers present having the command of vessels. I also addressed him two other notes through the day, the one in regard to sending fire-barges against the enemy, and the other relative to keeping a vigilant lookout from all his vessels, and asking for co-operation, should the enemy attempt to pass during the night. (See attached document F.) Bombardment continued during the day and night, being at times very heavy. During the day our fire was principally confined to shelling the point of woods from both forts, and with apparently good results, as the mortar-fire was slackened towards evening. The casemates were very much cut up by the enemy's fire, which was increased at night. There was little or no success in sending down fire-barges, as usual, owing in part to the condition of the towboats Mosher, Music, and Belle Algerine, in charge of the same, explained by attached document G. This does not excuse the neglect, however, as there were six boats of the river fleet available for this service, independent of those alluded to, and fire-barges were plentiful.
April 23.The day broke warm, clear, and cloudless. No immediate relief being looked for from our fleet, the entire command was turned out to repair damages under a very heavy fire of the enemy. The bombardment continued, without intermission, throughout the day, but slackened off about twelve o'clock M., at which hour there was every indication of an exhaustion on the part of the mortar-flotilla. Hence it became evident that the tactics of the enemy would necessarily be changed into an attack with broadsides by his larger vessels. In consequence, these views were laid before Captain Mitchell, and he was again urged to place the Louisiana at the point before mentioned, below the raft and near the Fort St. Philip bank of the river, to meet the emergency. (See attached Document H.) Captain Mitchell's reply is attached in documents E, I, J, and K, wherein he positively declines again to assume the only position which offered us every possible chance of success, and Captains McIntosh, Huger, and Warly sustain Captain Mitchell in his views of the case. Just before sundown, under a very heavy mortar-fire, the enemy sent up a small boat, and a series of white flags were planted on the Fort St. Philip bank of the river, commencing about three hundred and eighty yards above the lone tree upon that shore. This confirmed my previous views of an early and different attack from the usual mortar bombardment, especially as I presumed that these flags indicated the positions to be taken up by the several vessels in their new line of operation. As nothing was to be expected from the Louisiana, after the correspondence during the day, I could only inform Captain Mitchell of this new movement of the enemy (see attached document L), and particularly impress upon him the necessity of keeping the river well lit up with fire-barges, to act as an impediment to the enemy, and assist the accuracy of our fire in a night attack. Lieutenant Shyrock, C. S. N., Captain Mitchell's aid, came on shore about nine o'clock P. M., to inform me that the Louisiana would be ready for service by the next evening — the evening of the twenty-fourth. I informed him that time was everything to us, and that to-morrow would, in all probability, prove too late. Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins warmly seconded my opinion, and warned Lieutenant Shyrock that the final battle was imminent within a few hours. In regard to lighting the river, Lieutenant Shyrock stated that fire-barges would be regularly sent down throughout the night, every two hours, and as none had been sent up to that hour (9.30 o'clock P. M.), he left, informing