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Report of Lieutenant-Colonel Ed. Higgins.

Headquaribr Forts Jackson and St. Philip, April 27, 1862.
Lieutenant W. M. Bridges, A. A. Adjutant-General, Second Brigade, Department No. 1, New Orleans:
Sir: I have the honor to report that on Friday, the eighteenth instant, the naval force of the United States, which has been for some weeks in the river, making preparation for an attack on these forts, commenced the bombardment of Fort Jackson.

Fire from their mortar-fleet was opened at nine o'clock A. M. The force employed by the enemy against us consisted of twenty-one mortar vessels, and a fleet of about twenty-one steam vessels of war, carrying more than two hundred guns of the heavest calibre. The mortar vessels when they opened fire, were all concealed from our view save six, which took position in sight of the forts, and within our longest range. These we soon forced to retire. They joined the rest of their fleet behind the point of woods, and, concealed from view, renewed their fire.

Orders had been issued to the officers and men of my command to retire to the casemates of the forts the moment the bombardment commenced. The order being obeyed, nothing was left for us to do but receive the furious storm of shell which was hailed upon us. Our citadel was soon destroyed by fire. All the buildings around and in connection with the fort shared the same fate.

From Friday morning until the following Thursday we sustained this terrible battering. Several times during the bombardment the enemy's gunboats attempted to pass up the river, under cover of their mortar-fire, and on each occasion our batteries were promptly manned, and the enemy's advance gallantly repelled.

At half-past 3 A. M., on Thursday, it was observed that the mortar-fire was increased to an intensity of fury which had not been previously reached. At the same time a movement was observed in the steam-fleet below. Our batteries were instantly in readiness, and were at once engaged in a most terrific conflict with the enemy's fleet of fourteen steamships, which, dashing by the fort in the darkness of the night, pouring in their broadsides of shot, shell, grape, canister, and shrapnel, succeeded in getting beyond our range and in our rear. During the forenoon a demand was made by Commodore Porter, commanding the mortar-fleet, for a surrender of the forts. This proposition was promptly refused, and the bombardment was again commenced and continued until four P. M., when all firing ceased.

I enclose you the reports of company and battery commanders, also the Surgeon's report of killed and wounded. I fully endorse the encomiums of the company commanders upon the officers under their command, and feel myself bound to record my high admiration of the coolness, courage, and fortitude of all the officers of both forts.

Captain J. B. Anderson, Company “G,” Louisiana artillery, was wounded early in the conflict, while heroically fighting his guns. Notstanding his severe wound, he rendered the most gallant and efficient service to the last.

Captain W. B. Robertson, who commanded a detached work called the water battery, remained with his command during the whole of the protracted ordeal, without cover of any kind, although suffering from severe physical disease, and scarcely able, at times, to walk around his battery. He was most ably and gallantly assisted by Captain R. J. Bruce, Louisiana artillery.

First Lieutenant Eugene W. Baylor, who was in command of the 42-pounder barbette battery, and First Lieutenant Richard Agar, of the same battery, did all that gallant officers and men could do.

The officers stationed at the heaviest batteries, on the river front, were, the greater part of the time, fatigued as they were, obliged to be constantly with their detachments at their guns to prevent surprise. Lieutenants A. N. Ogden, Bevuet Kennedy, and William T. Mumford, of the Louisiana artillery, particularly distinguished themselves in this service.

Although not under my immediate command, I cannot omit to mention the devoted conduct of your aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Wm. M. Bridges, who, upon the disability of Captain Anderson, immediately volunteered his services, and took charge of the two 10-inch columbiads, and fought them night and day with ceaseless energy.

Lieutenant J. U. Gains, in command of the 32-pounder battery, on the river front, assisted by Lieutenant E. D. Woodlief, Captain S. Jones, company “I,” Louisiana volunteers, Captain F. Peter, company “I,” 22d regiment, Louisiana volunteers, fought their batteries gallantly and well. Lieutenant Thomas K. Pierson, 23d Louisiana volunteers, was killed in the thickest of the fight, while gallantly fighting his guns.

The St. Mary's Cannoniers, Captain S. O. Comay, have my warmest gratitude and admiration for their whole conduct, both in face of the enemy and in the severe and arduous fatigue duties, which they discharged, always and at all times, with alacrity and energy. They are an honor to the country, and well may their friends and relations be proud of them.

The report of Captain M. T. Squires, who was the senior officer at Fort St. Philip, is enclosed, with the reports of the other officers. Captain Squires fought the batteries of Fort St. Philip most gallantly. He was in charge of that fort during the whole bombardment. The severe work at Fort Jackson required my constant presence there. I had every confidence in the coolness, courage, and skill of Captain Squires and his officers, and most satisfactorily did they discharge their duties. I refer you to his report for the mention of the individual conduct of his officers.

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