below New Orleans. I take exceptions to the paragraph terminating with the sentences, “Fort Saint Phillip, on the opposite side of the river, was entirely unhurt, and was well supplied and had a full garrison of true men. The ‘Louisiana’ mounted sixteen heavy guns, and was invulnerable. Comment is unnecessary.” The concluding remark in the above quotation evidently conveys a censure, but, to my understanding, it is so obscurely expressed that I am at a loss to determine against which of the three parties it is directed, viz: General Duncan, commanding both forts, but in the immediate command of Fort Jackson, the officer specially in command of Fort Saint Phillip, myself, commanding the Louisiana, or against all combined. However, to remove all doubts on the minds of the readers of the “Southern Historical Papers” as to the merits of the part taken by the Confederate naval forces, in connection with the passage by the United State naval forces of the two forts named and their subsequent surrender; as an act of justice to the officers associated with me in the Louisiana; and in vindication of the truth of history, I respectfully ask you to publish in your work, with this communication, the accompanying printed copy of the finding of a naval court of inquiry (ordered at my instance), relative to the disasters of that occasion, which, I think you will admit, fully exonerates the navy. I am gentlemen, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Confederate States Navy Department, Richmond, December 5, 1863.Finding and Opinion of a Naval Court of Inquiry, convened in the City of Richmond, Virginia, January 5th, 1863, by virtue of the following precept:
Confederate States Navy Department, Office of orders and detail, Richmond, December 24, 1862.Sir — By order of the Secretary of the Navy, you are hereby appointed president of a court of inquiry to be convened in this city on the 5th day of January next. Captain S. S. Lee and Commander Robert G. Robb have been ordered to report to you, and with yourself will compose the court.