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[178] service, had been sent with the greater part of his fleet up the river to join the defense there being made. Two powerful vessels were under construction, the Louisiana and the Mississippi, but neither of them was finished. A volunteer fleet of transport vessels had been fitted up by some river men, but it was in the unfortunate condition of not being placed under the orders of the naval commander. A number of fire rafts had been also provided, which were to serve the double purpose of lighting up the river in the event of the hostile fleets attempting to pass the forts under cover of the night, and of setting fire to any vessel with which they might become entangled.

After passing the bar there was nothing to prevent the ascent of the river until Forts Jackson and St. Philip were reached. These works, constructed many years before, were on opposite banks of the river. Their armament, as reported by General Lovell on December 5, 1861, consisted of—Fort Jackson: six forty-two-pounders, twenty-six twentyfour-pounders, two thirty-two-pounder rifles, sixteen thirty-two-pounders, three eight-inch columbiads, one ten-inch columbiad, two eight-inch mortars, one ten-inch mortar, two forty-pounder howitzers, and ten twentyfour-pounder howitzers; Fort St. Philip: six forty-two-pounders, nine thirty-two-pounders, twenty-two twenty-four-pounders, four eight-inch columbiads, one eight-inch mortar, one ten-inch mortar, and three field guns.

General Duncan reported that on March 27th, he was informed by Lieutenant Colonel Higgins, commanding Forts Jackson and St. Philip, of the coast defenses which were under his (General Duncan's) command, that the enemy's fleet was crossing the bars and entering the Mississippi River in force, whereupon he repaired to Fort Jackson. After describing the condition of the forts from the excess of water and sinking of the entire site, as well as the deficiency of guns of heavy caliber in the forts, he proceeds:

It became necessary in their present condition to bring in and mount, and to build the platforms for, the three ten-inch and three eight-inch columbiads, the rifled forty-two-pounder, and the five ten-inch seacoast mortars recently obtained from Pensacola on the evacuation of that place, together with the two rifled seven-inch guns temporarily borrowed from the naval authorities in New Orleans. It was also found necessary to repair the old water battery to the rear of and below Fort Jackson, which had never been completed, for the reception of a portion of these guns, as well as to construct mortar-proof magazines, and shellrooms within the same.

One of the seven-inch rifled guns borrowed from the navy was subsequently returned, so that, when the forts were attacked, the armament was one hundred twenty-eight guns and mortars.

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