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 and therefore decided to let those go who wished to leave, and after daybreak to communicate with the fleet below and negotiate for the terms which had been previously offered and declined. Under the incessant fire to which the forts had been exposed, and the rise of the water in the casemates and lower part of the works, the men had been deprived not only of sleep, but of the opportunity to prepare their food. Heroically they had braved alike dangers and discomfort, had labored constantly to repair damages, to extinguish fires caused by exploding shells, to preserve their ammunition by bailing out the water which threatened to submerge the magazine; yet, in a period of comparative repose these men, who had been cheerful and obedient, as suddenly as unexpectedly broke out into open mutiny. Under the circumstances which surrounded him, General Duncan had no alternative. It only remained for him to accept the proposition which had been made for a surrender of the forts. As this mutiny became known about midnight of the 27th, soon after daylight of the 28th a small boat was procured, and notice of the event was sent to Captain Mitchell, on the Louisiana, and also to Fort St. Philip. The officers of that fort concurred in the propriety of the surrender, though none of their men had openly revolted. A flag of truce was sent to Commodore Porter to notify him of a willingness to negotiate for the surrender of the forts. The gallantry with which the defense had been conducted was recognized by the enemy, and the terms were as liberal as had been offered on former occasions. The garrisons were paroled, the officers were to retain their side-arms, and the Confederate flags were left flying over the forts until after our forces had withdrawn. If this was done as a generous recognition of the gallantry with which the forts had been defended, it claims acknowledgment as an instance of martial courtesy—the flower that blooms fairest amid the desolations of war. Captain Mitchell, commanding the Confederate States naval forces, had been notified by General Duncan of the mutiny in the forts and of the fact that the enemy had passed through a channel in rear of Fort St. Philip and had landed a force at the quarantine, some six miles above, and that, under the circumstances, it was deemed necessary to surrender the forts. As the naval forces were not under the orders of the general commanding the coast defenses, it was optional with the naval commander to do likewise or not as to his fleet. After consultation with his officers, Captain Michell decided to destroy his flagship, the Louisiana, the only formidable vessel he had, rather than allow her to fall into the hands of the enemy. The crew was accordingly withdrawn, and the vessel set on fire.
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