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 Commodore Porter, commanding the fleet below, came up under a flag of truce to Fort Jackson, and while negotiations were progressing for the surrender, the Louisiana, in flames, drifted down the river and, when close under Fort St. Philip, exploded and sank. The defenses afloat, except the Louisiana, consisted of tugs and river steamers, which had been converted to war purposes by protecting their bows with iron so as to make them rams, and putting on them such armament as boats of that class would bear; these were again divided into such as were subject to control as naval vessels, and others which, in compliance with the wish of the governor of Louisiana and many influential citizens, were fitted out to a great extent by state and private sources, with the condition that they should be commanded by riversteamboat captains, and should not be under the control of the naval commander. This, of course, impaired the unity requisite in battle. For many other purposes they might have been used without experiencing the inconvenience felt when they were brought together to act as one force against the enemy. The courts of inquiry and the investigation by a committee of Congress have brought out all the facts of the case, but with such conflicting opinions as render it very difficult, in reviewing the matter, to reach a definite and satisfactory conclusion. This much it may be proper to say: that expectations, founded upon the supposition that these improvised means could do all which might fairly be expected from war vessels, were unreasonable, and a judgment based upon them is unjust to the parties involved. The machinery of the Louisiana was so incomplete as to deprive her of locomotion, but she had been so well constructed as to possess very satisfactory resisting powers, as was shown by the fact that the broadsides of the enemy's vessels, fired at very close quarters, had little or no effect upon her shield. Without power of locomotion, her usefulness was limited to employment as a floating battery. The question as to whether she was in the right position, or whether, in her unfinished condition, she should have been sent from the city, is one for an answer to which I must refer the inquirer to the testimony of naval men, who were certainly most competent to decide the issue. One of the little river boats, the Governor Moore, commanded by Lieutenant Beverly Kennon, like the others imperfectly protected at the bow, struck and sunk the Varuna, in close proximity to other vessels of the enemy's fleet. Such daring resulted in his losing, in killed and wounded, seventy-four out of a crew of ninety-three. Then finding that he must destroy his ship to prevent her from falling into the hands of the enemy, he set her on fire, and testified as follows:
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