To further inquiry about the raft by the committee, the Secretary answered:
The commanding General at New Orleans had exclusive charge of the construction of the raft, or obstruction, in question, and his correspondence with the War Department induced confidence in the security of New Orleans from the enemy. I was aware that this raft had been injured, but did not doubt that the commanding General would renew it, and place an effectual barrier across the river, and I was anxious that the navy should afford all possible aid. . . . A large number of anchors were sent to New Orleans from Norfolk for the raft.Though much more might be added, it is hoped that what has been given above will sufficiently attest the zeal and capacity of the Secretary of the Navy, and his anxiety, in particular, to protect the city of New Orleans, whether assailed by fleets descending or ascending the river. Having thus reviewed at length the events, immediate and remote, which were connected with the great catastrophe, the fall of our chief commercial city, and the destruction of the naval vessels on which our hopes most rested for the protection of the lower Mississippi and the harbors of the Gulf, the narrative is resumed of affairs at the city of New Orleans.