a strong wire rope connected with a steam-engine, rendered secure by a bombproof, on the Fort Jackson
The rope worked by the engine, would close or open the boom, as circumstances might require, for the passage of friendly vessels or of accumulated drift-wood.
The second boom was to consist of about five barges or flatboats, properly constructed so as to support one or more heavy chains or wire-ropes, stretched from shore to shore, between the two forts, and above the floating boom.
The estimate for this obstruction was about $90,000, and for the other about one half less.
Both were to be illuminated at night with Drummond
lights, placed in bombproofs on each side of the river, and the stream was to be patrolled by boats as far down as prudence would permit.
Had these floating booms been constructed and kept in working order until required for effectual use it is beyond all doubt that they would have obstructed the passage of the Federal fleet in April, 1862.
Detaining the vessels under the fire of the forts, they would have afforded sufficient time to them to do their work, and to the city to prepare for a vigorous defence, if not for a triumphant resistance.
Somewhat later, Major Beauregard
had occasion to offer a few suggestions to the Military Board, in a short memoir, wherein, after giving his general views as to the defence of the different approaches to New Orleans, he again directed attention to the paramount necessity of the floating booms already spoken of. He received the thanks of Governor Moore
for his valuable information, of the importance of which the governor was well aware, but the Military Board, to whom all such matters were specially referred, and on whose knowledge of them the State Executive
so fully relied, failed to see the extent of the result aimed at, and, as was often the case during the war, the opportunity was allowed to slip by; and the consequences, which might have been averted, advanced unhindered to their calamitous end.
On the 22d of February, 1861, Major Beauregard
received a despatch from the Hon. L. P. Walker
, Secretary of War
of the Confederate government, informing him that his immediate presence at Montgomery
was requested by President Davis
He made all possible haste to leave New Orleans, thinking he might be away for two or three weeks at the utmost—he was absent