I cannot presume to intrude my advice and opinions upon you again, and will only repeat that your decision will be a source of great regret and disappointment to the whole country, as well as to your friends, among whom, my dear sir, I hope you will permit me to include myself. With high respect, your obedient servant,
New Orleans, Feb. 13th, 1861.Gentlemen,—As time presses, and it may soon become urgent to be prepared for the worst, permit me to make a few suggestions which may lead to our successful preparation. In the first place, we must look to our most vulnerable point, the Mississippi River; for one single steamer, with only two or three guns, coming into the port of New Orleans, would in a few hours destroy millions' worth of property, or lay the city under a forced contribution of millions of dollars. It is an undeniable fact that, in the present condition of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, any steamer can pass them in broad daylight; and that even when in a proper condition for defence, they could not prevent the passage of one or more steamers during a dark or stormy night, without the assistance of a properly constructed raft or strong wire rope across the river between the two forts, so as to arrest the course of said steamers, even only for half an hour, under the severe cross-fire of said forts. The first thing to be done, then, is to commence the construction of (or prepare at least the materials for) said obstacles; then the guns of the land fronts of Fort Jackson ought to be mounted at once on the river fronts; the guns, chassis, and carriages at Baton Rouge, Forts Pike, Wood, Battery Bienvenu, etc., where they are not required at present, ought to be sent at once to these two forts on the river, to be put in position as advantageously as possible on their river fronts—not overlooking, however, the flank guns of the other fronts; all said chassis and carriages ought to be tried forthwith by double charges of powder and shot; ample supplies of ammunition ought to be sent there forthwith. The trees along the river, masking the fires of those two forts, up and down the river, ought to be cut down at once, particularly those on the Fort Jackson side. In a few words, no expenses ought to be spared to put those two works in a most efficient state of defence; for $50,000 or $100,000 spent thus, might, a few weeks hence, save millions of dollars to the State and city of New Orleans. A rough calculation shows me that the raft spoken of would cost about $40,000, and three wire cables probably $60,000. I prefer the first. Mr. John Roy, my former assistant architect on the New Orleans custom-house, would be of great assistance in the construction of either of said obstacles. In haste, I remain, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient servant. State of Louisiana, New Orleans, La.