The former were under the command of General Duncan
, and the latter under the command of Commodore Mitchell
This is set forth in Admiral Porter
's article, who says, page 950, ‘General Duncan
told me that he had no authority whatever over the naval vessels, and that, in fact, Commodore Mitchell
, of the regular naval forces, had set the military authorities at defiance.
So I waived the point, being determined in my own mind what I would do when the forts were in our possession.’
As is set forth in my notes accompanying, in publication, Admiral Porter
's article, the Louisiana
was in an entirely incomplete condition when she was sent down from New Orleans, and Commodore William C. Whittle
, the naval commander at New Orleans, only sent her down in that condition in obedience to positive orders from Richmond
to do so, and against his remonstrance and better judgment.
Her guns were not mounted, and the machinery of her two propellers was not put together.
The machinery of her miserably conceived wheels, working in a ‘well’ in her midship section, one immediately forward of the other, was in working order, but when she cast off her fasts at New Orleans on, I think, April 20th, 1862, the wheels were started, but with them she went helplessly down the stream, and tow-boats had to be called to take her to her destination, the point where she was afterwards destroyed, on the left bank of the river, just above Fort St. Philip
, where she was tied up to the river bank, with her bow down stream.
Machinists and mechanics were taken down in her, and worked night and day to complete the work on the machinery and to prepare the ship for service.
Our gallant and efficient commander, the lamented Charles F. McIntosh
, aided by active, zealous and competent officers, bent all their energies to put the ship in a fighting condition, and by the time that the Federal fleet came up to run by the batteries, on April 24th, all the guns, except, I think, two, were mounted.
At that time, the work on the machinery of the propellers was far from completion, and the vessel was, in that regard, as helpless as when she went there.
The port-holes for the guns were so miserably constructed as simply to admit of the guns being run out, and were so small as not to admit of training laterally or in elevation.
With regard to the question of putting the Louisiana
below Fort Jackson
and near the obstructions, as General Duncan
wished and urged, Admiral Porter
, in his article, says, page 941: ‘Fortunately for us, Commander Mitchell
was not equal to the occasion, and the Louisiana
remained tied up to the bank, where she could ’