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Confederate States Navy Department, Office of orders and detail, Richmond, December 24th, 1862.
Sir,—By order of the Secretary of the Navy, you are hereby appointed President of a court of inquiry, to be convened in this city on the 5th of January next.

Captain S. S. Lee and Commander Robert G. Robb have been ordered to report to you, and with you will compose the court.

Mr. George Lee Brent will report to you as Recorder. You will inquire into the whole official conduct of Commander John K. Mitchell, Confederate States Navy, while in command of the steamer Louisiana, and in charge of the vessels of the Confederate Navy at and below New Orleans, and report the same to this Department, with your opinion whether the said officer did or did not do all in his power to sustain the honor of the flag, and prevent the enemy from ascending the Mississippi River; and if he did not, to what extent did he fail so to do.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. Forrest, Chief of Bureau. Flag-Officer Samuel Barron, C. S. N., Commanding, &c., James River, Va.


That Commander Mitchell assumed command of the Louisiana at New Orleans on the 20th April, 1862; and from that time until the destruction of the vessel, only a period of eight days was embraced.

That the whole force under his command consisted of the Louisiana, the McRae, the Manassas, the Jackson, and one launch.

That on the day he took command, Captain Mitchell descended the river Mississippi in the Louisiana, and took up a position on the left bank of the river, about half a mile above Fort St. Philip.

That on leaving New Orleans, the machinery of the Louisiana was incomplete, her motive power imperfect, and her battery improperly mounted.

That she could not, on a fair trial, stem the current of the Mississippi with her own motive power, aided by two steam tugs.

That every exertion was made by Commander Mitchell, the officers and mechanics, to get the Louisiana in a proper state of efficiency

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