court convened in this city on the 5th day of January and has been continued thus long in session awaiting the attendance of General Mansfield Lovell and Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Higgins, who were summoned to appear before it as witnesses, by orders from the War Department. Learning that one of these gentlemen, Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins, cannot be spared from his present command, and that General Lovell has made no answer to the summons from the War Department, although they have been more than two months since summoned, again and again, there is no course left but to dissolve the court, which is done accordingly, and you will so inform the members and the judge advocate. You will be pleased to have this letter, or a certified copy, spread upon the records of the court. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. Forrest, Chief of Bureau.
The foregoing is ordered to be published for the information of all whom it may concern.
S. R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy.
Before this court convened, General Duncan died. It is worthy of note that neither General Lovell, who commanded all the troops in and below New Orleans, nor Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins, who was second in command of Fort Jackson, could be gotten as witnesses before this court, notwithstanding Admiral Porter's statement that the conduct of Commodore Mitchell was severely criticised and condemned by the Confederate army officers. The Louisiana was a coveted prize. In one of the Federal yards, with every facility for work, she could soon have been made into a formidable engine of war. No doubt her destruction was a great disappointment to Admiral Porter, and I can only explain his harshness towards Commodore Mitchell and his Lieutenants as prisoners, and his bitterness in his criticisms since, by his failure to possess himself of her. Would it not be far nobler to gracefully wear the laurels he has won, than to pluck those from the brow of his dead friend, Farragut, or his vanquished foe, Mitchell?
Norfolk, Va., December 18th, 1885.