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[94]

When New Orleans was captured, April 24, 1862, you had under construction two ironclads, the Louisiana and the Mississippi, either of which, in the opinion of Admiral Porter, of the United States navy, equipped with adequate engines (especially the Mississippi), would have swept, not only the gulf, but your entire seaboard clear of the Federal navy.

The Louisiana was hastened night and day, and dropped below the city, opposite the forts, with carpenters still at work and guns unmounted, to meet the advance of the Federal navy. When put into the stream, it was found that her engines, assisted by two tugboats lashed to her sides, were incapable of stemming the current in the river, and her utility became that simply of a battery located on the river front.

When Farragut had passed Forts Jackson and St. Philip, his fleet of twenty-four vessels of war, mounting 227 guns, engaged the Confederate fleet of four river steamers, the so-called ironclad Manassas, and the Louisiana moored to the river bank; in all five vessels, mounting twenty-eight guns.

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