26th the forts heard the news that the city had surrendered; also that the Confederate steam ram Mississippi
had been burned above the city.
About 4 p.m. its wreck in sorrowful testimony drifted by the forts.
Vague promise to cheer came that the Louisiana
—a formidable ironclad steamer, with a powerful battery—would be placed on the 27th at the bight above Fort Jackson
Permission had been granted by the enemy to the steamer McRae
to proceed, under a flag of truce, with the wounded.1
Accepting the offer of Captain Mitchell
, commanding the naval forces, the seriously wounded of both forts were sent on the McRae
Receiving these late April 26th, she left the next morning.
After her errand the McRae
did not return again to the forts.
Her last act of mercy was worthy of her courage in the bombardment.
On April 27th, about 12 m., a gunboat, under flag of truce, brought a written demand for the surrender of the forts.
This formal demand was signed by Commander Porter
of the mortar flotilla.
The forts, still defiant, again refused to surrender.
About 4 p. m. the French man-of-war, Milan
, having asked permission of the forts, steamed up the river to the city.
This was an exercise of authority which both forts were then fully able to enforce at need.
A little later troops were seen landing at the quarantine, six miles above.
The position of the Louisiana
There were presages enough of coming disaster; but still above the forts floated the Confederate
flag, inspiring valor.
Unhappily, however, the colors, while inspiring courage, could not confirm loyalty.
Over the officers of the forts a small cloud, first visible on the day they had heard the rumor of the city's surrender, filled them with concern.
In a ship at sea, or in an army in the face