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Doc. 149.-capture of New-Orleans.

Official report of Commodore Farragut.

U. S. Flag-ship Hartford, at anchor off City of New-Orleans, April 29.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: I am happy to announce to you that our flag waves over both Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and at New-Orleans over the Custom-House.

I am taking every means to secure the occupation by Gen. Butler of all the forts along the coast. Berwick's Bay and Fort Pike have been abandoned; in fact there is a general stampede, and I shall endeavor to follow it up. I am bringing up the troops as fast as possible.

We have destroyed all the forts above the city, four in number, which we understood to be all the impediments between this and Memphis.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Western Gulf Block'g Squadron

Report of Commodore Porter.

United States steamer Harriet Lane, Mississippi River, April 25, 1862.
sir: I have the honor to inform you that Flag-Officer Farragut, with the fleet, passed Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the morning of the twenty-fourth, and should be in New-Orleans by this time, as he can meet with no obstacles such as he has already passed, the way being comparatively open before him.

We commenced the bombardment of Fort Jackson on the eighteenth, and continued it without intermission until the squadron made preparations to move.

The squadron was formed in three lines to pass the forts. Capt. Bailey's division, composed of the following vessels, leading to the attack of Fort St. Philip: Cayuga, Pensacola, Mississippi, [511] Oneida, Varuna, Katahdin, Kineo, Wissahickon; Flag-Officer Farragut leading the following, (second line:) Hartford, Brooklyn, Richmond; and Commander Bell leading the third division, composed of the following vessels: Scioto, Iroquois, Pinola, Winona, Itasca, and Kennebec.

The steamers belonging to the mortar flotilla, one of them towing the Portsmouth, were to enfilade the water-battery commanding the approaches. Mortar-steamers Harriet Lane, Westfield, Owasco, Clifton, and Marine--the Jackson towing the Portsmouth.

The vessels were rather late in getting under way and into line, and did not get fairly started until half-past 3 A. M., and the unusual bustle apprised the garrison that something was going on.

In an hour and ten minutes after the vessels had weighed anchor they had passed the forts under a most terrific fire, which they returned with interest.

The mortar-fleet rained down shells on Fort Jackson, to try and keep the men from the guns, whilst the steamers of the mortar-fleet poured in shrapnel upon the water-battery commanding the approach, at a short distance, keeping them comparatively quiet.

When the last vessel of ours could be seen among the fire and smoke to pass the battery, signal was made to the mortars to cease firing, and the flotilla steamers were directed to retire from a contest that would soon become unequal.

It was now daylight, and the fleet having passed along, the forts began to pay their attention to our little squadron of steamers, the Portsmouth, which was being towed up, and three of the gunboats which failed to pass through. These latter became entangled in some wrecks and chains placed in the river to obstruct, and which were only partially removed. One of these vessels (the Winona) got through as far as Fort St. Philip, but having all the guns bearing on her she sensibly retired. The Itasca was fairly riddled, and had a shot through her boiler, and the Kennebec escaped unhurt.

I am disposed to think that our squadron received but little damage, considering the unequal contest--one hundred and forty-two guns on board ship opposed to one hundred on shore, placed in a most commanding position. For twenty minutes after the ships passed the forts fired very feebly on the vessels that remained outside; so much so, that the Portsmouth was enabled to drop with the current out of gun-shot, though the shot fell pretty freely about her at last. I think the fire from the ships must have been very destructive of life.

The last we saw of our vessels they were standing up the river. Some explosion took place, which made us feel rather uneasy, but which may have been the rebel gunboats. We could see that our squadron had not destroyed all the enemy's vessels at the fort, for three or four of them were moving about in all directions, evidently in a state of excitement.

Before the fleet got out of sight it was reported to me that the celebrated ram Manassas was coming out to attack us; and sure enough there she was, apparently steaming along shore, ready to pounce upon the apparently defenceless mortarvessels. Two of our steamers and some of the mortar-vessels opened fire on her, but I soon discovered that the Manassas could harm no one again, and I ordered the vessels to save their shot. She was beginning to emit smoke from her ports or holes, and was discovered to be on fire and sinking. Her pipes were all twisted and riddled with shot, and her hull was also well cut up. She had evidently been used up by the squadron as they passed along. I tried to save her as a curiosity, by getting a hawser around her and securing her to the bank, but just after doing so she faintly exploded. Her only gun went off, and emitting flames through her bow-port, like some huge animal, she gave a plunge and disappeared under the water.

Next came a steamer on fire, which appeared to be a vessel of war belonging to the rebels, and after her two others, all burning and floating down the stream. Fires seemed to be raging all along the “up river,” and we supposed that our squadron were burning and destroying the vessels as they passed along. It appears, however, that the McRae, one or two river-boats, and their celebrated floating battery, (brought down the night before,) were left unhurt, and were still flying the confederate flag.

The matter of the floating battery becomes a very serious affair, as they are all hard at work at Fort Jackson mounting heavy rifled guns on it, which are no further use to them in the Fort. She mounts sixteen guns, is almost as formidable a vessel as the Merrimac, perfectly shot-proof, and has four powerful engines in her. I shall at all events take such steps as will prevent her from destroying anything, and we may still hold her in check with the steamers, though they are rather fragile for such a service. This is one of the ill effects of leaving an enemy in the rear. I suppose that the ships fired on her as they passed through, but that her mail resisted the shot. She had steam on this morning, and was moving about quite lively. I tried to put some mortarshell through her roof, but without effect, as she moved off.

The Forts are now cut off from all communication with New-Orleans, as I presume that Flag-Officer Farragut has cut the wires.

I have sent the Miami around with Gen. Butler to the back of Fort St. Philip to try and throw in troops at the quarantine, five miles along the Forts, and at the same time open communication that way with the Flag-Officer, and supply him with ammunition.

I am also going to send part of the mortar-fleet to the back of Fort Jackson to cut off the escape of the garrison by that way, and stop supplies. A deserter, who can be relied on, informs us that they have plenty of provisions for two months, plenty of ammunition, and plenty of discomforts. Our shell set the citadel on fire the first afternoon we opened. It burned fiercely for seven hours, [512] but I thought it a fire-raft behind the Fort, as they continually send them down on us, but without any effect.

But few casualties occurred to vessels on this side of the Forts. The Harriet Lane lost but one man killed, and one, I fear, mortally wounded. The Winona lost three killed and three wounded, and the Itasca, with fourteen shot through her, had but few men hurt.

These Forts can hold out still for some time, and I would suggest that the Monitor and Mystic, if they can be spared, be sent here without a moment's delay, to settle the question.

The mortar-fleet have been very much exposed, and under a heavy fire for six days, during which time they kept the shells going without intermission. One of them, the Maria I. Carlton, was sunk by a shot passing down through her magazine, and then through her bottom.

The flotilla lost but one man killed and six wounded. The bearing of the officers and men was worthy of the highest praise. They never once flagged during a period of six days; never had an accident to one of the vessels by firing, and when shell and shot were flying thick above them showed not the least desire to have the vessels moved to a place of safety. The incidents of the bombardment will be mentioned in my detailed report. I merely write this hurried letter to apprize the Department of the state of affairs, and shall send it off at once via Havana.

The sight of this night attack was awfully grand. The river was lit up with rafts filled with pine-knots, and the ships seemed to be fighting literally amidst flames and smoke. Where we were the fire of the enemy was high, and comparatively harmless.

I am in hopes that the ships above fared as well as we did. Though amid such a terrific fire, it was gratifying to see that not a ship wavered, but stood steady on her course; and I am in hopes (and I see no reason to doubt it) that they now have possession of New-Orleans.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Commanding Flotilla. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of Navy.

United States steamer Harriet Lane, Mississippi River, April 25, 1862.
Capt. Boggs has just arrived through a cut through the swamps, and brings the following additional intelligence: The Varuna was sunk; about one hundred men were killed and wounded; ships all ready for another fight; no obstructions on the way to New-Orleans. Eleven confederate vessels sunk and burnt in passing the Forts. Gen. Butler is about to land men the back way, six miles above the Forts. No officers killed or wounded. Soldiers captured miserably armed, and without ammunition.

Com. Porter's Second report.

U. S. Ship Harriet Lane, April 29, 1862.
sir: The morning after the ships passed the Forts I sent a demand to Col. Higgins for a surrender of the Forts, which was declined. On the twenty-seventh I sent Lieut.-Col. Higgins a communication, herewith enclosed, asking again for the surrender. His answer is enclosed. On the twenty-eighth I received a communication from him, stating that he would surrender the Forts, and I came up and took possession, drew up articles of capitulation, and hoisted the American flag over the Forts.

These men have defended these Forts with a bravery worthy of a better cause. I treated them with all the consideration that circumstances would admit. The three steamers remaining were under the command of Com. J. K. Mitchell. The officer of the Fort acknowledged no connection with them, and wished in no way to be considered responsible for their acts. While I had a flag of truce up they were employed in towing the iron floating battery of sixteen guns (a most formidable affair) to a place above the Forts, and, while drawing up the articles of capitulation in the cabin of the Harriet Lane, it was reported to me that they had set fire to the battery and turned it adrift upon us. I asked the General if it had powder on board or guns loaded. He replied that he would not undertake to say what the navy officers would do; he seemed to have a great contempt for them. I told him, “We could stand the fire and blow up if he could,” and went on with the conference, after directing the officers to look out for their ships. While drifting down on us, the guns, getting heated, exploded, throwing the shot above the river. A few moments after the battery exploded with a terrific noise, throwing fragments all over the river, and wounding one of their own men in Fort St. Philip, and immediately disappeared under water. Had she blown up near the vessels, she would have destroyed the whole of them.

When I had finished taking possession of the Forts, I got under way in the Harriet Lane and started for the steamers, one of which was still flying the confederate flag. I fired a shot over her and they surrendered. There was on board of them a number of naval officers and two companies of marine artillery. I made them surrender unconditionally, and for their infamous conduct in trying to blow us up while under a flag of truce, I conveyed them to close confinement as prisoners of war, and think they should be sent to the North, and kept in close confinement there until the war is over, or they should be tried for their infamous conduct. I have a great deal to do here, and will send you all papers when I am able to arrange them.

I turned over the Forts to Gen. Phelps. Fort Jackson is a perfect ruin. I am told that over eighteen hundred shells fell in and burst over the centre of the Fort. The practice was beautiful. The next Fort we go at we will settle sooner, as this has been hard to get at.

The naval officers sunk one gunboat while the capitulation was going on, but I have one of the other steamers at work, and hope soon to have the other. I find that we are to be the hewers of wood and drawers of water; but, as the soldiers [513] have nothing here in the shape of motive power, we will do all we can.

I should have demanded an unconditional surrender, but with such a force in your rear it was desirable to get possession of these Forts as soon as possible. The officers turned over everything in good order, except the walls and buildings, which are terribly shattered by the mortars.

Very respectfully,

Capitulation of the Forts.

U. S. Steamer Harriet Lane, Mississippi River, April 30, 1862.
sir: I enclose herewith the capitulation of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which surrendered to the mortar flotilla on the twenty-eighth of April, 1862. I also enclose in a box (forwarded on this occasion) all the flags taken in the two Forts, with the original flag hoisted on Fort St. Philip when the State of Louisiana seceded.

Fort Jackson is a perfect wreck; everything in the shape of a building in and about it was burned up by the mortar shells, and over eighteen hundred shells fell in the work proper, to say nothing of those which burst over and went around. I devoted but little attention to Fort St. Philip, knowing that when Jackson fell Fort St. Philip would follow.

The mortar flotilla is still fresh and ready for service. Truly the backbone of the rebellion is broken. On the twenty-sixth of the month I sent six of the mortar schooners to the back of Fort Jackson to block up the bayous, and prevent supplies getting in. Three of them drifted over to Fort Livingston, and when they anchored the Fort hung out a white flag and surrendered. The Kittaninny, which had been blockading these for some time, sent a boat in advance of the mortar vessels, and, reaching the shore first, deprived them of the pleasure of hoisting our flag over what had surrendered to the mortar flotilla. Still, the Fort is ours, and we are satisfied. I am happy to state that officers and crew are all well and full of spirits.

I have the honor to remain your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Commanding Flotilla. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary Navy.

U. S. steamer Harriet Lane, Forts Jackson and St. Philip, Mississippi River, April 28, 1862.
By articles of capitulation, entered into this twenty-eighth day of April, 1862, between David D. Porter, Commander U. S. Navy, commanding the United States Mortar Flotilla, of the one part, and Brig.-Gen. J. K. Duncan, commanding the coast defences, and Lieut.-Col. Edward Higgins, commanding Forts Jackson and St. Philip, of the other part, it is mutually agreed:

First. That Brig.-Gen. Duncan and Lieut.-Col. Higgins shall surrender to the mortar flotilla Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the arms, munitions of war, and all the apputenances thereunto belonging, together with all public property that may be under their charge.

Second. It is agreed by Com. David D. Porter, commanding the mortar flotilla, that Brig.-Gen Duncan and Lieut.-Col. Higgins, together with the officers under their command shall be permitted to retain their side-arms, and that all private property shall be respected; furthermore, that they shall give their parole of honor not to serve in arms against the Government of the United States until regularly exchanged.

Third. It is furthermore agreed by Com. David D. Porter, commanding the mortar flotilla, on the part of the United States Government, that the non-commissioned officers, privates, and musicians shall be permitted to retire on parole, their commanding and other officers becoming responsible for them ; and that they shall deliver up their arms and accoutrements in their present condition, provided that no expenses accruing from the transportation of the men shall be defrayed by the Government of the United States.

Fourth. On the signing of these articles by the contracting parties the Forts shall be formally taken possession of by the United States naval forces composing the mortar flotilla, the confederate flag shall be lowered, and the flag of the United States hoisted on the flag-staffs of Forts Jackson and St. Philip.

In agreement of the above, we, the undersigned, do hereunto set our hands and seals.

David D. Porter, Commanding Mortar Flotilla. W. B. Renshaw, Commander United States Navy. J. M. Wainwright, Lieut. Commanding Harriet Lane. J. K. Duncan, Brig.-Gen. Commanding Coast Defences. Edward Higgins, Lieut.-Col. C. S.A., Commanding Forts Jackson and St. Philip. Witnesses: Ed. T. Nichols, Lieut. Commanding Winona. J. H. Russels, Lieut. Commanding Kanawha.

Captain Bailey's report.

United States gunboat Cayuga, off New-Orleans, April 25, 1862.
Flag-officer: Your boldly conceived and splendidly executed plan of battle having resulted in perfect success, leaves me time to make up the report of my division.

You will find in Lieut. Commanding Harrison's report an accurate outline of the noble part taken by the Cayuga, under his command, and bearing my division-flag.

We led off at two A. M., in accordance with your signal, and steered directly up stream, edging a little to starboard, in order to give room for your division. I was followed by the pensacola in fine style, the remainder of my division following in regular and compact order. We were scarcely above the boom, when we were discovered, and Jackson and St. Philip opened upon us. We could bring no gun to bear, but steered directly on. We were struck from stem to stern. At [514] length we were close up with St. Philip, when we opened with grape and canister. Scarcely were we above the line of fire, when we found ourselves attacked by the rebel fleet of gunboats. This was hot, but more congenial work. Two large steamers now attempted to board at our starboard bow; the other astern, a third on our starboard-beam. The eleven-inch Dahlgren being trained on this fellow, we fired at a range of thirty yards. The effect was very destructive. She immediately steered in shore, run aground, and sunk. The Parrott gun on the forecastle drove off the one on the bow, while we prepared to repel boarders, so close was our remaining enemy about this time. Boggs and Lee came dashing in, and made a finish of the rebel boats, eleven in all.

In the grey of the morning we discovered a camp, with the rebel flag flying; opened with canister at five A. M.; received the sword and flag of Colonel Szymanski, and his command of Fire companies, arms, and camp equipage.

While engaged at this point, observed the Varuna in conflict with a number of gunboats. She had been butted by one of them and sunk; but, with his forward guns still above water, he was bravely maintaining the fight, driving off his enemies, and saving his crew. Informing Captain Lee, of the Oneida, who had also been engaged with the enemy, of the Varuna's situation, he instantly steamed up, and made a finish of the rebel boats.

The remainder of the fleet now came up. The Mississippi had been detained below with the Manassas and another iron-clad. After this everything passed under your observation.

The pleasant duty now remains of speaking of the Cayuga and her brave officers and crew. From first to last Lieut. Commanding Harrison displayed ability in steering his vessel past the Forts, under a hurricane of shot and shell, and afterwards in manoeuvring and fighting her among the gunboats. I cannot say too much for him. He was gallantly sustained by Lieut. George H. Perkins and Acting Master Thomas H. Martin. These officers have my unbounded admiration.

I must, in conclusion, express the pleasure which I experience in witnessing the seaman-like manner in which all the ships were handled. The reports of divisional captains will inform you of the particular part borne by each ship.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. Bailey, Captain Commanding Division of the Red. To Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, Commander-in-Chief, etc.

General report of Captain Bailey.

United States gunboat Cayuga, at sea, May 7, 1862.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: Having found it impossible to get the Colorado over the bars of the Mississippi, I sent up a large portion of her guns and crew, filling up deficiencies of both in the different vessels, and with my aid, Acting Midshipman Higginson, steward and boat's crew, followed up myself, hoisting, by authority of the flag-officer, my Red, distinguishing flag as second in command, first on the Oneida, Com. Lee, and afterward on the Cayuga.

That brave, resolute and indefatigable officer, Com. D. D. Porter, was at work with his mortar-fleet, throwing shells at and into Fort Jackson, while Gen. Butler, with a division of his army, in transports, was waiting a favorable moment to land.

After the mortar-fleet had been playing upon the Forts for six days and nights, without perceptibly diminishing their fire, and one or two changes in programme, Flag--Officer Farragut formed the ships into two columns, “line ahead” --the column of the Red, under my orders, being formed on the right, and consisted of the Cayuga, Lieut. Commanding Harrison, bearing my flag, and leading the Pensacola, Capt. Morris; the Mississippi, Com. M. Smith; Oneida, Com. S. P. Lee; Varuna, Com. C. L. Boggs; Katahdin, Lieut. Commanding Preble; Kineo, Lieut. Commanding Ransom, and the Wissahickon, Lieut. Commanding A. W. Smith.

The column of the Blue was formed on the left, heading up the river, and consisted of the flagship Hartford, Coin. R. Wainwright, and bearing the flag of the Commander-in-Chief, Farragut; the Brooklyn, Captain T. T. Craven; the Richmond, Com. Alden; the Scioto, bearing the divisional flag of the fleet, Capt. H. H. Bell, followed by the Iroquois, Itasca, Winona and Kennebec.

At two A. M., on the morning of the twenty-fourth, the signal “to advance” was thrown out from the flag-ship. The Cayuga immediately weighed anchor, and led on the column. We were discovered at the boom, and a little beyond both Forts opened their fire. When close up with St. Philip, we opened with grape and canister, still steering on. After passing this line of fire, we encountered the “Montgomery flotilla,” consisting of eighteen gunboats, including the ram Manassas, and iron-battery Louisiana, of twenty guns. This was a moment of anxiety, as no supporting ship was in sight. By skilful steering, however, we avoided their attempts to butt and board, and had succeeded in forcing the surrender of three, when the Varuna, Capt. Bogg, and Oneida, Capt. Lee, were discovered near at hand. The gallant exploits of these ships will be made known by their commanders.

At early dawn discovered a rebel camp on the right bank of the river. Ordering Lieut. Commanding N. B. Harrison to anchor close along, I hailed and ordered the Colonel to pile up his arms on the river-bank and come on board. This proved to be the Chalmetto regiment, commanded by Col. Szymanski. The regimental flag, tents, and camp equipage were captured.

On the morning of the twenty-fifth, still leading and considerably ahead of the line, the Chalmetto batteries, situated three miles below the city, opened a cross-fire on the Cayuga. To this we responded with our two guns. At the end of [515] twenty minutes the flag-ship ranged up ahead and silenced the enemy's guns.

From this point no other obstacles were encountered except burning steamers, cotton-ships, fire-rafts, and the like.

Immediately after anchoring in front of the city, I was ordered on shore by the Flag-Officer to demand the surrender of the city, and that the flag should be hoisted on the Post-Office, Custom-House, and Mint. What passed at this interview will be better stated in the Flag-Officer's report.

On the twenty-sixth I went with the Flag-Officer some seven miles above the city, where we found the defences abandoned, the guns spiked, and gun-carriages burning. These defences were erected to prevent the downward passage of Capt. Foote. On the twenty-seventh a large boom, situated above these defences, was destroyed by Capt. S. Phillips Lee.

On the twenty-eighth Gen. Butler landed above Fort St. Philip, under the guns of the Mississippi and Kineo. This landing of the army above, together with the passage of the fleet, appears to have put the finishing touch to the demoralization of their garrison, (three hundred having mutinied in Fort Jackson.) Both forts surrendered to Com. Porter, who was near at hand with the vessels of his flotilla.

As I left the river Gen. Butler had garrisoned Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and his transports, with troops, were on the way to occupy New-Orleans.

I cannot too strongly express my admiration of the cool and able management of all the vessels of my line by their respective captains.

After we had passed the Forts it was a contest between iron hearts in wooden vessels and ironclads with iron beaks, and the “iron hearts” won.

On the twenty-ninth the Cayuga, Lieut. Commanding Harrison, was selected to bring me home a bearer of despatches to the Government.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Commander Boggs's report.

U. S. Steamer Brooklyn, off New-Orleans, April 29, 1862.
Flag-Officer David G. Farragut, Commanding W. G. B. Squadron:
sir: I have the honor to report that after passing the batteries with the steamer Varuna under my command, on the morning of the twenty-fourth, finding my vessel amid a nest of rebel steamers, I started ahead, delivering her fire, both starboard and port, at every one that she passed.

The first vessel on her starboard beam that received her fire appeared to be crowded with troops. Her boiler was exploded, and she drifted to the shore. In like manner three other vessels, one of them a gunboat, were driven ashore in flames, and afterward blew up.

At six A. M. the Varuna was attacked by the Morgan, iron-clad about the bow, commanded by Beverly Kennon, an ex-naval officer. This vessel raked us along the port gangway, killing four and wounding nine of the crew, butting the Varuna on the quarter and again on the starboard side. I managed to get three eight-inch shell into her abaft her armor, as also several shot from the after rifled gun, when she dropped out of action partially disabled.

While still engaged with her, another rebel steamer, iron-clad, with a prow under water, struck us in the port gangway, doing considerable damage. Our shot glanced from her bow. She backed off for another blow, and struck again in the same place, crushing in the side; but by going ahead fast the concussion drew her bow around, and I was able, with the port guns, to give her, while close alongside, five eight-inch shells abaft her armor. This settled her, and drove her ashore in flame.

Finding the Varuna sinking, I ran her into the bank, let go the anchor, and tied up to the trees.

During all this time the guns were actively at work crippling the Morgan, which was making feeble efforts to get up steam. The fire was kept up until the water was over the gun-trucks, when I turned my attention to getting the wounded and crew out of the vessel. The Oneida, Capt. Lee, seeing the condition of the Varuna, had rushed to her assistance, but I waved her on, and the Morgan surrendered to her, the vessel being in flames. I have since learned that over fifty of her crew were killed and wounded, and she was set on fire by her commander, who burnt his wounded with his vessel.

I cannot award too much praise to the officers and crew of the Varuna for the noble manner in which they supported me, and their coolness under such exciting circumstances, particularly when extinguishing fire, having been set on fire twice during the action by shells.

In fifteen minutes from the time the Varuna was struck she was on the bottom, with only her top-gallant forecastle out of water. The officers and crew lost everything they possessed, no one thinking of leaving his station until driven thence by the water. I trust the attention of the Department will be called to their loss, and compensation made to those who have lost their all.

The crew were taken off by the different vessels of the fleet as fast as they arrived, and are now distributed through the squadron. The wounded have been sent to the Pensacola.

I would particularly commend to the notice of the Department Oscar Peck, second-class boy, and powder-boy of the after rifle, whose coolness and intrepidity attracted the attention of all hands. A fit reward for such services would be an appointment to the Naval School.

The marines, although new recruits, more than maintained the reputation of that corps. Their galling fire cleared the Morgan's rifled gun, and prevented a repetition of her murderous fire. Four of the marines were wounded, one I fear mortally.

So soon as the crew were saved, I reported to you in person, and within an hour left in the only remaining boat belonging to the Varuna with [516] your despatches for Gen. Butler, returning with him yesterday afternoon.

Very respectfully,

Charles Boggs, Commander U. S. Navy.

The loss of the Varuna.

U. S. Steam gunboat Varuna, at sea, May 8, 1862.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a duplicate of the report of Commander Boggs, late of the Varuna, and attached to my division of the attacking force. This gallant officer came up to my support when I had more of the enemy's steamers attacking me than I could well attend to. I afterward saw him in conflict with three of the enemy's steamers, and directed Commander Lee, of the Oneida, to go to his support, which he did in the most dashing manner. Commander Boggs's description of the loss of his vessel, I believe to be accurate. I saw him bravely fighting, his guns level with the water, as his vessel gradually sunk underneath, leaving her bow resting on the shore, and above water.

I have the honor to be

Your obedient servant,

T. Bailey, Captain.

Report of General Butler.

headquarters Department of the Gulf, Forts Jackson and Philip, April 29, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
sir: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to my instructions, I remained on the Mississippi River, with the troops named in my former despatch, awaiting the action of the fleet engaged in the bombardment of the Forts Jackson and St. Philip.

Failing to reduce them after six days of incessant fire, Flag-Officer Farragut determined to attempt their passage with his whole fleet, except that part thereof under the immediate command of Capt. Porter, known as the mortar-fleet.

On the morning of the twenty-fourth instant, the fleet got under weigh, and twelve vessels, including the four sloops-of-way, ran the gauntlet of fire of the Forts, and were safely above. Of the gallantry, courage, and conduct of this heroic action, unprecedented in naval warfare, considering the character of the works and the river, too much cannot be said. Of its casualties, and the details of its performance, the Flag-Officer will give an account to the proper department. I witnessed this daring exploit from a point about eight hundred yards from Fort Jackson, and unwittingly under its fire, and the sublimity of the scene can never be exceeded.

The fleet pressed on up the river to New-Orleans, leaving two gunboats to protect the Quarantine Station, five miles above.

In case the Forts were not reduced and a portion of the fleet got by them, it had been arranged between the Flag-Officer and myself, that I should make a landing from the Gulf side, in the rear of the Forts at the Quarantine, and from thence attempt Fort St. Philip by storm and assault, while the bombardment was continued by the fleet.

I immediately went to Sable Island with my transports, twelve miles in the rear of Fort St. Philip, the nearest point at which a sufficient depth of water could be found for them. Capt. Porter put at my disposal the Miami, drawing seven and one half feet, being the lightest draught vessel in the fleet, to take the troops from the ship as far in as the water would allow. We were delayed twenty-four hours by her running ashore at Pass a l'outre. The Twenty-sixth regiment Massachusetts volunteers, Col. Jones, were then put on board her, and carried within six miles of the Fort, where she again grounded.

Capt. Everett, of the Sixth Massachusetts battery, having very fully reconnoitred the waters and bayous in that vicinity, and foreseeing the necessity, i had collected and brought with me some thirty boats, into which the troops were again transhipped, and conveyed by a most fatiguing and laborious row some four and a half miles further, there being within one mile of the steamer, only two and a half feet of water.

A large portion of this passage was against a heavy current, through a bayou. At the entrance of Mameel's Canal, a mile and a half from the point of landing, rowing became impossible, as well from the narrowness of the canal as the strength of the current, which ran like a millrace. Through this the boats could only be impelled by dragging them singly, with the men up to their waists in water.

It is due to this fine regiment, and to a portion of the Fourth Wisconsin volunteers and Twenty-first Indiana, who landed under this hardship without a murmur, that their labors should be made known to the Department, as well as to account for the slowness of our operations.

The enemy evidently considered this mode of attack impossible, as they had taken no measures to oppose it, which might very easily have been successfully done.

We occupied at once both sides of the river, thus effectually cutting them off from all supplies, information, or succor, while we made our dispositions for the assault.

Meantime Capt. Porter had sent into the bayou, in the rear of Fort Jackson, two schooners of his mortar-fleet, to prevent the escape of the enemy from the Fort in that direction.

In the hurry and darkness of the passage of the Forts, the Flag-Officer had overlooked three of the ememy's gunboats and the iron-clad battery Louisiana, which were at anchor under the walls of the Fort. Supposing that all the rebel boats had been destroyed, (and a dozen or more had been,) he passed on to the city, leaving these in his rear. The iron steam-battery being very formidable, Capt. Porter deemed it prudent to withdraw his mortar-fleet some miles below, where he could have room to manoeuvre it if attacked by the iron monster, and the bombardment ceased.

I had got Brig.-Gen. Phelps in the river below [517] with two regiments to make demonstrations in that direction if it became possible.

In the night of the twenty-seventh, learning that the fleet had got the city under its guns, I left Brig.-Gen. Williams in charge of the landing of the troops, and went up the river to the flagship to procure light draught transportation. That night the larger portion (about two hundred and fifty) of the garrison of Fort Jackson mutinied, spiked the guns bearing up the river, came up and surrendered themselves to my pickets, declaring that, as we had got in their rear, resistance was useless, and they would not be sacrificed. No bomb had been thrown at them for three days, nor had they fired a shot at us from either Fort. They averred that they had been impressed, and would fight no longer.

On the twenty-eighth the officers of Forts Jackson and St. Philip surrendered to Capt. Porter, he having means of water transportation to them. While he was negotiating, however, with the officers of the Forts under a white flag, the rebel naval officers put all their munitions of war on the Louisiana; set her on fire and adrift upon the Harriet Lane, but when opposite Fort St. Philip she blew up, killing one of their own men by the fragments which fell into that Fort.

I have taken possession of the Forts and find them substantially as defensible as before the bombardment — St. Philip precisely so, it being quite uninjured. They are fully provisioned, well supplied with ammunition, and the ravages of the shells have been defensibly repaired by the labors of the rebels. I will cause Lieut. Wietzel, of the engineers, to make a detailed report of their condition to the Department.

I have left the Twenty-sixth regiment Massachusetts volunteers in garrison, and am now going up the river to occupy the city with my troops, and make further demonstrations in the rear of the enemy now at Corinth.

The rebels have abandoned all their defensive works in and around New-Orleans, including Forts Pike and Wood, on Lake Ponchartrain, and Fort Livingston from Barataria Bay. They have retired in the direction of Corinth, beyond Manchac Pass, and abandoned everything up the river as far as Donaldsonville, some seventy miles beyond New-Orleans.

I propose to so far depart from the letter of my instructions as to endeavor to persuade the Flag-Officer to pass up the river as far as the mouth of Red River, if possible, so as to cut off their supplies, and make there a landing and a demonstration in their rear as a diversion in favor of Gen. Buell, if a decisive battle is not fought before such movement is possible.

Mobile is ours whenever we choose, and we can better wait.

I find the city under the dominion of the mob. They have insulted our flag-torn it down with indignity. This outrage will be punished in such manner as in my judgment will caution both the perpetrators and abettors of the act, so that they shall fear the stripes if they do not reverence the stars of our banner.

I send a marked copy of a New-Orleans paper containing an applauding account of the outrage.

Trusting my action may meet the approbation of the Department,

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

Benjamin F. Butler, Major-General Commanding.

Report of Capt. T. T. Craven.

U. S. Steamer Brooklyn, Mississippi River, off New-Orleans, April 26, 1862.
sir: I have the honor to enclose reports from the executive officer, surgeon, gunner, carpenter, and boatswain, relative to the occurrences, casualties, expenditure of ammunition, and damages on board this ship on the morning of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth inst.

It becomes my duty to add that on the morning of the twenty-fourth, soon after the action between our fleet and the Forts St. Philip and Jackson commenced, in consequence of the darkness of the night, and the blinding smoke, I lost sight of your ships; and when following on the line of what I supposed to be your fire, I suddenly found the Brooklyn running over one of the hulks and rafts which sustained the chain-barricade of the river. Whilst in this situation I received a pretty severe fire from Fort St. Philip. I immediately after extricated my ship from the rafts, her head was turned up-stream, and a few minutes thereafter she was fully butted by the celebrated ram Manassas. She came butting into our starboard gangway, first firing from her trap-door when within about ten feet of the ship, directly toward our smoke-stack-her shot entering about five feet above the water-line, and lodging in the sandbags which protected our steam-drum. I had discovered this queer-looking gentleman while forcing my way over the barricade lying close into the bank, and when he made his appearance the second time, I was so close to him that he had not an opportunity to get up his full speed, and his efforts to damage me were completely frustrated, our chain-armor proving a perfect protection to our sides. He soon slid off and disappeared in the darkness.

A few minutes thereafter, being all this while under a raking fire from Fort Jackson, I was attacked by a large rebel steamer. Our port broadside, at the short distance of only fifty or sixty yards, completely finished him, setting him on fire almost instantaneously.

Still groping my way in the dark, or under the black cloud of smoke from the fire-raft, I suddenly found myself abreast of St. Philip, and so close that the leadsman in the starboard chains gave the soundings “thirteen feet, sir.” As we could bring all our guns to bear for a few brief moments, we poured in grape and canister, and I had the satisfaction of completely silencing that work before I left it, my men in the tops witnessing, in the flashes of their bursting shrapnel, the enemy running like sheep for more comfortable quarters.

After passing the Forts we engaged several of the enemy's gunboats, and being at short range, generally from sixty to one hundred yards, the effects of our broadsides of grape must have been [518] terrific. This ship was under fire about one hour and a half. We lost eight men killed and had twenty-six wounded, and our damages from the enemy's shot and shell are severe. I should not have been so particular, sir, in recording so many incidents of the morning of the twenty-fourth, had I not been out of my proper station; but justice to my officers and crew demands that I should show that the Brooklyn was neither idle nor useless on that never-to-be-forgotten occasion.

In conclusion, I must here beg leave to add that my officers and crew all, without a single exception, behaved in a most heroic manner. Indeed, I was surprised to witness their perfect coolness and self-possession as they stood at their guns, while the rebels were hailing shot and shell upon us for nearly half an hour before I gave the order to “open fire!” I have to congratulate myself on being so ably assisted by my executive officer, Lieut. B. B. Lowry. He was everywhere, inspiring both officers and crew with his own zeal and gallantry in the performance of their duty. Lieut. James O'Kane, who had charge of the first division, was severely wounded soon after we commenced the action; but not until he had himself primed, sighted and fired two guns, and from loss of blood fallen to the deck, would he consent to be carried below.

Lieut. James Forney, commanding the marines, had two guns assigned him, and with his men fought most gallantly. I was early deprived of my signal officer and aid, Acting Midshipman John Anderson, by a shot, which cut him and the Signal Quartermaster, Barney Sands, nearly in two. Young Anderson was a most promising and gallant young gentleman, and had only a few days previous volunteered from another vessel, which had been detailed for other duty, to join this ship. He was knocked overboard and killed instantly. Immediately afterwards my young clerk, Mr. J. G. Swift (who had been meanwhile taking notes) asked me to let him act as my aid, and the prompt self-possessed manner in which he performed his duty, in conveying my orders, elicited my highest admiration.

The conduct of Quartermaster James Buck, stationed at the wheel, merits particular mention. Early in the fight he received a severe and painful contusion by a heavy splinter, but for seven hours afterward he stood bravely at his post, and performed his duty, refusing to go below until positively ordered to do so; and on the morning of the twenty-fifth, without my knowledge, he again stole to his station, and steered the ship from early daylight until half-past 1 P. M.--over eight hours. I beg particularly that you will bring this man's conduct to the especial notice of the Navy Department. Of the part taken in the attack on the two batteries, on the morning of the twenty-fifth, by the ship, you can bear witness, and it is unnecessary for me to write.

In conclusion, sir, permit me to congratulate you upon this most brilliant success. The attack by our squadron upon two strong and garrisoned Forts, steaming within grape and canister range, and partially silencing them, and the pursuit and destruction of almost their entire fleet of gunboats, has not been surpassed, if equalled, by any navy in the world. Under the providence of Almighty God, we have achieved a most glorious victory.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Thos. T. Craven, Captain. Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, Commanding Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.

Surgeon Foltz's report: the killed and wounded.

Flag-ship Hartford, New-Orleans, April 28.
sir: I have the honor to report the following list of killed and wounded in the fleet, during the brilliant engagements with Forts Jackson and Philip, and the batteries below the city of New-Orleans, on the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth inst., namely:


On the flag-ship Hartford--Joseph Lawrence, seaman, by a shot; William Brown, landsman, by a shell; Aug. Thomas, captain of the forecastle, by a shell. Total, three.

On the BrooklynJohn Anderson, midshipman, struck and knocked overboard by a cannonshot; Wm. Lenahan, marine; Daniel McEmary, boy; Barry Sands, Quartermaster; Thos. White, captain of the maintop; Henry H. Roff, marine; Andrew Rourke, seaman; Dennis Leary, ordinary seaman; John Wade, seaman. Total, nine.

On the PensacolaTheodore Myers, seaman; James Murray, ordinary seaman; Thos. Gunnin, landsman; Nelson D. Downing, landsman.

On the RichmondJohn B. Brady, aged nineteen, Acting Master's Mate, born in Brownsville, N. Y., killed by a rifle-ball; W. M. Brady, ordinary seaman, aged twenty-three. Total, two.

On the IroquoisJames Philipps, seaman; Alexander von Vredenburg, ordinary seaman; Maurice Murphy, ordinary seaman; Edwin R. Parcell, boy; Jacob Scheenteldt, marine; George W. Cole, Master's Mate. Total, six.

On the PinolaThomas Kelly, captain of the forecastle; Robert H. Johnson, landsman; John Notton, landsman. Total, three.

On the VarunaAndrew A. Smith, landsman; Charles Hartford, seaman; Daniel McPherson, ordinary seaman. Total, three.

the wounded.

On the flag-ship Hartford--Philip Morgan, seaman, severely; Charles Banks, landsman, severely; Theodore Douglass, officers' steward, severely; Randall Talifaira, landsman, severely; Henry Manning, ordinary seaman, severely; Henry King, marine, severely; Jabail Doane, seaman, slightly; Geo. White, marine, slightly; Mr. Cauley, carpenter, severely; Mr. Heisler, lieutenant of marines, slightly. Total, ten.

On the Brooklyn--Mr. James O'Kane, Master, severely; Jas. Stafford, Acting Master, slightly; E. J. Lowe, Master's Mate, slightly; Wm. McBride, seaman, severely; Levin Heath, marine, slightly; Thos. Griffin, landsman, severely; John [519] Willoughby, ordinary seaman; John Chase, seaman, slightly; E. Blanchard, ordinary seaman, severely; J. R. Sanders, marine, contusion; Mr. Wells, seaman, contusion; Robert Hamson, ordinary seaman, contusion; J. Hassett, landsman, contusion; G. Coventry, gunner, contusion; L. Killion, marine, slightly; Cornelius Martin, ordinary seaman, probably mortally; James H. Powell, ordinary seaman, slightly; H. O. Buskin, ordinary seaman, severely; John Willis, ordinary seaman, severely; John Daurin, landsman, slightly; James Welbey, captain of the mizzen-top, severely; Alexander Anderson, landsman, severely; James Black, Quartermaster, slightly; Joseph----, seaman, slightly; John Griffith; James Williams, captain of the main-top, slightly. Total, twenty-six.

On the PensacolaJohn Ryan, Quartermaster, mortally; George Mowry, Quartermaster, mortally; Jonathan Roberts, ordinary seaman, severely; Michael McKeene, landsman, severely; Gustavus Mason, landsman, severely; Thomas Kelly, boatswain's mate; Edward Brown, captain of the guard, severely; John Sherlock, ship's cook, severely; John Jenkins, ordinary seaman, severely ; James O'Haniel, seaman, severely; Samuel Cooper, ordinary seaman, slightly; David Henderson, ordinary seaman, slightly; A. C. Gifford, ordinary seaman, slightly; John Stuart, ordinary seaman, slightly; Samuel Randolph, ordinary seaman, slightly; P. McKay, landsman, slightly; Edward Bowman, landsman, slightly; Edward Lee, first-class boy, slightly; Henry Stambach, sergeant of marines, slightly; George Perkins, marine, slightly; Michael O'Brien, marine, slightly; Frederick Daoz, marine, slightly; Francis Pepper, marine, slightly; John Brogan, marine, slightly; John C. Harris, lieutenant of marines, slightly; Shultz Gerard, Acting Master, slightly; John C. Hadley, Third Assistant Engineer, slightly; Wilson Goodrich, boatswain, slightly; Joseph B. Cox, carpenter, slightly; Alfred Reynolds, Master's Mate, slightly; George Dolliver, slightly. Total, thirty-three.

On the RichmondJohn Gordon, seaman, severely; Charles A. Benson, ordinary seaman, slightly; Ed. Collins, ordinary seaman, slightly; John Ford, seaman, slightly. Total, four.

On the IroquoisJames Noland, seaman, mortally; Walter J. White, corporal of marines, mortally; Robert Lewis, armorer, severely; George Clark, gunner, severely; Robert Greenleaf, seaman, severely; John Smith, boy, severely; Martin Winter, boatswain's mate, severely; John Brown, captain of maintop, slightly; John Conway, ship's corporal, slightly; George Higgins, seaman, slightly; Benjamin Rockwell, seaman, slightly; Wm. Pool, ordinary seaman, slightly; Henry Walters, ordinary seaman, slightly; Wm. Morgan, landsman, slightly; Thos. Kealy, landsman, slightly; Owen Campbell, landsman, slightly; Alfred Green, boy, slightly; Alfred Jackson, marine, slightly; James Bolin, seaman, slightly; James McCumiskey, seaman, slightly; Thomas Francis, ordinary seaman, slightly; Frank R. Harris, Third Assistant Engineer, slightly. Total, twenty-two.

On the PinolaThomas Foster, ship's cook; Thomas Ford, landsman, severely; Thomas H. Jones and Henry Stakely, officers' cook, severely; William Ackworth, Quartermaster, slightly; Thomas L. Smith, coal-heaver, slightly; James A. Bassford, ordinary seaman, slightly. Total, seven.

On the CayugaJohn Lawson and Frederick O. G. Frinke, landsmen, severely; Francis Neesall, ordinary seaman, John Humphrey, coal-heaver, James Smith, landsman, John Titus, officers' cook, all slightly. Total, six.

On the SciotoFrancis Moser and J. Harrington, slightly. Total, two.

On the VarunaM. Reagan and F. Johnson, ordinary seamen, slightly; Wm. Joyce, landsman, slightly; J. Gordon, marine, severely; D. McLaughlin, Wm. Perkins, J. Logan, boy, slightly. Total, nine.

Total killed,30
Total wounded,119

Several vessels have not yet made their official returns.

I am, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. M. Foltz, Fleet-Surgeon. To Flag-Officer David G. Farragut, Commanding Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.

Joseph S. Harris's report.

South-West pass, Mississippi River, May 4, 1862.
F. H. Gerdes, Esq., Ass't U. S. Coast Survey:
sir: While engaged in the survey of the injuries received by Fort Jackson during the bombardment, and the passage of the fleet, several incidents came under my notice, which, at your request, I have now the honor to submit to you in writing.

While waiting for the boat to take us off, on the last day on which we were engaged in the survey, Mr. Oltmanns and I fell into conversation with some men who had been in the Fort as part of the garrison. One of them, who said he was a New-Yorker, particularly impressed us as a reliable, intelligent man, from the moderation of his statements, and I think his information well worthy of note.

I shall merely record his statements, as the conversation on our part which drew forth information on the points where we especially desired it, is not necessary to the understanding of them, and this communication is likely to be very long without the introduction of any irrelevant matter.

Gen. J. K. Duncan had command of both Forts, and Col. Higgins, who some years ago was an officer of the United States Navy, had the immediate command of Fort Jackson. Col. Higgins has the credit of being a most brave and vigilant officer.

For forty-eight hours my informant thought Col. Higgins had not left the ramparts, and never seemed in the least disconcerted when the bombs were falling thickest around him. [520]

A large proportion of the forces inside the Forts were Northern men, and there were also many foreigners. The party that seized the Fort early in 1861 was a company of German Yagers, and there were a number of Irish also. In all there were some six hundred or seven hundred men in the Fort about the time of the bombardment. The Northern men were mostly sent down at an early stage of the proceedings, and I imagine most of them volunteered, hoping in that way to avoid suspicion, and, perhaps, not have to fight against the Government after all. [Col. Higgins had no expectation of being attacked, that is, he thought no fleet could be brought against him sufficiently strong to risk an attack.]

There was a company of sharpshooters attached to the forces, under the command of Capt. Mullen. They numbered about two hundred, and were largely recruited from the riff-raff of New-Orleans. They scouted as far down as eight or nine miles below the Forts, and brought nightly reports to Fort Jackson, travelling by the bayous and passages on the south-west side of the river. The main body, however, lay in the edge of the woods below Fort Jackson, about a mile and a half from it. From here they fired on a boat that pulled up under that shore on the fourteenth. The grape and canister-shot that the Owasco threw into the bushes made their berth uncomfortable, and they broke up their camp, came into the Fort, all wet and draggled, having thrown many of their arms away, and swore they would go to New-Orleans, and they went.

My informant voluntarily gave the credit of reducing the Forts to the bomb flotilla. The Fort was so much shaken by this firing that it was feared the casemates would come down about their ears. The loss of life by the bombs was not great, as they could see them coming plainly, and get out of the way, but the effects of their fall and explosion on the Fort no skill could avert.

About one shell in twenty failed to explode, even those that fell in the water going off as well as the others.

It is well worth noting that the bombs that fell in the ditch, close to the walls of the Fort, and exploded there, shook the Fort much more severely than any of those that buried themselves in the solid ground.

The firing was most destructive the first day, and the vessels lying on the north-east side of the river, which were in plain view of the Forts, made much the most effective shots.

The bomb-vessels lying on the other side of the river, were at all times totally invisible, the best glasses failing to distinguish their bushed. tops from the trees around them.

During the bombardment the only guns that were much used were the rifled guns, of which there were three, and the columbiad and Dahlgren guns, eight in number. The mortars fired occasionally. One of the rifled guns mounted on the Fort proper before the bombardment, was sent, two days before the fire opened, to Island Number10.

One of the rifles in the water-battery was originally one of the barbette guns, a thirty-two-pounder. It was sent to New-Orleans to be rifled, and a week after a second one was sent, but the first, on trial, proving a failure, the second was not changed. The large columbiad in the waterbattery was made somewhere in Secessia, but exactly where my informant did not know.

The Fort was in perfect order when the bombardment commenced, it always having been very strictly policed, and the dirt which now disfigures everything is the accumulation of a few days. The water did not enter the Fort until the levee had been broken, and during the summer of 1861, when the Mississippi was even higher, their parade-ground was entirely dry.

There was very little sickness in the Fort, the water probably not having stood long enough to create a nuisance.

The discipline in the Fort was very strict, but what seemed to be felt more than the strictness, was the bringing in of very young and entirely inexperienced officers, who were placed in command of others much their superiors in knowledge.

Suspected men were closely watched, and the punishment for improper talk among them was to be a rope around the offenders, and let them float in the “stinking ditch.”

The impression we derived from this part of the conversation, however, was that the Fort was very well governed, and that the man who was speaking had not often come under the displeasure of the authorities, for he was not eloquent on the subject of his wrongs.

The chain, as first stretched across the river, was quite a formidable obstacle. The chain was brought from Pensacola, and was a very heavy one. It was supported by heavy logs, thirty feet long, only a few feet apart, to the under side of each of which the chain was pinned near the upstream end. The chain was kept from sagging down too far by seven heavy anchors, from which smaller chains ran to the main chain. These anchors was buoyed with can-buoys taken from Pilot Town. In a few months a raft formed on the upper side of this chain which reached up to the Forts, and its weight swept away the whole obstruction and went to sea, carrying the buoys with it.

It was then replaced by the lighter chain, buoyed by hulks, which we found there three weeks ago.

Two of the large can-buoys were placed in the magazine in the water-battery.

The night that Flag-Officer Farragut's fleet passed up, Col. Higgins was so sure of destroying it that he allowed the first vessels to come up with the Fort before opening fire, fearing that they would be driven back prematurely and escape him.

When they succeeded in passing, he remarked: “Our cake is all dough; we may as well give it up.”

During this engagement, a Capt. Jones, from the back country, had charge of those casemate [521] guns which were firing hot shot. He depressed the muzzles of his guns very considerably, fearing to fire too high; and, being desirous of working his guns very vigorously, had them run out with a jerk, the consequence of which was that the balls rolled harmlessly into the moat, and the guns blazed away with powder and hay wads at a most destructive rate. This continued until some of the officers on the ramparts, observing how much his shot fell short, told him of it.

He then commenced operations on one particular vessel, which he kept at until some one informed him that he was devoting himself to one of their own chain-hulks.

The enemy's gunboats did not come up to the expectations that were formed of them.

The Louisiana especially was very much relied on, but her crew of two hundred men were drunk at the time that they should have done their duty best. I could not find out anything about her from this man, as he had never been aboard of her, and did not believe the exaggerated stories that were told him about her.

The small loss of life in the Fort is due, to a great extent, to the fact that the men were carefully kept below, only the guns' crews being allowed out of shelter. The New-Yorker was a powder-passer for the battery in which the rifled gun and the large columbiad of the main fort were, and therefore had a good opportunity of seeing what went on, they being in pretty constant use.

One bomb broke into the officers' mess-room, while they were at dinner, and rolled on the floor. As it lay between them and the door they could not escape, but all gathered in a corner and remained there in terrible suspense, until it became evident that the fuse had gone out and they were safe.

On the first night of the firing, when the citadel and outhouses were all in flames, the magazine was in very great danger for some time, and a profuse supply of wet blankets was all that saved it. There was great consternation that night, but afterward the garrison got used to it and were very cool.

A bomb broke into the secret passage out of the Fort.

One of the soldiers went down into it some distance, when he was discovered by Gen. Duncan and ordered out.

The passage was then filled up, and a guard placed over the entrance to keep every one away from it.

This was told me by Major Sawtelle, Commandant of the Fort.

Fort Jackson mounted

3332-pounder guns on main parapet.
2Columbiads on main parapet.
1Rifled cannon on main parapet.
2Columbiads in second bastion.
19-inch mortar in second bastion.
1Columbiad in third bastion.
28-inch mortars in third bastion.
832-pounder guns in north-west casemates.
632-pounder guns in north-east casemates.
10Short 32-pounder guns in bastion casemates.
2Brass field-pieces.
2Rifled guns in water-battery.
110-inch columbiad in water-battery.
19-inch columbiad in water-battery.
332-pounder guns on outer curtain.
75guns in all.

I am not positive about the calibre of the guns. Those that I have called thirty-two-pounders had a calibre of six and four tenths inches, and I am not quite positive that there are ten short thirty-two-pounder guns in the bastion casemates, though such is my recollection.

Of these guns four were dismounted, but I could not see that the gun proper was injured in any case.

Of the gun-carriages, eleven were struck, several of these being entirely destroyed, and of the beds and traverses, no less than thirty were injured. A large proportion of the last injuries were on the western side of the outer curtain, (where only three guns were mounted,) twenty out of thirty-nine being more or less injured.

The ramparts of the Fort proper were very severely damaged.

On every side, but particularly on the two northern ones, there has been great patching with sandbags needed. Several of the entrances from the parade-ground under the ramparts, are masses of ruins — some of them being one third choked with debris.

The casemates are cracked from end to end. One of the bastion casemates has the roof broken through in three places; another in one place, and its walls are so badly cracked that daylight shows through very plainly, the crack being about four inches wide.

The entrances to the casemates are nearly all damaged, the roofs cracked, and masses of brick thrown down or loosened.

All the buildings were destroyed by fire or shell, the two western bastions and the citadel being completely burned out. The walls of the citadel are cracked in many places very badly--eighty-six shot and splinters of shell struck its face.

The amount of damage here reported would hardly be credited by any one who had taken a casual survey of the premises, and I myself should have considered it exaggerated if I had read it, after passing through hastily the first time.

After a careful examination, however, the impression left on my mind, is of a place far gone on the road to ruin, which would stand but little more before it would come down about its defenders' ears.

Everything about the Fort seems to have started from its place, some hardly perceptible, others so much that it would .be hard to find where the proper place is.

I do not profess an acquaintance with such matters, but it looks to me as if the whole structure would have to be demolished and rebuilt, if the Government ever intends to fortify the site again.

I have thus, sir, hastily thrown together the [522] more important part of the information I was able to collect. Had my time been more extended I might have been able to gather more of the incidents of the siege, and had I supposed it desirable to reduce it to writing I might have obtained a fuller account from those I did question, but my conversation was merely to gratify my own curiosity and pass away an unoccupied hour. Hoping that you may find this communication of some value, I remain your obedient servant,

memorandum of men paroled at Fort Jackson, April 28, 1862.

Co. H, Jackson artillery, (C. S.A.,) four sergeants, two corporals, forty-two privates.

Co. E, Jackson artillery, three sergeants, one corporal, twenty-three privates.

Co. I, Jackson artillery, four sergeants, four corporals, fifty-three privates, and three musicians.

Co. B, Jackson artillery, five sergeants, three corporals, forty-two privates, and three musicians.

Co. J, Twenty-third regiment Louisiana volunteers, five sergeants, three corporals, thirty-five privates.

Co. I, Twenty-second regiment Louisiana volunteers, four sergeants, four corporals, twenty-three privates.

Co. H, Twenty-second regiment Louisiana volunteers, two sergeants, one corporal, thirty-seven privates.

St. Mary's cannoniers, four sergeants, four corporals, seventy-seven privates, and two musicians.

Letter of Commodore Farragut.

United States Flag-ship Hartford, off the City of New-Orleans, April 27, 1862.
G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy:
dear sir: In the excitement of the last two days you must not be surprised if I leave undone many things which I ought to do, and one of which was to write you on the occasion of my taking this city. But thank God it has been done, and in what I consider a handsome style.

I had two Union men on board who had been forced into the confederate service at Fort Jackson as laborers or mechanics. They informed me that there were two forts near the city, and as we approached the locality I tried to concentrate the vessels, but we soon saw that we must take a raking fire for two miles, so we did not mince the matter, but dashed directly ahead.

They permitted us to approach to within a mile and a quarter before they opened on us. Capt. Bailey, in the Cayuga, Lieut. Com. Harrison, was in advance of me, and received the most of the first fire; but, although the shooting was good, they did not damage his little vessel much. He fell back, and the Hartford took her place. We had only two guns, which I had placed on the top-gallant forecastle, that could bear on them until we got within half a mile. We then sheered off, and gave them such a fire “as they never, dreamed of in their philosophy.” The Pensacola ran up after a while, and took the starboard battery off our hands; and in a few minutes the Brooklyn ranged up and took a chance at my friends on the left bank. They were silenced in, I should say, twenty minutes or half an hour. But I cannot keep a note of time on such occasions. I only know that half of the vessels did not get a chance at them. The river was too narrow for more than two or three vessels to act to advantage, but all were so anxious that my greatest fear was that we would fire into each other, and Capt. Wainwright and myself were hollowing ourselves hoarse at the men not to fire into our ships.

This last affair was what I call one of the little elegancies of the profession — a dash and a victory. But the passing of the Forts Jackson and St. Philip was one of the most awful sights and events I ever saw or expect to experience. The smoke was so dense that it was only now and then you could see anything but the flash of the cannon and the fire-ships or rafts, one of which was pushed down upon us (the Hartford) by the ram Manassas, and in my effort to avoid it ran the ship on shore, and then the fire-raft was pushed alongside, and in a moment the ship was one blaze all along the port side, half-way up to the main and mizzen tops. But, thanks to the good organization of the fire-department by Lieut. Thornton, the flames were extinguished, and at the same time we backed off and got clear of the raft. But all this time we were pouring the shells into the Forts, and they into us, and every now and then a rebel steamer would get under our fire and receive our salutation of a broadside.

At length the fire slackened, the smoke cleared off, and we saw to our surprise that we were above the Forts, and here and there a rebel gunboat on fire. As we came up with them, trying to make their escape, they were fired into and riddled, so that they ran them on shore; and all who could, made their escape to the shore.

I am told, I don't know how truly, that Gen. Lovell had gone down that evening to make an attack with thirteen gunboats, a large ram of eighteen guns, and the Manassas. The Mississippi and the Manassas made a set at each other at full speed, and when they were within thirty or forty yards, the ram dodged the Mississippi and ran on shore, when the latter poured her broadside into her, knocked away her smoke-stack, and then sent on board of her, but she was deserted and riddled, and after a while she drifted down the stream full of water. She was the last of the eleven we destroyed.

The larger ram was still at Fort Jackson, but they say here she was sent down before she was ready, and that she cannot stem the current. She will have to surrender with the Forts, which I hope will be to-day or to-morrow. I will give them my attention as soon as I can settle the affairs of the city.

I demanded the surrender of the city yesterday of the Mayor, through Capt. Bailey, as the second in command. His reply was that the city was under martial law, and he would consult Gen. [523] Lovell. His lordship said he would surrender nothing, but at the same time he would retire and leave the Mayor unembarrassed.

This morning the Mayor sent his secretary and the chief of police to see me and say that he would call the City Council together at ten o'clock and give me an answer; that the General had retired, and that he had resumed the duties of his office as Mayor, and would endeavor to keep order in the city and prevent the destruction of property. I sent him by his secretary the letter No. One, (copy enclosed.) I also sent him a letter demanding the surrender of the city, in conformity with the demand made by me yesterday through Capt. Bailey, (copy No. Two.)

This morning at six A. M. I sent to Capt. Morris, whose ship commanded the Mint, to take possession of it and hoist the American flag thereon, which was done, and the people cheered it. At ten I sent on shore again and ordered Lieut. Kortz, of the navy, and Lieut. Brown, of the marines, with a marine guard, to hoist the flag on the Custom-House; but the excitement of the crowd was so great that the Mayor and Councilmen thought it would produce a conflict and great loss of life.

At eleven a signal was made to the fleet for divine service, under a general order, (copy No. Three.)

April twenty-sixth, in the afternoon, having been informed that there were two forts eight miles above the city, at a place called Carrolton, I determined to take a look at them and demolish them. We accordingly ran up, but to our surprise we found the gun-carriages all on fire, and upon examination found the guns all spiked. It was a most formidable work for Foote to encounter on his way down, but we took it in the rear. They had also a long line of defences extending back from the river to Lake Ponchartrain, both above and below the city, on which were twenty-nine and thirty guns each.

Immediately on my getting above the Forts, I sent Capt. Boggs, who is now deprived of a command by the sinking of his ship, (which he had so nobly defended,) down to Capt. Porter, through the bayou at quarantine, directing him to demand the surrender of the Forts. His demand was at first refused, but the soldiers told their officers that we were in their rear, and that they would not be sacrificed. So this morning the gallant Bailey brought us the intelligence in the Cayuga, Capt. Harrison, that the Forts had surrendered, the ram blown up, and that the American flag floats over both Forts.

I have sent down for Gen. Butler's troops to come up and occupy this city, and will soon be off for Mobile. Depend upon it, we will keep the stampede upon them.

I send Capt. Bailey home as bearer of despatches. He has done his work nobly, and that while suffering under an infirmity which required attention and repose.

I am, very truly and respectfully, your friend and obedient servant,

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Western Gulf Blockading Squadron

The papers enclosed in the foregoing letter are as follows:

off New-Orleans, April 26, 1862.
To his Excellency the Mayor of the City of New-Orleans:
sir: Upon my arrival before your city I had the honor to send to your Honor Capt. Bailey, United States Navy, second in command of this expedition, to demand of you the surrender of New-Orleans to me, as the representative of the Government of the United States. Capt. Bailey reported the result of an interview with yourself and the military authorities.

It must occur to your Honor that it is not within the province of a naval officer to assume the duties of a military commandant. I came here to reduce New-Orleans to obedience to the laws and to vindicate the offended majesty of the Government of the United States. The rights of persons and property shall be secured. I therefore demand of you, as its representative, the unqualified surrender of the city, and that the emblem of sovereignty of the United States be hoisted over the City Hall, Mint, and Custom-House by meridian this day. All flags and other emblems of sovereignty other than those of the United States must be removed from all the public buildings by that hour.

I particularly request that you shall exercise your authority to quell disturbances, restore order, and call upon all the good people of New-Orleans to return at once to their vocations; and I particularly demand that no person shall be molested, in person or property, for professing sentiments of loyalty to their Government. I shall speedily and severely punish any person or persons who shall commit such outrages as were witnessed yesterday, by armed men firing upon helpless women and children for giving expression to their pleasure at witnessing the old flag.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Western Gulf Squadron.

reply of the Mayor of the City of New-Orleans.

City Hall, April 26, 1862.
Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, U. S. Flag-Ship Hartford:
sir: In pursuance of a resolution which we thought proper to take, out of regard for the lives of the women and children who still crowd this great metropolis, Gen. Lovell has evacuated it, with his troops, and restored to me the administration of its government and the custody of its honor.

I have, in council with the city fathers, considered the demand you made of me yesterday, for an unconditional surrender of the city, coupled with a requisition to hoist the flag of the United States on the public edifices, and haul down the flag that still floats upon the breeze from the dome of this Hall. It becomes my duty to transmit to you an answer, which is the universal sentiment of my constituents no less than the prompting my own heart dictates to me on this sad and solemn occasion. [524]

The city is without the means of defence, and is utterly destitute of the force and material that might enable it to resist an overpowering armament displayed in sight of it. I am no military man, and possess no authority beyond that of executing the municipal laws of the city of New-Orleans. It would be presumptuous in me to attempt to lead an army into the field, if I had one at command; and I know still less how to surrender an undefended place, held, as this is, at the mercy of your gunners and your mortars. To surrender such a place were an idle and unmeaning ceremony. The city is yours by the power of brutal force, not by my choice, or consent of its inhabitants. It is for you to determine what will be the fate that awaits us here. As to hoisting any flag other than the flag of our own adoption and allegiance, let me say to you that the man lives not in our midst whose hand and heart would not be paralyzed at the mere thought of such an act; nor could I find in my entire constituency so wretched and desperate a renegade as would dare to profane with his hand the sacred emblem of our aspirations.

Sir, you have manifested sentiments which would become one engaged in a better cause than that to which you have devoted your sword. I doubt not but that they spring from a noble though deluded nature, and I know how to appreciate the emotions which inspired them. You have a gallant people to administrate over during your occupancy of this city — a people sensitive to all that can in the least affect their dignity and self-respect. Pray, sir, do not fail to regard their susceptibilities. The obligations which I shall assume in their name shall be religiously complied with. You may trust their honor, though you might not count on their submission to unmerited wrong.

In conclusion, I beg you to understand that the people of New-Orleans, while unable to resist your force, do not allow themselves to be insulted by the interference of such as have rendered themselves odious and contemptible by their dastardly desertion of our cause in the mighty struggle in which we are engaged, or such as might remind them too powerfully that they are the conquered, and you the conquerors. Peace and order may be preserved without resort to measures which I could not at this moment prevent. Your occupying the city does not transfer allegiance from the government of their choice to one which they have deliberately repudiated, and they yield the obedience which the conqueror is entitled to extort from the conquered.


United States Flag-ship Hartford, at anchor off the City of New-Orleans, April 26.
To his Honor the Mayor of New-Orleans:
Your Honor will please give directions that no flag but that of the United States will be permitted to fly in the presence of this fleet, so long as it has the power to prevent it; and as all displays of that kind may be the cause of bloodshed, I have to request that you will give this communication as general a circulation as possible.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.

United States Flag-ship Hartford, off the City of New-Orleans, April 26, 1862.
General order.

Eleven o'clock this morning is the hour appointed for all the officers and crews of the fleet to return thanks to Almighty God for his great goodness and mercy in permitting us to pass through the events of the last two days with so little loss of life and blood. At that hour the church pennant will be hoisted on every vessel of the fleet, and their crews assembled, will in humiliation and prayer make their acknowledgments therefor to the Great Dispenser of all human events.

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.

Thanks to Com. Farragut and his command.

Navy Department, Washington, May 10, 1862.
sir: Capt. Bailey, your second in command, has brought to the Department the official despatches from your squadron, with the trophies forwarded to the National Capitol. Our navy, fruitful with victories, presents no more signal achievement than this, nor is there any exploit surpassing it recorded in the annals of naval warfare. In passing and eventually overcoming Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the batteries above and below New-Orleans, destroying the barriers of chains, steam-rams, fire-rafts, iron-clad vessels and other obstructions, capturing from the rebel forces the great Southern Metropolis, and obtaining possession and control of the lower Mississippi, yourself, your officers, and our brave sailors and marines, whose courage and daring bear historic renown, have now a nation's gratitude and applause. I congratulate you and your command on your great success in having contributed so largely toward destroying the unity of the rebellion, and in restoring again to the protection of the National Government and the national flag the important city of the Mississippi valley, and so large a portion of its immediate dependencies.

Your example and its successful results, though attended with some sacrifice of life and loss of ships, inculcates the fact that the first duty of a commander in war is to take great risks for the accomplishment of great ends. One and all, officers and men, comprising your command, deserve well of their country.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

Gideon Weldes. To Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, Commanding Western Gulf Blockading Squadron, New-Orleans.

Official rebel correspondence.

The following official despatch is from Major-General Lovell to Brigadier-General Duncan, commanding at Fort Jackson: [525]

New-Orleans, April 23, 1862.
say to your officers and men that their heroic fortitude in enduring one of the most terrific bombardments ever known, and the courage which they have evinced, will surely enable them to crush the enemy whenever he dares come from under cover. Their gallant conduct attracts the admiration of all, and will be recorded in history as splendid examples for patriots and soldiers. Anxious but confident families and friends are watching them with firm reliance, based on their gallant exhibition thus far made, of indomitable courage and great military skill. The enemy will try your powers of endurance, but we believe with no better success than already experienced.

Gen. Duncan's reply to Major-General Lovell runs thus:

Fort Jackson, April 23, 1862.
I have to report this morning same upon same. The bombardment is still going on furiously. They have kept it up furiously by reliefs of three divisions. One of their three masked gunboats painted gray, came above the point this morning, but was struck and retreated. We are hopeful, in good spirits, and I cannot speak in too high praise of all my officers and men. No further casualties to report. Let the people have faith and fortitude and we will not disgrace them.

J. K. Duncan, Brigadler-General. To Major-General Nansfield Lovell, Commanding Department of Louisiana.

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