and Saint Philip any steamer can pass them in board daylight, and that, even when in a proper condition for defense, they could not prevent the passage of one or more steamers during a dark or stormy night, except with the assistance of a properly constructed raft, or a strong wire-rope, across the river, between the two forts, so as to arrest the course of says teamers, even for only half an hour, under the severe cross-fire of said works.
The first thing to be done is to commence the constructions of (or prepare at least the materials for) said obstacles. Then the guns of the land fronts of Fort Jackson ought to be mounted at once on the rive fronts. The guns, chassis, and carriages at Baton Rouge, Forts Pike and Wood, Battery Bienvenue, &c., where they are not required at present, ought to be sent at once to these two forts on the over, to be put in position as advantageously as possible on their river fronts; not overlooking, however, their flank guns of the other fronts. All said chassis and carriages ought to be tried forthwith by double charges of powder and shot. Ample supplies of ammunition ought to be sent there forthwith. The trees along the river masking the fire of those two forts, up and down, ought to be cut down at once, particularly those on the Fort Jackson side. In a few words, no expenses ought to be spared to but those two works in a most efficient state of defense, for fifty though sand or a hundred thousand dollars spent thus might, a few weeks hence, save millions of dollars to the State and the city of New Orleans.
A rought calculation shows me that the raft spoken of would cost about forty thousand dollars, and three wire-cables probably sixty thousand dollars. I prefer the first. Mr. John Roy, my former assistant architect on the new custom-house, would be of great assistance in the construction of either of said obstacles.
In haste, I remain, gentleman, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
Baton Rouge, La., February 16, 1861.
His Excellency JAMES BOUCHANAN, President of the United States:
SIR: I inclose a letter received recently from the acting head of the War Department, Washington.* In infer that it was written without being submitted to your inspection, for throughout your long and distinguished service as a legislator, diplomatist, and executive you have been known to be a strict observer of the conventionalities of official intercourse. Without commenting on the tenor and spirit of the letter, I take pleasure in assuring you that I will promptly communicate to your Excellency any information you may desire concerning the action of the State of Louisiana in relation to any property lately belonging to the Federal Government, when such information is asked for in an appropriate manner and in respectful terms. With the highest regard and esteem for your Excellency, I remain.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. O. MOORE.
*See Holt to Moore, February 7, 1861, p.499.