an immense column of smoke rising rapidly to the clouds, and after an interval heard an explosion. Transshipping three companies of the Thirtieth Massachusetts, one company cavalry, and part of Manning's battery, on board the Clifton, with Colonel Dudley, Major Whittemore, and my staff, we left the North America at anchor just below the forts, and joined the flotilla at about 3 o'clock p. m. At this moment the rebel flags of the forts were hauled down and the national colors run up; a part of the ceremony which was greeted by our men with nine hearty cheers.
Continuing on a short distance above the forts, towards some steamboats that were bows ashore, on the right bank, we took aboard from them about 200 prisoners of the rebel Navy and artillery, who had treacherously, and with that peculiar wantonness which characterizes the conspiracy from its origin, set fire to and blown up the iron-clad gunboat Louisiana, thus killing one of their own men in Fort Saint Philip and endangering the lives and property of their own people, as well as of the Government forces there present.
Landing with these prisoners at Fort Saint Philip, we proceeded to take possession of the forts and garrison them with about 200 men each, that of Fort Saint Philip, under Major Whittemore, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts, and that of Fort Jackson, under Captain Manning, of the Fourth Massachusetts Battery, the former relieving Lieutenant-Commander Nichols, and the latter Captain Renshaw, of the Navy. While thus employed the United States steam-frigate Mississippi, Captain Melancton Smith, came down the river with Colonel Jones, of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts, who reported that he had landed with his regiment at the quarantine from the outside, and had captured several hundred prisoners who were fleeing from the forts.
Commander Porter had alone accepted of the surrender of the forts, and had granted terms of capitulation to their defenders, allowing them to go at large on their parole, excepting those implicated in blowing up the Louisiana.
On the 29th I placed Colonel Deming in command of Fort Jackson, designing to garrison it with his regiment, and to occupy Fort Saint Philip with the Thirtieth Massachusetts, under Colonel Dudley. While thus occupied I received orders from the major-general commanding the department, in person, to withdraw my troops and proceed up the river, leaving the forts to be garrisoned by the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts. Accordingly the garrisons were withdrawn, excepting small guards to take charge of the prisoners and property, and we got under way at about sunset, the Farley preceding us by about half an hour.
I transmit herewith copies of the reports rendered by officers engaged in occupying the forts.* I may state, in conclusion, that the forts appeared to be abundantly provided with all the material, including commissary stores, necessary for a long defense. I had not time to effect a perfect enumeration of it, but in general terms I may say that the artillery and small-arms of Fort Saint Philip consisted of 43 guns en barbette, 1 13-inch mortar, 4 10-inch sea-coast mortars, 3 pieces of light artillery, 1 10-inch and 1 8-inch siege mortars; in all, 53 cannon, and about 45 stand of muskets, with equipments. Some of these latter were from Springfield, of the date of 1861.
One important rifle gun, bearing on the position of the mortar fleet, had been broken by its own discharge. Another gun had been broken short off a foot or two back from the muzzle by a shot which struck