given orders to prepare for removal a large portion of the Government stores, directing cars and steamers to be held in readiness for that purpose. On my arrival at New Orleans I gave orders to the few regiments that I was organizing there to be ready to move, and had the larger portion of the Government property placed on the boats and cars and started north. In this manner a very inconsiderable portion of our stores was left behind. The guns on the levees about the city could not be removed for want of transportation. Moreover, as soon as it became known that the enemy had passed the forts, laborers refused to work, and the larger majority of persons declined to take any more Confederate notes for property bought.
On the morning of the 25th thirteen of the enemy's ships engaged our batteries 5 miles below the city, and after two hours' firing, during which time they drove the men from one battery and disabled the other, they passed up and anchored abreast the city. General Smith had a few companies of his brigade as these works. At 11 a. m. our last batteries were passed.
I immediately ordered the troops and stores to be sent off rapidly by rail towards Jackson, Miss.
At 3 p. m. Captain [Theodorus] Bailey and another officer of the Federal Navy came ashore and demanded the surrender of the city, and that the United States flag be put on the principal public buildings.
I declined peremptorily to surrender, saying to Captain Bailey that while they were too strong for us on the water, I felt abundantly able to beat them on the land; but that, as I did not feel willing to subject to bombardment a city filled with the wives and children of absent soldiers, I should evacuate, with my command, and turn the city over to the mayor; that, if they were willing to consent to this proposition, I would quietly withdraw; if not, they might commence the bombardment at once.
He said he would report to his commander and at his request I sent two of my staff with them to their boat, to protect them from the people.
I then continued the removal of troops and stores, and left the city at 5 p. m. in the last train of cars. I have been unable to receive any report from Generals Duncan or Smith, so am unable to give any details further than above stated, but will communicate with the Department as soon as possible.
I shall probably fall back to Jackson, to prevent the enemy from going up to Vicksburg and coming in rear of Beauregard.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
P. S.-SIR: I will add, as a postscript to my letter, that, as far as I could see, the river-defense boats, six in number, made a very poor show-want of discipline, system, and training. I had but a few regiments, apart from the miscellaneous and half-armed militia of the city, and think I shall endeavor to collect such men as I can from the various forts in the department and fall back to Jackson, to prevent the enemy, now in possession of the river, from getting in rear of Beauregard, by way of Vicksburg and Jackson Railroad. I write this in great haste and without any facilities or conveniences.