War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0515 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

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the supposition that it would render much better service from her heavy rifles and shell guns than with a battery of light 32-pounders.

For the operations at these works you are respectfully referred to General Smith's report.

The greater portion of the ordnance stores, provisions, and quartermaster's property were sent from the city by rail of steamer, and a portion of the volunteers also took the cars for Camp Moore, 78 miles distant, on the Jackson Railroad. The greater part of the ninety-day troops disbanded and returned to their homes. There were two or three regiments and smaller bodies of men raised for Confederate service in the city at the time, but being entirely without arms of any kind, they could be of no service, and were also ordered to Camp Moore.

I adopted this course, recognizing the perfect absurdity of confronting more than 100 guns afloat of the largest caliber, well manned and served, and looking down upon the city, with less than 3,000 militia, mostly armed with indifferent shot-guns. It would, in my judgment, have been a wanton and criminal waste of the blood of women and children, without the most remote possibility of any good result, for the enemy had only to anchor one of his ships at Kenner to command the Jackson Railroad, and he could have reduced the city to ashes at his leisure, without our being able to make any resistance whatever (or without firing a shot he could have starved the city into a surrender in less than three weeks, as there was not more than eighteen days' food on hand for the population, from which my troops were almost entirely drawn*). Why he did not occupy Kenner and cut off all exit from the city immediately I do not understand. Presuming that he would do so, as a matter of course, I had requested Captains Poindexter and Gwathmey, of the Navy, to have all the steamers ready in Lake Pontchartrain to carry the troops over to Madisonville, whence they could march to Camp Moore. A portion of them were taken over by this route.

Knowing that the enemy would at once seize the Opelousas Railroad, and thus cut off the troops occupying the works on the coast of West Louisiana, I sent orders to the different commanding officers at Forts Livingston, Guion, Quitman, Berwick, and Chene to destroy their guns, and, taking their small-arms, provisions, and ammunition, join me at Camp Moore.

Major Ivey brought away the troops at the two latter forts in a very creditable manner, but those at the other works became demoralized, disbanded, and returned to New Orleans. I gave verbal instructions to Colonel Fuller to have the garrisons of Forts Pike and Macomb, Batteries Bienvenue and Tower Dupre ready to move at a moment's notice, as their posts were dependent on the city for provisions and frequently for water. It was understood that the naval steamers, in connection with other vessels in the lake, should bring away these garrisons when called upon to do so, and after my arrival at Camp Moore orders were given, on the 26th, to go for them, as I had been informed that Forts Jackson and Saint Philip had been surrendered.

Finding that this report was untrue, I immediately countermanded the orders, giving instructions that they should be held until further notice; but before either order could reach Madisonville it was reported to me that the whole command was already at Covington. I advised Captain Poindexter to make his way to Mobile, with his armed steamers; but he concluded to destroy them. We, however, procured from them some of the guns and ordnance stores, which I ordered immediately to Vicksburg, to be put in position there.


*See General Lovell's letter of June 18, 1863, p. 518.