HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, New Orleans, La., April 29, 1862.
SIR: When the enemy, having succeeded in passing our defenses on the river with his fleet, anchored abreast the city, it was apparent that the infantry troops under my command could offer no effectual resistance, and their presence would only serve as a pretext and a justification for them to open their guns upon a city crowded with women and children, whom it was impossible to remove.
Under these circumstances I determined at once to withdraw my troops and leave it to the citizens themselves to agree upon the course of action to be pursued in relation to the welfare of their families and property.
I now beg leave to say that, if it is the determination of the people of the city to hold it at any and all hazards, I will return with my troops and share the danger with them. That my return will be followed by bombardment, is in my opinion certain, but if that is the conclusion come to, I will afford all the protection in my power.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Honorable JOHN T. MUNROE,
Mayor of New Orleans.
CAMP MOORE, LA., April 30, 1862.
GENERAL: At your request, upon my return from Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, I accompanied you to call upon Commodore [W. C.] Whittle, of the Navy, at his headquarters in New Orleans, for the purpose of getting that officer, if possible, to place the iron-clad gunboat Louisiana in a position below Forts Jackson and Saint Philip from which she could enfilade the position of the enemy's mortar fleet and drive them from it, thereby relieving the forts, for a time at least, from the heavy bombardment then going on, which would allow Brigadier-General Duncan to make such repairs as were necessary, and, what was equally necessary, give the garrisons some rest.
The position designated for the vessel to be placed in was in an eddy upon the Fort Saint Philip side of the river, and under the protection of the guns of both forts, and entirely out of the line of the bombardment, and it would require a change of position of the mortar fleet to enable them to strike the vessel with shell, if she could have been struck at all.
All these facts were fully explained by yourself to Commodore Whittle, and he was requested by you by all means to place the vessel in question in said position, even if she was lost, as the maintaining the position then held by your troops in the forts, without this assistance, was merely a question of time.
To this earnest appeal upon your part Commodore Whittle telegraphed to Commander [J. K.] Mitchell, of the fleet stationed just above the forts, to strain a point, if, in his judgment, it was necessary, to comply with your request, and place the Louisiana in the position before spoken of. As the result shows, the request of Commodore Whittle to Commander Mitchell was not complied with.
I make this statement voluntarily, in order that, if ever the question of the defenses of New Orleans should arise, you can have every evidence