War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0521 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

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to show that it was not certainly the want of proper exertions on the part of the land forces which caused the fall of New Orleans.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Volunteer Aide-de-Camp.


Commanding Department Numbers 1.

Numbers 4. Report of Brigadier General Johnson K. Duncan, C. S. Army, of the bombardment and surrender of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip.

NEW ORLEANS, LA., April 30, 1862.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the bombardment of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, La., from April 16 to 24:

About March 27 I was informed by Lieutenant Colonel E. Higgins, commanding Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, composing a part of the coast defenses under my command, that the enemy's fleet was crossing the bars and entering the Mississippi River in force. In consequence I repaired at once to that post, to assume the general command of the threatened attack upon New Orleans, which I had always anticipated would be made from that quarter.

Upon my arrival I found that Fort Jackson was suffering severely from transpiration and backwater, occasioned by the excessive rise in the river and the continued prevalence of strong easterly winds. Notwithstanding every effort which could be made the water kept daily increasing upon us, partly owing to the sinking of the entire site and to the natural lowness of the country around in, until the parade plain and casemates were very generally submerged to a depth of from 3 to 18 inches. It was with the utmost difficulty, and only then by isolating the magazines and by pumping day and night, that the water could be kept out of them.

As the officers and men were all obliged to live in these open and submerged casemates, they were greatly exposed to discomfort and sickness, as their clothing and feet were always wet. The most of their clothing and blankets, besides, were lost by the fire hereinafter mentioned. Fort Saint Philip, from the same causes, was in a similar condition, but to a lesser extent.

No attention having been previously paid to the repeated requisitions for guns of heavy caliber for these forts, it became necessary, in their present condition, to bring in and mount and to build the platforms for the three 10-inch and three 8-inch columbiads, the rifled 42-pounder, and the five 10-inch sea-coast mortars recently obtained from Pensacola on the evacuation of that place, together with the two rifled 7-inch guns temporarily borrowed from the naval authorities in New Orleans. It was also found necessary to prepare the old water battery to the rear of and below Fort Jackson, which had never been completed, for the reception of a portion of these guns, as well as to construct mortar-proof magazines and shell-rooms within the same.

In consequence also of the character of the expected attack by heavy mortars, it was deemed advisable to cover all the main magazines at both forts with sand bags to a considerable depth, to protect them against a vertical fire.