After great exertions, cheerfully made by both officers and men, and by working the garrisons by reliefs night and day, this work was all accomplished by April 13. No sooner had the two rifled 7-inch navy guns been placed in position, however, than orders arrived to dismount one of them immediately, and to send the same to the city at once, to be placed on board of the iron-clad steamer Louisiana. I strongly remonstrated against this removal by telegraph, but was informed, in reply, that the orders were imperative, and that the gun must be sent without fail. It was accordingly sent, but with great difficulty, owing to the overflow and the other causes stated.
The garrisons of both forts were greatly fatigued and worn-out by these labors, performed as they were under pressure and within sight of the enemy and owing to the many discomforts and disadvantages we were laboring under in consequence of high water.
In the mean time I had called upon the general commanding the department for two regiments, to be stationed at the quarantine buildings, 6 miles above the forts, to act as a reserve force and to co-operate with the forts in case of a combined land and water attack. I also asked for Captain W. G. Mullen's company of scouts and sharpshooters, to be stationed in the woods below Fort Jackson, on the right bank of the river, for the purpose of picking off the officers and men from the enemy's vessels when assuming their several positions of attack.
Captain Mullen's company, of about 125 men, was sent down as requested, and stationed in part in the point of woods below Fort Jackson, and the remainder on the Fort Saint Philip side, opposite the raft obstructing the river.
The Chalmette Regiment, consisting of about 500 men, Colonel Szymanski commanding, was sent to the quarantine. A part of it was stationed there, and company detachments were placed at the heads of the several canals leading from the river into the bays back of the same, to guard against a land force being thrown in launches above us.
Four steamers of the river fleet protected, and to a certain extent made shot-proof, with cotton bulkheads, and prepared with iron prows, to act as rams, viz, the Warrior, Stonewall Jackson, Defiance, and Resolute, commanded by Captains Stephenson, Philips, McCoy, and Hooper, respectively, were sent down to report to and co-operate with me. The steamers Governor Moore and General Quitman, prepared as those before mentioned, and commanded by Captain B. Kennon and A. Grant, were sent down in a like manner, to co-operate with the forts and ram such vessels of the enemy as might succeed in passing.
The naval authorities also sent down the Confederate States steam ram Manassas, Captain [A. F.] Warley, C. S. Navy, commanding. She was stationed a short distance above Fort Jackson, with her steam up constantly, to act against the enemy as the occasion might offer.
Subsequently, also, Captain F. B. Renshaw, C. S. Navy, arrived, in command of the Confederate States steamer Jackson.
The raft of logs and chains which had formerly been placed across the river having proven a failure upon the rise in the stream and consequent increase of the velocity of the drift-bearing current, a new obstruction had been placed across the river, opposite Fort Jackson, by Lieutenant Colonel E. Higgins prior to his assumption of the command of the forts. This consisted of a line of schooners anchored at intervals, with bows up stream, and thoroughly chained together amidships, as well as stem and stern. The rigging, ratlins, and cables were left to trail astern of these schooners, as an additional impediment, to tangle in the propeller wheels of the enemy.