War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0526 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA.,S. ALA.,S. MISS.,AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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retire, but not until she had partially accomplished her purpose. The raft after this could not be regarded as an obstruction. The fire continued uninterruptedly all night.

April 21.-Firing continued all day and night without interruption. Several guns were disabled. Disabled guns were repaired as far as practicable as often as accidents happened to them or their platforms. Fort Jackson by this time was in need of extensive repairs almost everywhere, and it was with extreme pleasure that we learned of the arrival during the night of the iron-clad steamer Louisiana, under the cover of whose heavy guns we expected to make the necessary repairs.

April 22.-By the direction of the major-general commanding the department everything afloat, including the tow-boats and the entire control of the fire barges, was turned over to Captain John K. Mitchell, C. S. Navy, commanding the Confederate States naval forces Lower Mississippi River. I also gave Captain Mitchell 150 of our beest men from Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, under Lieutenants Dixon and Gandy and Captain Ryan, to serve a portion of the guns of the Louisiana and to act as sharpshooters on the same vessel.

In an interview with Captain Mitchell, on the morning of this date, I learned that the motive power of the Louisiana was not likely to be completed within any reasonable time, and that in consequence it was not within the range of probabilities that she could be regarded as an aggressive steamer or that she could be brought into the pending action in that character. At an iron-clad invulnerable floating battery, with sixteen guns of the heaviest caliber, however, she was then as complete as she would ever be.

Fort Jackson had already undergone and was still subjected to a terrible fire of 13-inch mortar shells, which it was necessary to relieve at once to prevent the disabling of all the best guns at that fort, and, although Fort Saint Philip partially opened out the point of woods concealing the enemy and gallantly attempted to dislodge him or draw his fire, he nevertheless doggedly persisted in his one main object of battering Fort Jackson. Under these circumstances I considered that the Louisiana could only be regarded as a battery, and that her best possible position would be below the raft, close in on the Fort Saint Philip shore, where ther fire could dislodge the mortar boats from behind the point of woods and give sufficient respite to Fort Jackson to repair in extenso. This position (X on the accompanying diagram) would give us three direct cross-fires upon the enemy's approaches and at the same time insure the Louisiana from a direct assault, as she would be immediately under the guns of both forts. Accordingly, I earnestly and strongly urged these views upon Captain Mitchell in a letter of this date (copy lost), but without avail, as will be seen by his reply, attached as document D.

Being so deeply impressed myself with the importance of this position for the Louisiana and of the necessity of prompt action in order to insure the success of the impending struggle, I again urged this subject upon Captain Mitchell, during the latter part of the same day, as absolutely indispensable and imperative to the safety of New Orleans and to the control of the Lower Mississippi. My efforts were ineffectual to get him to move the boat from her original position above the forts. His reply is attached as document E, in which he is sustained by all the naval officers present having the command of vessels.

I also addressed him two other notes through the day-one in regard to sending fire barges against the enemy and the other relative to keeping a vigilant lookout from all his vessels, and asking for co-operation