War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0527 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

Search Civil War Official Records

should the enemy attempt to pass during the night. (See attached document F.)

Bombardment continued throughout the day and night, being at times very heavy. During the day our fire was principally confined to shelling the point of woods from both forts, and apparently with good results, as the mortar fire was slackened towards evening. The casemates were very much cut up by the enemy's fire, which was increased at night.

There was little or no success in sending down fire barges as usual, owing in part to the condition of the tow-boats Mosher, Music, and Belle Algerine, in charge of the same, explained by attached document G. This does not excuse the neglect, however, as there were six boats of the river fleet available for this service, independent of those alluded to, and fire barges were plentiful.

April 23.-The day broke warm, clear, and cloudless. No immediate relief being looked for from our fleet, the entire command was turned out to repair damages under a very heavy fire of the enemy.

The bombardment continued without intermission throughout the day, but slackened off about 12 m., at which hour there was every indication of an exhaustion on the part of the mortar flotilla; hence it became evident that the tactics of the enemy would necessarily be changed into an attack with broadsides by his larges vessels. In consequence, these views were laid before Captain Mitchell, and he was again urged to place the Louisiana at the point before mentioned, below the raft and near the Fort Saint Philip bank of the river, to meet the emergency. (See attached document H.) Captain Mitchell's reply is attached, in documents E, I, J, and K, wherein he positively declines again to assume the only position which offered us every possible chance of success, and Captains [Chas. F.] McIntosh, [Thomas B.] Huger, and Warley sustain Captain Mitchell in his views of the case.

Just before sundown, under a very heavy mortar fire, the enemy sent up a small boat, and a series of white flags were planted on the Fort Saint Philip bank of the river, commencing about 350 yards above the lone tree upon that shore. (See diagram.)

This confirmed my previous views of an early and different attack from the usual mortar bombardment, especially as I presumed that these flags indicated the positions to be taken up by the several vessels in their new line of operations.

As nothing was to be expected from the Louisiana after the correspondence during the day, I could only inform Captain Mitchell of this new movement of the enemy (see attached document L), and particularly impress upon him the necessity of keeping the river well lit up with fire barges, to act as an impediment to the enemy and assist the accuracy of our fire in a night attack.

Lieutenant [Geo. S.] Shryock, C. S. Navy (Captain Mitchell's aide), came on shore about 9 p. m. to inform me that the Louisiana would be ready for service by the next evening-the evening of the 24th. I informed him that time was everything to us and that to-morrow would in all probability prove too late. Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins warmly seconded my opinion, and warned Lieutenant Shryock that the final battle was imminent within a few hours.

In regard to lighting the river, Lieutenant Shryock stated that fire barges would be regularly sent down throughout the night every two hours, and as none had been sent up to that hour (9.30 p. m.), he left, informing me that this matter would be attended to as soon as he arrived on board. To my utter surprise not one single fire barge was sent down the river, notwithstanding, at any hour of this night. It was