can charitably account for it only on the grounds of great reaction after the intense physical strain of many weary days and nights of terrible fire, through which they were necessarily subjected to every privation from circumstances beyond our control, but which they had not the moral courage to share and sustain with their officers, all of whom were subjected to the same hardships in every particular.
To Lieutenant Colonel E. Higgins, commanding the forts, my thanks are especially due for his indefatigable labors in preparing his heavy batteries preparatory to the attack, almost in the face of the enemy, and for the quiet, skillful, and judicious manner in which he caused them to be fought. He was present everywhere, and did his whole duty well and thoroughly.
Captain M. T. Squires, Louisiana Regiment of Artillery, as senior officer in charge of Fort Saint Philip, under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins, commanding, fully sustained every anticipation entertained of his gallantry, skill, and efficiency.
During the first day's bombardment, when Captain Anderson was wounded, my aide-de-camp (Lieutenant William H. Bridges, Louisiana Artillery) volunteered to command the two 10-inch columbiads on the main work, and I return him my thanks for the gallant and efficient manner in which he fought them during the rest of the action.
I take great pleasure in making personal mention of my volunteer aides, Capts. William J. Seymour and J. R. Smith, for the valuable assistance which they rendered me at all times.
My thanks are also due to Drs. Bradbury and Foster, who volunteered their services to assist. Assist. Surgs. S. Burke and C. D. Lewis at Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, respectively, and most efficiently did they aid in this department. Dr. Bradbury remained at Fort Jackson until its fall, and was paroled. Dr. Foster, at my request, accompanied the wounded soldiers to the city on the Confederate States steamer McRae.
Messrs. Fulda and Stickney and Sergt. J. R. Poindexter, Fourth Mississippi Volunteers, telegraph operators, rendered the most valuable services in keeping open our communication above and below under the most dangerous and difficult circumstances.
Although we have failed in our mission of keeping the enemy's fleet from passing the forts, and have been subjected to the deep humiliation of surrendering the charge intrusted to our keeping to the enemies of our country, I must nevertheless state, in common justice to myself and those under my command, that to the very best of our ability, with the means at our disposal, our whole duty was performed faithfully, honestly, and fearlessly. If all had to be done through with again, under similar events and circumstances, I know that we should be forced to the same results and consequences.
Great as the disaster is, it is but the sheer result of that lack of cheerful and hearty co-operation from the defenses afloat which we had every right to expect and to the criminal negligence of not lighting up the river at night when the danger was imminent and the movements of the enemy absolutely known almost to the hour of the final attack. Except for the cover afforded by the obscurity of the darkness I shall always remain satisfied that the enemy would never have succeeded in passing Forts Jackson and Saint Philip.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. K. DUNCAN,
Brigadier-General, late Commanding Coast Defenses.
Major J. G. PICKETT,
Asst. Adjt General, Department Numbers 1, Camp Moore, La.