I wish you to take the entire control of the fire rafts, and you will be assisted by the steamers Star, Algerine, and such other boats as I can procure from the city for the purpose. Your own knowledge of the river and the currents will enable you to set them adrift at such time as your judgment warrants.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. K. DUNCAN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Coast Defenses.
Captain JOHN A. STEPHENSON,
Commanding River Fleet, present.
GUNBOAT JACKSON, April 18, 1862.
DEAR SIR: Yours just received. The fire barge was sent down, as I supposed, by your order. Captain Grant accompanied me to select a proper place to let her go. She was fired by my order, but was not aware that she was too close to the fort; but the eddy current, after firing, probably brought her into close proximity to the fort. I regret the affair was an abortion.
F. B. RENSHAW,
C. S. Navy.
CONFEDERATE STATES STEAMER LOUISIANA, Off Fort Jackson, La., April 22, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of this date, asking me to place the Louisiana in position below the raft this evening, if possible. This vessel was hurried away from New Orleans before the steam power and batteries were ready for service, without a crew, and in many respects very incomplete, and this condition of things is but partially remedied now. She is not yet prepared to offer battle to the enemy, but should he attempt to pass the forts we will do all we can to prevent it, and it was for this purpose only that she was placed in position where necessity might force her into actio, inadequately prepared as she is at this moment.
We have now at work on board about 50 mechanics as well as her own crew and those from other vessels, doing work essential to the preparation of the vessel for battle. Under these circumstances it would, in my estimation, be hazarding too much to place her under the fire of the enemy. Every effort is being made to prepare her for the relief of Fort Jackson, the condition of which is fully felt by me, and the very moment I can venture too face our enemy with any reasonable chance of success, be assured, general, I will do it, and trust that the result will show you that I am now pursuing the right course.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. K. MITCHELL,
Commanding C. S. Naval Forces Lower Mississippi.
General JOHNSON K. DUNCAN,
Commanding Coast Defenses, Fort Jackson, La.
P. S.-The Jackson, with launch Numbers 3, will go up to the quarantine this afternoon to watch the enemy, as suggested in your note this morning.
J. K. M.