U. S. STEAMER HARRIET LANE, Mississippi River, April 26, 1862.
SIR: When I last demanded the surrender of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip I had no positive assurance of the success of our vessels in passing safely the batteries on the river. Since then I have received communications from Flag-Officer Farragut, who is now in possession of New Orleans. Our troops are or will be in possession of the prominent points on the river, and a sufficient force has been posted outside of the bayous to cut off all communication and prevent supplies.
No man could consider it dishonorable to surrender under these circumstances, especially when no advantage can arise by longer holding out, and by yielding gracefully he can save the further effusion of blood. You have defended the forts gallantly, and no more can be asked of you.
I feel authorized to offer you terms sufficiently honorable to relieve you from any feeling of humiliation. The officers will be permitted to retire on parole, with their side-arms, not to serve again until regularly exchanged. All private property will be respected; only the arms and munitions and the vessels lying near the forts will be surrendered to the United States Government. No damage must be done to the defenses. The soldiers also will be paroled and be permitted to return to their homes, giving up their arms.
I am aware that you can hold out some little time longer, and am also aware of the exact condition, as reported to us by a deserter, which convinces me that you will only be inflicting on yourself and those under you unnecessary discomforts without any good results arising from so doing.
Your port has long been closed to the world, by which serious injury has been experienced by many loyal citizens. I trust that you will not lend yourself to the further injury of their interests, where it can only entail calamity and bloodshed without any possible hope of success or relief to your forts.
Your surrender is a mere question of time, which you know is not of any extent; and I therefore urge you to meet my present proposition. By doing so you can put an end to a state of affairs which will only inflict injury upon all those under you, who have strong claims upon your consideration.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Commanding Mortar Fleet.
Colonel EDWARD HIGGINS,
Commanding Confederate Forces in Forts Jackson and Saint Philip.
HEADQUARTERS FORTS JACKSON AND SAINT PHILIP, April 27, 1862.
SIR: Your better of the 26th instant, demanding the surrender of these forts, has been received. In reply thereto I have to state that no official information has been received by me from our own authorities that the city of New Orleans has been surrendered to the forces of Flag-Officer