and all our defenses afloat were either burned or sunk, I knew there was no material obstacle to prevent the fleet from proceeding at once to the city,and that all the guns, forts, and men on the other ten or twelve water approaches would go for naught. The twelve guns in the upper earthworks on the lower line had but 20 rounds of powder each (the remainder having been given to the steamer Louisiana, for reasons which I have already stated), and could offer no serious resistance to a fleet which had already passed more than 100 guns in masonry works, better mounted an damply supplied with powder. The city was surrounded by swamps, and there was but one outlet by land, viz, through the narrow neck, heretofore described, between the river and Lake Ponchartrain.
At Kenner, on the Mississippi, 10 miles above the city, the firm ground between the river and the swamp which borders the lake is narrowed to about three-quarters of a mile, through which passes the Jackson Railroad. The river at this time was fully to the top of the levees, and a single one of their large ships of war anchoring at this point would have commanded with her broadside, at point-blank range, the only land exit from the city, sweeping with her broadside, at point-blank range, the only land exit from the city, sweeping with her guns (which would have been higher than the surface of the country) every foot of land between the river and the lake. The obstructions placed across the Rigolets at Fort Pike had been swept away in a storm shortly before, by some vessels which had broken adrift, and there was an open channel, fully as wide as the Mississippi River, into Lake Pontchartrain, which could easily be passed by the enemy at night. Such a movement, in connection with the placing of one or more ships at Kenner, would have completely surrounded New Orleans, cutting off all communication by land or water, with the interior. (See the map heretofore submitted.) My efforts to accumulate provisions enough in the city to feed the population had proved abortive, and an examination, made a few days previous to the evacuation, had satisfied, me that there were not in the city provisions enough to sustain the population for more than eighteen days. Taking it for granted that the enemy would occupy Kenner, as indeed he did, in a few days, we should have been starved into surrender in less than three weeks; for when the hostile fleet anchored in front of the city we were entirely cut off from Texas and the Red River, our main source of supply. I had more than three months' ration available for my troops (less than 3,000 men), but this would have answered but a few days for a population of more than 150,000 persons. Some of the steamers on the levee had been destroyed and a number had fled up the river, so that the Jackson Railroad was the only means of transportation for removing the women, children, and non-combatants from the city, which removal to would have required months to accomplish.
In the vicinity of New Orleans and for many miles above there was nothing but swamps filled with water, in which the families could take refuge, and moreover, a great portion of the male protectors of these families were absent with our armies in Tennessee and Virginia, and of course could not superintend their removal. The plan, therefore, of removing the non-combatants and remaining with the troops was plan, therefore, of removing the non-combatants and remaining with the troops was entirely impracticable. Thirteen of the enemy's hips wee anchored abreast of the city, with their guns looking down upon the streets, which they could have swept to the swamps in rear of the houses or set on fire at a number of point; and, had I continued to occupy it with troops, they would have been justified, by the laws of war, in opening fire, after due notice to the women and children to withdraw from danger. I knew that they had not, and cold not have for several days, land forces to take possession, and having determined, for the reasons above stated, to evacuate the city, I through it best to remove the troops at once and speedily, and thus convert New Orleans from a military position into that of an garrisoned city. By so doing I should deprive the enemy of all pretext for a wanton and useless sacrifice of life and property, and, as they were unable to occupy it, I would have a number of days for the undisturbed removal of the vast amount of public property which was on hand at the time. My troops, however, were placed at Camp Moore, only four hours' run from the city by rail, troops, however, were placed at Camp Moore, only four hours' run from the city by rail, and I could have reoccupied it at any time for several days after the evacuation, if it had been deemed advisable. Had I regarded the outside popular clamor that would ensue, I should have subjected the people of New Orleans to a bombardment; but I did not thing myself justified, for such a purpose, in spilling the blood of women and children,w hen I knew that in two or three weeks at furthest want of food for the inhabitants would compel me to evacuate the city, or, if that had been impossible, to surrender. I spoke to the mayor, several members of the city council, and many prominent citizens on the subject, and, while none seemed unwilling to undergo the dangers, if by so doing they could arrive at favorable results, yet all, without exception, under the circumstances, approved of and advised the withdrawal of the troops. In determining upon the evacuation, I, necessarily, as soon as they enemy's fleet had passed the forts, regarded the position the same as if both their Army and Navy were present before the city, making due allowance simply for the time it would take them to transport their army up. Inasmuch as their ships had passed Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, they could at once place themselves in open and uninterrupted communication with their army at points from 6 to 20 miles above the forts through