War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0569 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

Search Civil War Official Records

that I could find was removed, except some heavy guns, which had to be left because I could not get the men and sling-carts necessary to their removal.

Question. Did you make any communications with the mayor an council of New Orleans on behalf of General Lovell? If so, what was the substance of those communications and what was their result?

Answer. On April 28 General Lovell telegraphed me to inform the mayor and council that he would return with his forces to the city if they desired it, provided they would incur the hazards of a bombardment. They replied that General Lovell could do nothing further with his troops; that it they were brought back it would only cause a bombardment of the city, which would result in the death of many women and children; but they told me they would like the general to come down. I notified the general, and he came down that night. We went together to the mayor's house, where the general repeated the proposition he had made to him through me. He replied as before, and asked the general to remain, so that he might have the benefit of his counsel.

During the morning of the 29th the mayor received a communication from the commander of the Federal fleet, stating that it was useless to hold out longer, that the forts had fallen, and demanding the surrender of the city. In the afternoon the enemy landed their forces to take down the State flag. General Doncan also arrived in the city, a paroled prisoner of war. About this time a policeman told me that the mayor of the city was anxious to see me. I immediately called upon him, when he asked me for God's sake to get General Lovell out of town.

Question. Were you present at any interview between Genera Lovell and Commander Whittle in reference to the location of the steamer Louisiana? If yea, state where such interview occurred and what passed between them.

Answer. On the morning of April 23 I was present at such an interview, in which General Lovell stated to Commander Whittle, commanding the naval station, that he had received intelligence tot he effect that the forts and magazines had been very danger of being lawn up by the enemy's shells, and that the sally-ports were injured to such an extent that it was impossible to replace the sand bags under the enemy's heavy fire. General Lovell then said he was satisfied that by placing the iron-clad gunboat Louisiana on the Fort Saint Philip side, about half a mile below the raft, where she would be under the protection of the cross-fire of both forts, she could enfilade the position of the enemy's fleet and drive them off, when the men in the forts could get some rest and replace the sand bags. The commander replied that he had every confidence in the officers in command of our fleet below, and that he did not like to interfere with them. General Lovell then stated to him that Captain Mitchell had already refused to make the desired change, and that he came to him as chief in command. Commander Wittle replied that the vessel was not entirely ready with her motive power, and that by placing her there he was afraid she would be lost. The general answered, saying that he did not wish her to be sent down amid the enemy's fleet, but that she could be towed down and place in position as a battery; that the necessity was such that it was better to lose the vessel than the city of New Orleans. Commander Whittle then dispatched Captain Mitchell, which dispatch I saw and heard read. As near as I can recollect it was in these words: "I am informed by General Lovell that the garrisons need relief, and that by placing the Louisiana in position in the eddy on the Fort Saint Philip side of the river, below the forts, under the protection of the cross-fire of both, forts, she can dislodge the mortar boats and relieve the garrison. If in your judgment this can be accomplished strain a point to do so." He then turned to General Lovell and asked if that would do. The general replied that nothing short of placing her in the position indicated would answer his purposes, and remarked to the commander that he was going down in a special boat to the forts that afternoon, and asked him to go with him and judge for himself. The commander replied that his business in the office was such that he could not spare the time.

Question. Were the steamboats that you say were burned by the citizens at the levee private property? State how many there were, and whether other vessels than those steamboats, private property, were destroyed.

Answer. The gunboat Yankee was also burned, and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, with her armament aboard. I did not know by whose, if anybody's, order she was burned. The remaining vessels were private property.

The court adjourned to meet at 10 a. m. April 13.