War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0572 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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The examination of Major General MANSFIELD LOVELL continued.


Question. State what preparations, if any, were made by you, and, if so, when begun, to resist the progress of the enemy's fleet up the river, after the raft ceased to be an obstruction, and when you believed the passage of the forts could be accomplished.

Answer. I made my preparations, from the beginning, on land, to resist the passage of the fleet up the river to the city, precisely as if there had been no obstructions in the river, and brought everything to bear that i could obtain for that purpose. I never did believe that the forts could have been passed if those who had charge of the construction of the vessels of war which were intended to co-operate with me in the defense had had them ready at the time named to me by themselves, as two powerful iron-clad steamers, heavily armed and manned, could have averted the necessity of any obstructions; with this assistance, which I was informed would undoubtedly be afforded, I did not think the enemy could be up the river. When the first obstructions were carried away, having done all I could by way of defense on land, I endeavored to urge forward the completion of the iron-clad steamers,and was told by the builders that they would undoubtedly be ready about April 1. Previous to this time I endeavored to get the heavy guns from Pensacola, as mentioned already in my testimony.

Question. When you considered the passage of the first practicable, did you then or at any time urge upon the Government the speedy completion of the iron-clads, which were then being built in New Orleans, as necessary to its successful defense, and did you at any time advise the War Department of any tardiness on the part of those building them?

Answer. I did not. I had been distinctly informed by the Secretary of war and President that I was to have no control over those matters. The Navy department had experienced officers at New Orleans in charge of its affairs, and I should have considered it a reflection upon the officers for me to undertake their duties. I did, however, represent the matter frequently and forcibly to the naval officer in command of New Orleans, who informed me that it had bee represented by him to Richmond. It was also stated day after day that the Louisiana would be ready, and she did of down the river on the 20th to the forts,and I supposed that with her assistance the enemy could be driven off. When she got there she proved not to be ready.

Question. What officers informed you from day to day that the Louisiana would be ready; and did you not know before she went down that she was not ready?

Answer. Various persons connected with her construction and her crew. I did know that she was not entirely ready, but supposed she was all prepared, except some works upon the propellers, for the completion of which work she took down a number of mechanics, and I was informed that she would be entirely ready in less than two days by some of her officers or master-mechanics.

Question. When it became evident to you that the security of New Orleans required that the Louisiana should be placed as indicated by you to Commander Whittle, and that officer declined to give a positive order to that effect, did you or not communicate the fact to the War Department? If not, what were you reasons?

Answer. I did not. From information received I felt convinced that the final passage would be attempted within twenty-four hours, and, if so, I knew it was too late to communicate with Richmond, and went down myself to endeavor to effect the change by personal application to Captain Mitchell, and arrived a few moments before the battle commenced, and was unable to see him.

Question. By what considerations were you induced not to attempt the construction of defensive works on the river between Forts Jackson and Saint Philip and your interior line?

Answer. I had no guns wherewith to arm them and could get none. I had concentrated almost all the guns of the defense of the river at those forts after consultation with General Beauregard, who understood well the nature of the country, because I