War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0581 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

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The deposition of R. F. NICHOLS, a citizen, taken at Jackson, Miss., pursuant to an order of the court, Major General M. Lovell and the judge-advocate being present at the time, was then read to the court.

JACKSON, MISS., April 18, 1863.

R. F. NICHOLS, having been duly sworn by the judge-advocate, testified as follows:

Question. Where did you reside in the yards 1861 and 1862, up to the time of the evacuation of New Orleans, and what was your occupation previous to October 18, 1861?

Answer. I resided in New Orleans. My occupation was that of a merchant, engaged in the Mediterranean trade. About the month of August 1861, I was solicited by Governor Moore to procure chains and anchors for him. I was engaged in this when General Lovell took commanding of New Orleans.

Question. State, when General Lovell took command at New Orleans, whether you were employed by him in any capacity; if so, what; and state fully what steps were taken by you under his orders or under those of his staff to procure chains and anchors, cordage, an other materials.

Answer. Immediately on General Lovell's taking command I was introduced to him by Governor Moore, and General Lovell thereupon employed me at once to procure chains, anchors, cordage, and others necessary materials which would be required for constructing and anchoring rafts or obstructions that might be necessary for the protection of New Orleans in the water approaches. I immediately proceeded to procure all the chains and anchors suitable in the city of New Orleans which could be found in all the stores or otherwise, and also all on boards of each and every ship, bark, schooner,and steamboat in port, as well as on all the plantations and saw-mills on the coast and in the city of New Orleans. I further was authorized and did take one of the tow-boats for the purpose of taking the mooring chains from all the crafts afloat then in port, which I did, securing these vessels by such other means as I could, to wit, by cordage and chains for smaller dimensions. I continued incessantly at this business day by day up to the time of the passage of the forts, having in my employ a large number of seamen and stevedores to assist me. Oftentimes I encountered serious difficulty in effecting my object by the parties owning or controlling the chains an anchors concealing them from me. In several ships I found from 500 to 600 fathoms of chains laid under 10 to 15 feet of ballast, and some were sunk in the Mississippi River under the wharf, which I discovered and obtained. I further state that it was then, and is now, my firm belief that, through the means I adopted, I did obtain and turn over to General Lovell all the articles above named which were in and about the city of New Orleans that were in any way useful for the purposes required. After I had exhausted all that could be found, and more being required, as a last resort I did, under the advice of General Lovell, procure from the mayor of the city permission to take the chains form around the parks in the city, which, although far too small and not suitable for the purpose, was through to be the best that could be done in our extremity.

The court adjourned to meet at Vicksburg, Miss., on Tuesday, the 21st instant, at 12 m. or as soon thereafter as practicable.

VICKSBURG, MISS., April 22, 1863-10 a. m.

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present, Major General T. C. Hindman, Brigadier General T. F. Drayton, and W. M. Gardner, Major L. R. Page, judge-advocate, and Major General Mansfield Lovell.

The proceeding of the 18th instant were read over.

Major General M. L. SMITH was then sworn and examined as a witness.


Question. Were you in the Army of the Confederate States during the years 1861 and 1862? If yea, state what was your rank, where you were located, and to what duty you were assigned from May, 1861, to May, 1862.

Answer. I entered the service early in April, 1861, as a major of engineers. I was located in New Orleans from May, 1861, until April 26, 1862. I was assigned to engineer and ordnance duty until April 11, 1862, when I was made a brigadier-general, and placed in command of the interior line of works around New Orleans.