War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0587 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

Search Civil War Official Records

by the fall of New Orleans. By orders from department headquarters I obstructed by very heavy piling, Salt Bayou, connecting West Pearl River with Lake Pontchartrain, and avoiding the guns of For Pike. This bayou was some 10 miles long, 60 feet in width, and with and average depth at high tide of 9 or 10 feet. There was also Mill Bayou, connecting West Pear and West Middle Rivers. The mouth of west Pearl having been obstructed by rafting, it became important to secure the approaches to it from other rivers not so obstructed. Mill Bayou, 3 1/2 miles long, 40 feet wide, and 10 feet deep, was thoroughly obstructed under my personal direction, by cutting down heavy trees on either bank across the channel for nearly its whole length.

Question. From whom did you receive orders to evacuate Fort Pike? State also the condition of that fort at the time of its evacuation.

Answer. It was on the morning of April 26, I think, that I received a telegraphic order to prepare to evacuate my fort. This I prepared to do by impressing one or two steamboats and schooners lying at the wharf or in the stream, and holding them in readiness for any emergency. I do not remember exactly how the order referred to was signed, but it must have been signed by order of Major-General Lovell, as otherwise I would have paid no attention to it. On the same afternoon I received another telegraphic order, I think, to the effect that I was to spike my guns and abandon the fort at once. This order was signed by C. A. Fuller, colonel, commanding First Louisiana Artillery, and dated New Orleans. I declined obeying this order, for the reason that I had never reported to or received orders from Colonel Fuller in my official capacity as commander of the fort, and I refused to recognize his authority in so grave a matter as abandoning a fortified position without fighting for it. I a once telegraphed Major Devereux, assistant adjutant-general, for written orders, and, if it was decided to abandon the fort, I asked for transportation, if possible, for my best guns at least. About 12 o'clock that night a steamer arrived from the city, and the officer in charge handed me a written order to immediately evacuate the fort. This order was signed by C. A. Fuller, colonel, commanding Third Brigade. I supposed that some accident had occurred to General Duncan, and that Colonel Fuller had assumed command of the brigade by seniority. Regarding, therefore, the order to be in form and from an authoritative source, nothing was left to me but to obey it. I embarked on board the transport all of my ammunition, implements, &c., all quartermaster and commissary stores (ninety days' supply), and in fact exerting of value save the guns, for which I had no room on board. These, the moment before leaving the fort, I thoroughly spiked and destroyed in various ways-burning the carriages and chassis and setting fire to all the outbuildings. I left the fort with my whole command at daylight on the 27th.

At the date of its abandonment Fort Piek was in as good fighting trim as it was possible to place it, with the serious exception of the lightness of most of its armament. Had the raft held its intended position all water craft would have been forced within 50 yards of the walls of the fort in order to effect a passage, which fact would have rendered each 24-pounder gun nearly as destructive as guns of much heavier caliber. My order had been to fight the fort to the last extremity. These orders I would at least have obeyed, and with the most sanguine confidence of a successful result.

Lieutenant WILLIAM M. BRIDGES was then duly sworn and examined as a witness.


Question. What position did you hold at the time of the evacuation of New Orleans in April, 1862, and where were you statened for the previous six months?

Answer. I was first lieutenant in the First Regiment Louisiana Artillery, and aide-de-camp to General J. K. Duncan; stationed t Fort Jackson at the time General Lovell assumed command, and was there at the time the fort was surrendered.

Question. What additions, if any, were made in new guns and munitions of war to Forts Jackson and Saint Philip after General Lovell assumed command of Department Numbers 1?

Answer. Several companies of artillery were added to their garrisons. Three 10-inch columbiads, five 8-inch columbiads, two 7-inch rifled guns, two unbounded rifled 32-pounders, twelve 42-pounders, some smooth-bore 32-pounders (their exact number I do not recollect), and five 10-inch sea-coast mortars were added to the armament of both forts. A large quantity of implements were added to these after General Lovell assumed command, amply sufficient for the working of his guns. When General