War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0596 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

boats and ships of war below his mortar boats and that he was planting signals on the Saint Philip shore, indicating that they would probably take up position and bombard in conjunction with the mortar boats, and if, a favorable opportunity presented, would attempt the passage of the forts. He charged me to prepare for such events. He also stated that the river would be lit up. The order from Lieutenant-Colonel Higgins is now in Louisiana, near the enemy.

The court adjourned to meet at Jackson, Miss., April 27, 1863, at 10 a. m.

JACKSON, MISS., April 27, 1863.

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present, all the members of the court, the judge-advocate, and also Major General Mansfield Lovell.

The proceedings of the 25th instant were read over.

The following communication was then read to the court by the judge-advocate, to wit:

RICHMOND, VA., April 21, 1863/

Major L. R. PAGE:

The court is required by the order to examine into the facts and circumstances attending the capture of New Orleans, the defense of that city, and the evacuation of the same. The inquiry is broad and not restrictive, and will embrace every fact and every officer, whether of Army or Navy, connected with the object of inquiry. It is fully competent for the court, and it is expected of it, to report all the facts of the whole subject of the capture, defense, and evacuation of New Orleans, which included the defenses on the river below the city, and to report their opion thereon.

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.

Lieutenant Colonel W. S. LOVELL was then sworn and examined as a witness.

By Major General MANSFIELD LOVELL:

Question. What duty were you assigned to in New Orleans by General Lovell in November, 1861? State what was done by you.

Answer. I reported for duty to General Lovell at New Orleans on or about November 8, 1861. Was ordered immediately to take charge of the raft between Forts Jackson and Saint Philip; the reaper, replace it in position, and anchor it properly. I found the raft had, by either dragging its anchors or parting its moorings, drifted so far down the river that the end towards the Fort Jackson side was about the middle of the river, leaving the river open between them about 400 yards; many of the gum rails, which were joined on top of the logs forming the raft, were broken, and the end towards the Saint Philip side very much broken up. Most of the anchors which had been used in mooring the raft were very small, and had rope attached to them instead of chain. Some of the ropes were so short as to lead almost up and down, not having sufficient scope. A number of the anchors were not recovered, having parted the moorings. Most of the gum rails, or stringers, were broken or wrenched out of place. I pinned down new ones. I secured the end on the Fort Saint Philip side by planting a large anchor, about 3,000 pounds, with what are called "dead men," or longer logs placed in front of each arm. The anchor was then backed by chains to a stumps, and the stump backed by a small anchor from the main anchor. Mooring chains were secured tot he end of the raft; there were no other means of securing the raft to the shore. The raft was then hauled back into position on this side by steamers and anchored. The heavies anchors, from 2,500 to 3,000 pounds, were placed in the deepest water, with chains from 45 to 60 fathoms each. To the best of my recollection there were between twenty-five and thirty anchors used in anchoring the raft, and each with a sufficient scope of chain. A number of the anchors were between 2,000 to 3,000 pounds. The end of the raft on the fort Jackson side was secured by two heavy chains running to two "crabs," also by heavy chains, made fast to a large anchor, planted as the one on the other side, so that they might be slacked upon lengthened if necessary. When the drift got to be heavy against the raft steamers were employed to endeavor to haul it out, which was found impossible. I built, by General Lovell's order, a raft or boom above the city of New Orleans, about 1,000 yards long, which was ready to be thrown across should it be required. I had charge, for a time, of a raft to be placed across the lake at Fort Pike. I also fitted up the steamers Oregon and Arrow as gunboats for the lake. The former vessel carried two guns, one 8-inch gun and one 32-pounder rifled; the latter, one 32-pounder. I also fitted up he yacht Corypheus with one gun, to be used in the lake.