War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0600 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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United state steam sloop-of-war Varuna. I afterwards destroyed my ship to prevent her falling in the hands of the enemy. I lost 74 men out of 93; besides this, the ship was completely disabled.

Question. What assistance that was not rendered might have been given by the vessels of the C. S. Navy or of the river-defense fleet or by fitting out vessels then at New Orleans belonging to private parties?

Answer. There were no Confederate States naval ships of war in our neighborhood; therefore no assistance could come from them, unless, of course, I except those in the fight. Had all our vessels been at the forts, and had all the vessels alongside the wharves been fitted up properly, I am sure that the enemy would not have passed us. All the assistance was given by the Confederate States naval vessel present that could be given, but Mr. Mallory ordered Commander Mitchell to take command near the forts at an hour too late to do much service. As to the river-defense fleet, they behaved very shamefully; every single vessel ran away or war deserted by all hands without fighting. The vessels belonging to private parties or companies at New Orleans in the fall of 1861 numbered somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty tow-boats, strong and comparatively fast, which would and could have made excellent rams. There were about as many large ocean steamers, which in smooth water have carried on an average twenty heavy guns. There were also about a dozen ships, brigs, &c., which on an average could have carried six heavy guns each; yet Mr. Mallory did not take any of these vessels. They were taken by the State, but it was then too late. I was making preparations to arm and equip all these vessels when I was relieved of my command in New Orleans and ordered to Richmond. I then resigned my commission as a naval officer. After I resigned, the State of Louisiana took many of these vessels, but there was too little time then to fit them, man, and officer them. Regular naval officers, even that late hour, would have done better then the river steamboat captains who were on board of them.

Question. What was the character of the vessel you command, and what was the character of the Federal vessel Varuna, as to construction, armament, &c?

Answer. My ship was an ordinary merchants mail steamer-strong, fast, and of much weight. Her battery was only two 32-pounder rifles. The Varuan was a regular man of-war built ship, with a crew of 259 men, and eight 8-inch guns, four heavy 32-pounders, two 20-pounder Parrotts, and one 12-pounder howitzer.

The court adjourned to meet at Charleston, S. C., at 12 m. May 15, 1863 or as soon thereafter as practicable.

CHARLESTON, S. C., May 18, 1863-10 a. m.

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

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

The proceedings of the 27th ultimo were read over.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD was then sworn and examined as a witness.


Question. What was your rank in the U. S. Army, and were you while in that service stationed at or near New Orleans, and what were your opportunities to form an acquaintance with the topography of that section of country?

Answer. I was a brevet major of Engineers in the United States service, and in charge for about fifteen years of the works defending the approach to New Orleans, which made me thoroughly acquainted with the topography of that section of Louisiana.

Question. From your knowledge of the country and its peculiarities would you think it the proper plan to concentrate the main strength in artillery at Forts Jackson and Saint Philip in connection with obstructions at that point, rather than the place the guns at many points along the river which the enemy would have to pass in succession?

Answer. The true plan for the defense of a river from the passage of steamers, &c., is, when practicable, to obstruct its navigation with rafts, pikes, torpedoes, &c., at