War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0607 Chapter XVI. CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.

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Lieutenant W. H. WARD, C. S. Navy, was then sworn and examined as a witness.


Question. State your profession and what duty you were on in April, 1862.

Answer. I was a lieutenant in the navy, on duty at New Orleans; attached to the Confederate States steamer Louisiana at that time.

Question. Were you on duty abroad the Louisiana when the enemy's fleet passed Forts Jackson and Saint Philip? If yea, state what part she bore in resisting its passage and her location during the action.

Answer. She was fought to the best advantage under the circumstances; her guns were fired with her bow down-stream the starboard battery bearing upon the chancel. She had no effective motive power, and her location on the east side of the river was the best, in my judgment, that she could have taken.

Question. State all you know touching the request of Generals lovell and Duncan to have the vessel placed in a particular position before the passage of the forts; and, if you know their suggestions were not needed. State, also, when and why the Louisiana was destroyed by our forces.

Answer. I know nothing of my own knowledge as to such request preferred by those gentleman. on the morning of April 28, about 6 o'clock, Commander Mitchell sent for the commissioned officers of the vessel, and said to them, when they had assembled, that he had just received a communication from Fort Jackson, stating that General Duncan was about to surrender the first to the enemy; that he had no previous information that such a course would be pursued; that a large Federal fleet had passed up the river guns; that we would be attacked from above and below by the enemy's vessels; that we had no motive power of our own, being dependent altogether upon two high-pressure river steamboats, which would have most likely been disabled or destroyed by the enemy's first fire, and could not, therefore, withdraw from the fire that would be opened upon us by the forts. He then asked the officers what was the best course to pursue. The unanimous opinion was that the vessel should be destroyed rather than that she should fall into the hands of the Federals. In pursuance of this conclusion, she was fired about 10 o'clock that morning and in a short time blown to pieces. The Louisiana was the only vessel of the defenses afloat that was left, except a tow-boat (the defiance), which had been abandoned by her officers and crew.

Question. State the condition of the Louisiana with respect to her fighting capacity at the time she was destroyed; and state how long it would have required to have completed her for effective service.

Answer. When we left New Orleans, by some mismanagement some of the guns - about three or four - were mounted on carriages that did not belong to them, and could not be worked efficiently in the forts. All the time we had was devoted to the correction of the mistake. There was also one gun lying in the dock that was not mounted at all. In my division, owing to an improper mounting of an 8-inch shell gun, it was ineffectual. The facilities for mounting the guns were very indifferent; it had to be done by blocking them up. Her moving power was also incomplete. She had to depend on wooden tugs to give her motion. Her wheels, which were designed as her chief motive power, were wholly inadequate, and I think they could never have been made serviceable. Her propellers, which were merely auxiliary, it was said been done that day, but I do not think they would have moved her; their chief value would have been to assist in steering the vessel. I looked upon her as a total failure, except that she might have been used as a floating battery; but even then her accommodations were so inferior that it would have been difficult to have lived on her. It may be well to state that the crew of the Louisiana was not full, and of a mixed and indifferent character. A company of artillery from the Crescent Regiment constituted a larger part of the crew, and were not skilled in the use of heavy guns.

Cross-examination by Major-General LOVELL:

Question. In your opinion was the Louisiana, or could she have been