and very embarrassing in the face of the enemy. A copy of his communication was sent by me to General Duncan, and one, through Commander W. C. Whittle, to General Lovell, informing them at the same time that the position assumed by Captain Stephenson relieved me from all responsibility for the conduct of the vessels under his command. Not knowing what moment an attack might be made by the enemy, I endeavored to agree upon a plan of co-operation with his forces by the arrangement of signals and concert of action, and the particular service to be performed by him - an endeavored which he himself seemed disposed zealously to second in many respects.
Question. If the fore rafts and guard boats were under your command, state why they were not used to watch the enemy's movements the morning the enemy's fleet passed the forts.
Answer. The fire boats were under my control, and Captain Stephenson reported to me the evening of the 23rd that each one of his vessels and the two tugs had a fire boat secured to her, ready for firing, and to be towed against the enemy's vessels in the event of an attack. I was getting however, most of the fire boats into position to be chained or strung together, and so made to form a cordon, if possible, entirely across the river on the enemy's attempting to pass the forts, for which purpose they had been specially prepared, chiefly under my direction, and with some aid from General Smith, before they were sent down from New Orleans, the chains for which had, however, been scattered about so that the fire boats could not be made ready in this manner before the attack of the enemy. The little unarmed tug Mosher, it is thought, was the only one that succeeded in towing one of the fire boats against a vessel of the enemy by which she was set on fire, but it was soon extinguished, and the Mosher sunk by the enemy's shot. I am not awarder of more tan one or two the fire boats having been fired souring the passage of the enemy. The night of April 20, on my way down in the Louisiana, the enemy's boats are said to have visited the raft obstructions and cut the chain. To prevent further injury to it, and to break up the night reconnaissance of the enemy, and to watch and report to watch and report all his movements, I was unsuccessful in my efforts get Captain Stephenson to employ one or two of his gun-boats below the obstructions at night. Although favoring the idea, he seemed to have no confidence in the fitness of his commanders for the service, and I could not induce him to give the necessary orders to them. I had no suitable vessels for this duty under my command - the only one that would have answered (the Jackson) having been sent with launch Numbers 3 5 miles above to the quarantine station, at the request of General Duncan, to watch the enemy in that neighborhood and prevent his approach through any of the adjacent bayous and canals. The vessels under Captain Stephenson having guns, aft, and being converted tow-boats, were well calculated for the duty of making reconnaissances or keeping guard below from their light draught, easy management in the river, and making comparatively low in the water. The McRae, Manassas, Governor Moore, and the General Quitman were all converted sea steamers of a deep draught, great length, high out of the water, except the Manassas, and very difficult to handle, and none of them, I think, had after guns. One of the two launches (Numbers 6) was kept near me, for the special purpose of acting as a guard boat for the two nights preceding the action, and was well provided with the means for signaling the approach of any unusual movement of the enemy by firing its howitzer and setting off rockets. She was stationed below Saint Philip, but on the appearance of the enemy, or sooner, her commander deserters his station, returned clandestinely to the Louisiana, made no report of it, and, consequently, no alarm was given, at least by him.
Question. Was the river-defense fleet of any service in resisting the enemy's fleet in passing the forts?
Answer. I am not aware that the river-defense fleet did any service in resisting the enemy; if they did, it did not come under my observation, nor has it in any way been brought to my notice. I understand that four were destroyed by the enemy or set on fire and abandoned by their own crew; also the Louisiana State gunboat General Quitman. the Resolute was run ashore and abandoned, and finally burned by my order, to prevent her falling into the enemy's hands, as it was impossible to float her off, on account of shot-holes through her bows. The Defense was discovered in our immediate vicinity after the action, having escaped without any material damage.
Question. State why you did not comply with the request of Generals Lovell and Duncan to place the Louisiana in the position they desired her to take prior to the passage of the forts.
Answer. The chief reasons for not placing the Louisiana in the position desired by Generals Lovell and Duncan below Fort Saint Philip were that she would at once be