War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0624 OPERATION IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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on behalf of the citizens of New Orleans for engineers to take charge of the fortifications there in process of construction?

Answer. There was already a Confederate States engineer officer there, a Major M. L. Smith, but General Twiggs had expressed to me doubts of his activity and energy, although he spoke highly of him in other respects, and expressed a wish that some officer of more distinction should be given the superintendence of the works at New Orleans. On my arrival here I conferred with the President upon the subject, and he expressed very great willingness to comply with the request as far as practicable, but stated that very few engineers had resigned and come over to us from the old service, and that there was a great deficiency in our Army as to that corps. He looked over the list, and found that some had already been assigned to important duty, and of those that remained he said he would send any of them that General Twiggs would prefer, but expressed the opinion, from what he had heard of Major Smith, that he was as competent as either of those that were mentioned as disposable. I informed General Twiggs of the result of my interview, but am unable to say whether or not any change was made.

Question. Do you know any particular facts touching the defenses of New Orleans not before stated which you deem important? If so, state them.

Answer. I know nothing further on the subjected than I have stated, except the condition of Fort Jackson before or shortly after General Lovell's arrival, and that shortly after the commencement of the first session of the Provisional Congress, at Montgomery, in February, 1861, before the President was inaugurated, either Major (now General) Beauregard or some one else sent me a ship from a paper containing a letter from General Beauregard in regard to the of New Orleans. In this letter he expressed the opinion that the forts below the city would boat be sufficient to prevent the passage of steam vessels of war, even if their armament was complete and the guns of the heaviest caliber, but added that the armament was not complete nor the guns of the heaviest caliber. He recommended, therefore, that some measures should be adopted retarding the progress of such vessels - keeping them under the fire of the forts. He suggested two modes that might be adopted to accomplish this end: the one was the stretching of heavy chain cables across the river; the other, which he considered most effective, the construction of a raft in the channel, and stated that he had prepared a plan of such a raft, and gave an estimate of its cost. Considering this communication a very important one, I summoned the Committee on Naval Affairs and laid it before them. They agreed with me, and it was determined that we should summon naval officers of the highest rank in order to lay this subject before them, and I applied for and obtained authority from Congress to summon them. The summons was issued to Captains Ingraham, Rosseau, Tatnall Randolph, and Commander Semmes. They all obeyed the summons, and at the time appointed came to Montgomery and appeared before the committee, when I laid before them the communication of General Beauregard, and requested them carefully to consider it and furnish the committee with their views in writing at the next meeting. They did so, and sent me a report, expressing their entire concurrence in the view of General Beauregard as to the ability of steam vessels of war to pass the forts even with a complete armament of heavy guns. A day or so after the inauguration I laid this communication of General Beauregard and the report of the naval officers before the President. My belief that New Orleans would be taken was based mainly upon this paper of General Beauregard's and the report of the naval officers.

Question. Were you at Camp Moore shortly after the evacuation of New Orleans? If so, state the condition of military affairs there at that time.

Answer. I arrived at Camp Moore a day or after the evacuation. I found General Lovell there with such force as he had brought out of the city, very small in number; I should not think it exceeded over 2,500 men; the troops seemed to be very much disorganized. The general's main attention seemed to be directed to getting the military supplies from the city, large quantities of which were constantly arriving. With the execution of Colonel De Clouet's regiment, which had been raised but a few days, and a battalion of Zouaves, the forces was mainly composed of militia and troops raised for local defense. General Lovell, while I was there, was making arrangements for the destruction of cotton up the river, and informed me that he had given instructions for the fortification of Vicksburg. There was no greater confusion than was natural and to be expected; there was no military confusion. General Lovell gave no evidence of embarrassment; was perfectly cool, and told me he was willing to go back to New Orleans if the authorities desired it.