they averaged ten guns to a broadside they would bring one hundred and twenty guns to bear on the fort, and it will be seen that they will enfilade every barbette and take most of them in reserve.
The nearest vessels will be about 200 yards from the work.
The batteries of Saint Philip cannot be enveloped and enfiladed as can those of Fort Jackson, but they are so extremely low and so near the shore that they are fearfully exposed. Eight vessels could be laid alongside, the most remote 300 yards from the extremes of the two exterior batteries, the central ones within 200 yards of the parapets of the work.
I should not attempt to put all these vessels in position at once. I should select for the Fort Jackson side say four (iron-clad if possible), destined for position from A to E. Two of these (iron-clad) vessels should be posted directly in front of the two curtains of the water fronts, to contend with the casemate and barbette guns above them; these vessels should have 11-inch guns and fire nothing but canister. Three vessels should likewise be destined to take positions in front of Fort Saint Philip.
The operations should commence in the night, so as to get these vessels in position just before daylight - the vessels destined for Saint Philip to creep along the left shore; those for Fort Jackson along the right shore. The vessels once in positions would have to keep them. They should be of such a character that they might be expected to do so, from the number of their guns of from their iron protection. (Ample top-mast room should be provided and filled with sharpshooters.) Those on the Fort Jackson side would probably have to make fast to the shore; those on Saint Philip side might anchor.
At nearly dawn the rest of the fleet should distribute itself along the shores as indicated. The mortar vessels should then sack the most suitable positions. If the fleet can thus silence the fire of the forts once it can keep it silenced, and it should take advantage of its cessation to fire solid shot or shells to injure the guns and walls. (The walls of Saint Philip are, notwithstanding all modern repairs, of the most wretched character and much exposed.) It is likely a more or less practicable breach could be made in front from the vessels. The fire of the works being subdued, part of the transports should pass up and troops be landed on each side) taking immediately proper precautions to prevent being flooded by the levees being cut above), and the two works at least partially invested by skirmishers, to whom the levees would furnish great facilities.
In sketching out an operation of this character it is useless to attempt to mark out beforehand that which must take its shape from the circumstances of the moment. If this naval operation can be made successful I can conceive the possibility, by a prompt display of land force and menace of assault, of obtaining an immediate surrender of Fort Saint Philip. This possibility would be founded upon the demoralization propounded by the naval assault - the men being driven from guns and unable to return to them, large numbers killed and wounded. In the absence of any bomb-proof (or fire-proof) shelter, a momentary refuge for a small portion of the garrison might be found under the relieving arches of the land fronts; but they are so contracted, so wet and close, that men could not stay in them long. The fact is that the only quarters is a very large pine building, which would probably be fired by shells, and during its burning make the service of guns in any part of the main work impracticable.