AUGUST 23, 1864.
Respectfully submitted for the information of the President, with mortification and pain at results so little creditable to the constancy of the officers in command of the surrendered forts and the honor of our arms.
J. A. SEDDON,
AUGUST 26, 1864.
Read and returned to Secretary of War.
The conduct in both cases seems to be discreditable to our arms. The officers responsible for the surrender will be held to a strict account for their acts as soon as practicable.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Mobile, Ala., September 1, 1864.
GENERAL: When I was assigned to command of this department, July 26, it had been stripped of most of its troops to strengthen the Army of Tennessee. In Mobile there was not a soldier except the artillery garrisons of the forts and bay batteries. Forrest, with 6,000 effective cavalry, guarded North MISSISSIPPI against a heavy column advancing from Memphis; General Wirt Adams, with 500 or 600 cavalry, watched Vicksburg; Colonel Scott, with 1,200 cavalry, held East Louisiana; a few disorganized fragments of brigades, numbering 1,000 men perhaps, with some companies of State reserves, constituted my force in North and Central Alabama. The enemy prepared to move on Mobile and North MISSISSIPPI simultaneously.
On the 5th of August a very formidable fleet of iron-clads and wooden ships, led by Admiral Farragut, after a fierce bombardment of Fort Morgan, r an past that fortress and entered Mobile Bay. One iron-clad (the Tecumseh) was sunk by a torpedo, a and a small gun- boat (the Philippi) was destroyed by our fire. On the same day a monitor ran up within 700 yards of Fort Powell and bombardment it for several hours. The garrison suffered no loss; the fort sustained no serious damage. That night the commander evacuated and blew up the fort, thus leaving Grant's Pass open to the enemy. He is now undergoing trail before a court-martial.
On the evening of August 3 the enemy had landed a force on dauphin Island in order to besiege and reduce Fort Gaines. General Page called for re-enforcements to enable him to attack this force, which at that time he supposed to be small. Every available man was sent from Mobile to Fort Gaines. The entrance of the fleet into the bay prevented their return to the city. They were too few to make the proposed attack, but were too many for the proper siege garrison of Fort Gaines, and for the unexplained, precipitate surrender made by Colonel Anderson of a work which, faithfully defended, could have held the enemy before it at least as long as Fort Morgan. After firing a few shots Colonel Anderson, without authority, entered into negotiations with the enemy, and on the 7th instant the Confederate flag was lowered and the ensign of
a General Page reports that it was sunk by the guns of Fort Morgan.