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524

MOVEMENT UPON 1 SE CITY.

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“Between New Orleans and the forts, there is a constant succession of earth-works. At the Plain of Chalmette, near Janin's property, there are redoubts, armed with rifled cannon, which have been found to be effective at five miles range. A ditch thirty feet wide and twenty deep, extends from the Mississippi to La Cipriere.

“In forts St. Philips and Jackson, there are three thousand men, of whom a goodly portion are experienced artillery men and gunners, who have served in the navy.

"At New Orleans itself, we have thirty-two thousand infantry, and as many more quartered in the immediate neighborhood. In discipline and drill they are far superior to the Yankees. We have two very able and active Generals, who possess our entire confidence, General Mansfield Lovell, and Brigadier General Ruggles. For Commodore, we have old Hollins, a Nelson in his way.".

On the 18th of April, 1862, Commodores Farragut and Porter moved with their combined fleets to test the boasted strength of the rebel fortifications. The number of vessels in the fleet,

ATTACK ON THE FORTS.

525

of all kinds, was forty-six ; twenty-one of which were the brigs and schooners, which had been converted into the famous Porter Mortar Fleet, each of which carried a thirteen-inch mortar, weighing seventeen thousand pounds, and two thirty-two pounder guns. Attached to the mortar fleet were five steamers, namely, the Harriet Lane, Miami, Owasco, Westfield, and Clifton. The entire fleet carried two hundred and eighty-six guns. About nine o'clock, as the fleet came in range, Fort Jackson opened fire, which was briskly answered by the mortar fleet, in which also the whole fleet joined. For six days and five nights the bombardment was kept up vigorously, in which time seven thousand five hundred mortar shells were thrown, each mortar averaging about eighty per day. On the Sunday that the attack was made upon the fort, Gen. Butler proceeded with four thousand men, in the attempt to execute his part of the plan, which he states to have been :

“In case the forts were not reduced, and a portion of the fleet got by them, it had been arranged between the flag officer and myself, that I should make a landing from the gulf side, in the rear of the forts at the quarantine, and from thence attempt Fort St. Philips by storm and assault, while the bombardment was continued by the fleet.”

Before light, on the morning of the 24th, Com. Farragut decided to pass the fort, and attempt the reduction of the other defenses, and to reach the city. It was an exceedingly bold and hazardous movement, and one that might well cause the most resolute to hesitate. But the heroic commander pushed vigorously on, amid a perfect tempest of shot and shower of shell from the fort, from thirteen steamers, from the great floating battery Louisiana, and in the face of several fire rafts, set adrift to burn his ships. The gallant Commodore had but nineteen vessels, including four 'sloops of war, with which to encounter the concentrated navy of the Confederacy, and all the engines of destruction which an entire year had

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enabled it to bring to the defense of its commercial capital.
The mortar boats were unsuited to this service. The odds were
certainly much against them. For one hour and twenty min-
utes the terrible contest was maintained, when the ships passed
the forts, and the enemy saw that all was lost. They com-
menced firing the vessels in the vicinity of the city, and the
cotton and other commodities likely to fall into our hands, the
destruction of which was ordered by the military authority.
The river was literally covered with burning ships; and thous-

SURRENDER OF THE FORT.

527

ands of bales of cotton, and immense quantities of sugar were destroyed.

After having passed forts Jackson and St. Philips, the fleet encountered and silenced numerous shore batteries, and anchored for the night, eighteen miles below the city. The day following, the city itself was reached, and of course lay at the mercy of the Union commander. The city, lying really lower than the ships and the river, could not be defended ; and the question now to be decided was, its surrender, or destruction. Gen. Lovell, the military commandant, had retired, and left the duty of surrendering the city to the municipal officers, which was done with much insolence by Mayor Monroe.

Gen. Butler thus refers to the subsequent surrender of the forts :

"In the night of the 27th, learning that the fleet had got the city under its guns, I left Brigadier General Williams in charge of the landing of the troops, and went up the river to the flag-ship to procure light draught transportation. That night, the larger portion, (about two hundred and fifty) of the garrison of Fort Jackson mentioned, spiked the guns bearing up the river, came up and surrendered themselves to my pickets, declaring that as we had got in their rear, resistance was useless, and they would not be sacrificed. No bomb had been thrown at them for three days, nor had they fired a shot at us from either fort. They averred that they had been impressed, and would fight no longer.

“On the 26th, the officers of Fort Jackson and St. Philips surrendered to Captain Porter, he having means of water transportation to them. While he was negotiating, however, with the officers of the forts under a white flag, the rebel naval officers put all their munitions of war on the Louisiana, set her on fire and adrift upon the Harriet Lane, but when opposite Fort St. Philips she blew up, killing one of their own men by the fragments which fell into that fort.

528

INSOLENCE OF THE REBELS.

"I have taken possession of the forts, and find them substantially as defensible as before the bombardment-St. Philips precisely so— it being quite uninjured. They are fully provisioned, well supplied with ammunition, and the ravages of the shells have been defensibly repaired by the labors of the rebels.”

In this important contest, our loss on board the fleet, was but thirty-six killed, and one hundred and twenty-three wounded, while the estimated loss of the enemy was one thousand killed and wounded.

The Federal gun-boat Varrunna, and one mortar boat were sunk, and several of our other vessels much injured. The rebel fleet was nearly destroyed, including three rams, and the great steam iron clad battery blown up.

The scene on the levee at the approach of the fleet, defies description. The crowd upon it, consisting of men, women and children, were in the greatest excitement. The friends of the Union were jubilant, and could not but give vent to their joy in cheers for the old flag, now waving in victory ; but the haughty, yet unhumbled slave-masters, shot them down like dogs,-a past-time in which even the chivalrous women indulged. But such brutality and gross barbarity were soon to

The intolerably proud and arrogant, who, hitherto had known no restraint but the dictates of their own arbitrary wills, 'were soon to take new and important lessons in social and civil life, under a Yankee school-master; one who had sprung from the “mud-sills,” whom they insolently contemned. Gen. Butler was soon to give Mayor Monroe, the police, the aristocrats, and even the “ladies” of the city, some wholesome discipline, for their own and the public good.

On taking possession of the city, on the 28th, Gen. Butler declared martial law, and began the re-organization of the government of the city, and of the region under his control. The circumstances were peculiar, and the task one of unequaled

cease.

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