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CHAP. XV. defense"; that “to surrender such a place were an
idle and unmeaning ceremony"; and that the people of New Orleans “yield simply that obedience which the conqueror is enabled to extort from the conquered.” This last statement the Mayor prefaced
by the declaration, “The obligations which I shall Farragut, assume in their name shall be religiously complied
Though connected with other phrases intended to tickle the ears of the rebel populace with a sound of refusal, this language was in fact a formal and technical surrender of the city. Accordingly on the morning of Sunday, April 27, Farragut ordered Captain Henry W. Morris of the Pensacola, anchored near the Mint, to hoist the Union flag over that building, which was done. Instead of leaving a file of marines to guard it, Captain Morris thought to protect the flag by loading a howitzer in the main-top of his ship with grape, pointing it at the flag-staff, with orders to the lookout to fire upon any one who might approach to molest it. It being Sunday, the ship's crew were assembled for prayers at eleven o'clock, and while the service was going on, the lookout saw four men suddenly appear at the flag-staff, cut the halyards, and rush away with their booty. He fired the howitzer, but without effect; the desperadoes descended from the building and joined the rabble below, where the flag was dragged through the streets, publicly insulted, and torn into shreds. Law and honor required the Mayor promptly to punish these offenders, in order to redeem his “religious" pledge for the city, of the day before, to yield obedience to the captor. The Mayor did nothing of the kind. On the contrary
the leading newspaper published the names of the Chap. XV. perpetrators with commendations, while the populace gloated over the act of defiance. Punishment nevertheless came. William B. Mumford, the ringleader, who cut loose the flag, was afterwards, under General Butler's command of the city, tried, and hung from a window of the same building for his grave military crime. Meanwhile further dilatory correspondence came from the Mayor and Common Council, and on April 28 Farragut sent a qualified threat that he would bombard the city, and an order to remove the women and children. The Mayor returned another whining and contumacious reply, sheltering his evasion and non-compliance under tricky phrases and appeals, apparently more designed to provoke than to avert bombardment and slaughter. His language assumed privileges of hostility, while claiming immunity as prisoners. The Mayor's purpose, in this persistent quibbling over the word “surrender,” becomes intelligible when we read Jefferson Davis's dispatch to him of April 28: “Your answer to Commander Farragut leaves to you all the chances and rights of war. . . Maintain firmly the position you took in your reply, and 1862. W.R. let us hope for a successful issue.” Farragut, however, kept his temper; on the 29th he sent a strong guard of marines with howitzers formally to take down the rebel flags from the public buildings and raise those of the United States in their stead, with a new warning to the Mayor; since which day they have floated inviolate.
Our narrative must return to Forts Jackson and St. Philip. Though the Union fleet was both below and above them, they still remained in possession
Davis to Monroe, Vol. VI.,
CHAP. XV. of the rebels, who, as well as they might, repaired the
damage from the bombardment. After Farragut had passed the forts, Porter sent a demand for their surrender, but the Confederate commander refused. Porter's situation was not free from peril; the rebel ironclad Louisiana still lay anchored above the forts, and her exact offensive strength, or rather, as it turned out, her weakness was not known. Had she been as effective as was supposed, she might have wrought great havoc among the mortar flotilla. Porter therefore ceased his fire and stationed his vessels for defensive action.
Farragut's plan, announced in his general order of April 20, was that “the forts should be run; and when a force is once above the forts to protect the troops, they should be landed at quarantine from the Gulf side by bringing them through the bayou, and then our forces should move up the river, mutually aiding each other as it can be done to advantage." The attack thus consisted of three combined movements. First, Porter's bombardment; second, Farragut's dash past the forts; third, the landing of Butler's troops. This third feature was now put in execution. Before proceeding up the river, Farragut sent back word that he would leave two gunboats at quarantine to protect the landing.
It is estimated that the annual floods of the Mississippi River bring down to the Mexican Gulf an amount of sand and mud equal, for an average year, to a mass one square mile in area and 268 feet deep. By these annual deposits the river has
1“The amount of silt carried Survey under Humphreys and to the Mexican Gulf by the Mis- Abbot, is about 1-1500th the sissippi, according to the Delta weight of the water, or 1-2900th
built for itself narrow banks, dikes, or levees, ex- CHAP. XV. tending thirty or forty miles into the ocean, so that the waters and marshes of the Gulf, on both sides, approach very near this inclosed river-bed. Farragut's fleet was no sooner well past the forts on the morning of the 24th than Butler proceeded with his transports down the river, out through Pass à l'Outre, the easternmost mouth of the Mississippi, and around eastwardly to Sable Island, twelve miles in rear of Fort St. Philip. Here he trans-shipped three regiments to the gunboat Miami, of lighter draft, in which he was able to proceed to within six miles of the fort. He had also brought with him thirty small boats, into which he again transferred the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts and portions of the Fourth Wisconsin and Twenty-first Indiana, who rowed their boats four and a half miles farther. “At the entrance of Manuel's Canal," says Butler's report, “a mile and a half from the point of landing, rowing became impossible, as well from the narrowness of the canal as the strength of the current, which ran like a mill-race. Through this the boats could only be impelled by dragging Report them singly, with the men up to their waists in 1862. W. R. water.” It required persevering effort and considerable time to make this long circuit. They had started on the 24th; on the 26th they were at Sable
its bulk; equivalent for an average observations made by them, they year to 812,500,000,000,000 estimate the annual amount thus pounds, or a mass one square contributed to the Gulf to be mile in area and 241 feet deep... about 750,000,000 cubic feet
“ Besides the material held in - which would cover a square suspension, as these authors ob- mile 27 feet deep; and this, added serve, the Mississippi pushes to the 241 feet above, makes the along into the Gulf large quanti- total 268 feet.”- Dana, “Manties of earthy matter; and from val of Geology," pp. 648, 649.
Bache, April 27,
Porter, Report, April 30,
CHAP. XV. Island and, during the night of the 27th, 400 men
were sent up to quarantine, where the gunboats Wissahickon and Kineo awaited them. Meanwhile, by a similar circuit, Porter had sent six schooners of his mortar fleet down out of the Southwest pass and round westwardly, through the Gulf and bayous, to the rear of Fort Jackson. As soon as Butler could land more troops he threw a detachment across the river, thus holding both banks against retreat, supply, or reënforcement.
The rebel garrisons of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, though having a complete respite from attack since the passage of the fleet, and though they had to a considerable extent repaired their damage, could entertain from the first little hope of succor or escape.
The Union officers at quarantine, immediately after the action, permitted the seriously wounded of both forts to be placed on board the Confederate steamer McRea and sent to New Orleans under flag of truce. By this means the garrisons received news of the capture of New Orleans, the retirement of General Lovell's army, and the burning of the ironclad Mississippi. While they noted these diminishing chances, they could also see Butler's gunboats, transports, and launches working their way up the bay and bayous above them, and finally landing troops at quarantine. On the 26th Porter again summoned the forts to capitulate, offering liberal terms and pointing out, that though they might hold out a little longer, their surrender was necessarily a mere question of time. Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Higgins, commanding, replied that he had as yet no official information of the surrender of New Orleans and