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could not until then entertain the proposition. But Chap. XV. while the rebel commanders were hesitating, the men composing the garrisons were forming their own conclusions and preparing to act on them. At midnight of April 27 there was a sudden mutiny in Fort Jackson; the insurgents seized the guards, reversed the field-pieces commanding the gates, began spiking the guns, and fired upon officers who went to the parapet to control them. Simultaneously, about half the garrison deserted the fort with 1862. W.k. their arms and surrendered themselves to Butler's pickets.
This state of affairs left the commanders no alternative. On the forenoon of April 28 they sent a flag of truce to Porter, accepting his terms of capitulation, which were duly signed at an interview between the officers on the steamer Harriet Lane that afternoon. While the officers sat together in the cabin an exciting incident took place. The Confederate note of acceptance stated Higgins to that “We have no control over the vessels afloat"; 1862. W.'R. but it was taken for granted that the flags of truce flying from the Union ships and visible to all were a sufficient safeguard. Great was the consternation, therefore, when it was suddenly announced that the Confederate ironclad Louisiana, hitherto anchored above Fort St. Philip, had been set on fire by her commander, abandoned and cut adrift, and was floating down towards the other ships. Porter writes that he said to the Confederate officers: “This is sharp practice, but if you can stand the explosion when it comes, we can. We will go on and finish the capitulation." The Confed- Magazine,
April, 1886, erate officers protested their innocence of the act,
CHAP. XV. and quietly remained. “As the wreck in descend
ing kept close into the Fort St. Philip shore,” reReport, ports Confederate General J. K. Duncan, “the 1861. W. R. chances were taken by the enemy without chang
ing the position of his boats.” Fortunately the Louisiana exploded while abreast Fort St. Philip, and before she had come near enough to cause damage to Porter's ships.
HE way was now clear to New Orleans; and CHAP. XVL
as soon as General Butler could get his transports from the Gulf side round into the river again, he proceeded, after occupying the forts, as rapidly as possible up the river with his troops. On the 1st of May the naval forces under Farragut turned over to him the formal possession of the city, and he continued in command of the Department of the Gulf until the following December. The withdrawal of General Lovell, and the abandonment of Forts Pike and McComb at the entrances to Lake Pontchartrain, left him with no serious campaign immediately on his hands; but the task of governing the city of New Orleans was one which put all his energy and shrewdness into requisition. The supply of provisions had been interrupted by the military operations of the rebels themselves before the coming of Farragut's fleet; a portion of these again were carried away with Lovell's retiring army. When Butler came, starvation was close upon 150,000 people of New Orleans."
1“My efforts to accumulate there were not in the city proprovisions enough in the city to visions enough to sustain the feed the population had proved population for more than eighabortive, and an examination teen days."— Major-General Lovmade a few days previous to the ell, Testimony before a Court of evacuation had satisfied me that Inquiry. W. R. Vol. VI., p. 566.