Reports from New Orleans (April 28, 1862)

(The Charleston Mercury) MOBILE, April 26, 1862  – A dispatch, just received from Jackson, Mississippi, says: ‘Thirteen of the enemy gunboats have anchored in the river opposite the city of New Orleans . A proposition made by the Confederates to evacuate the place is now pending. Various exciting rumors are afloat. The foregoing, however, is reliable. As telegraphic communication with New Orleans is closed, the above information must have been brought to Jackson by railroad.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Later and Official:

Map showing the defenses of the Mississippi below New Orleans and Farragut's attack on April 24, 1862

Map showing the defenses of the Mississippi below New Orleans and Farragut’s attack on April 24, 1862

RICHMOND, April 27. – Official dispatches received this morning, state that the enemy fleet had approached New Orleans, and demanded the surrender of the city. General Lovell refused to surrender, but evacuated the city with his forces, falling back to Camp Moore, on the New Orleans, Great Northern and Jackson Railroad. Before leaving, however, he destroyed the cotton and all the public property which he was unable to remove, while the boats were coming up to the city. The new and powerful iron-clad steamer Mississippi (unfinished), was burned to prevent her from falling into the hands of the enemy. The dispatches make no mention of the iron-clad steamer Louisiana.

In the above dispatches, our readers have all the intelligence of the fall of New Orleans that the Government, in pursuance of its uniform policy of reticence in regard to our disasters, has suffered to reach us over the wires.

We have gathered, however, from other sources than the telegraph, some information of an interesting character, concerning the recent events below the Crescent City, and we give this information as we have obtained it, without vouching for its accuracy:

On Saturday evening Commodore Hollins passed through Columbia en route for Richmond. We are informed that he expressed amazement at the news from New Orleans . He stated that there were 100 heavy guns in position on the levee, or river bank, between Fort Jackson and the city; that the Louisiana was ready, waiting to encounter any gunboats that might pass the forts and batteries; that numerous parties,’composed of the most active and resolute men, were organized to board and take the enemy vessels at all hazards; and that the Mississippi – the consort of the Virginia – although still unfinished, could, if necessary, be brought into action. In view of all these circumstances, we are told that Commodore Hollins could not understand, or credit the statement that the city had succumbed.

For ourselves, without being able to explain the circumstances of this sudden reverse, we fear that the news is too true. The Richmond papers give the official statement that the Louisiana went down the river on Monday last. It is certain that private dispatches have been received in Richmond to the effect that she had encountered some of the enemy gunboats, armed with heavy rifled guns, and that, after a brief contest, she was sunk. This is probably the key to the mystery. The Louisiana, we believe, was a merchant steamer, converted into a war steamer, and it is likely that her timbers were unable to support her iron armor in withstanding the shock of rifled artillery. It seems impossible that the enemy gunboats could have gained the mastery of the river unless the Louisiana was first either disabled, captured or destroyed. And we think that she was destroyed.

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