Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Orleans

Formidable Rebel Preparations for Resistance

A correspondent of the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, writing from New Orleans, says:

The Mississippi is fortified so as to be impassible for any hostile fleet or flotilla. Forts Jackson and St. Philip are armed with 175 heavy guns (68 pounders, by Barkley Britain, and received from England). The navigation of the river is stopped by a dam of about a quarter of a mile from the above forts. No flotilla on earth can force that dam in less than two hours, during which it would be within short and cross range of 170 guns of the largest caliber, many of which would be served with red hot shot, numerous furnaces for which have been erected in every fort and every battery.

In a day or two we shall have ready two iron cased floating batteries. The plates are four and a half inches thick, of the best hammered iron, received from England and France. Each iron cased battery will mount twenty 68-pounders, placed so as to skim the water, and striking the enemy’s hull between wind and water. We have an abundant supply of incendiary shells, cupola furnaces for molten iron, Congreve rockets and fireships.

Between New Orleans and the forts there is a constant succession of earthworks. 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 Cypsiere.

In Forts St. Philip and Jackson there are 3,000 men, of whom a goodly portion are experienced artillerymen and gunners who have served in the navy.

At New Orleans itself, we have 32,000 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. Gen. Mansfield Lovell and Brig. Gen. Ruggles. For Commodore we have old Hollins, a Nelson in his way.

We are ready to give the Yankees a hot reception when they come. Around me all are mad excitement and rage. Our only fear is that the Northern invaders may not appear. We have made such extensive preparations to receive them that it were vexatious if their invincible armada escapes the fate we have in store for it.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, April 22, 1862, p. 2

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