Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fall Of New Orleans

We are at last authoritatively informed that this large and flourishing commercial emporium of the South has fallen into the hands of the Yankee vandals, who by means of gunboats and hay bales, accomplish on water what they can never do my land.  We have thus far received very brief particulars, but they are enough to satisfy us that the city has been evacuated by our troops, and is now in possession of the enemy.

The gunboats succeeded in passing the forts, distant some sixty miles below New Orleans, at an early hour Thursday morning, before or just about day dawn.  We hear that they were completely enveloped in bales of hay, the bales being first saturated with water, and thus proving an effectual barrier to both hot and solid shot.

As soon as it was ascertained that the boats had passed the forts, the excitement in the city naturally became intense, but we are pleased to hear that General Lovell, who was in command, possessed complete control over his troops, and caused [all] his orders to be promptly executed.

All the government stores were removed, as was also the ammunition.  What little cotton and sugar remained were destroyed – the former by application of the torch, and the latter by the waters of the Mississippi.  All the bullion in the banks was secured, and on Friday night, Gen. Lovell, at the head of his army, marched out carrying all the small arms.

With the enemy’s gunboats lying directly in range the defense of New Orleans was of course out of the question.  Such batteries as had been erected were constructed with reference to the approach of the enemy by the river.  In regard to the iron clad steamers about which we have heard so much, and which are so confidently relied upon to destroy the piratical craft of the enemy, should they succeed in passing forts we have many rumors, but nothing entirely reliable.  It is said that the Mississippi was on the stocks, in an unfinished condition.  She had not been launched, nor had any attempt been made to launch her.  We have good reason to believe that she was entirely destroyed before our troops left.

The Louisiana, mounting twenty two guns, is said to have been sunk by the heavy steel pointed conical shots of the enemy’s guns.  It is also stated that she proved too heavy to be easily managed.  Her sides were perpendicular – not angular like the Virginia – and therefore far less capable of resisting the terrible fire of the enemy.  As to the Lady Polk, the Manassas and other iron clads which have been at New Orleans, we know nothing.  Rumor assigns them a position near Fort Pillow, where of course they could not have rendered any service in the defense of New Orleans.

It is useless to disguise the fact that the fall of New Orleans is a severe blow, but we do not consider it at all irreparable, as some faint-hearted croakers would endeavor to make us believe.  It is an utter impossibility to defend any city after the enemy has reached it with his formidable gunboats.  Our battles with the enemy have to be fought in the interior, where, by help of God, we hope to continue to thrash him.  East of the Mississippi we have a country larger than any upon the European continent, save Russia, and here we can never be subdued.  But it will not do for any energy to be now relaxed, or for any man who is capable of bearing arms to stay at home.  All must lend a helping hand, and a bold, decisive stroke may push the war into the enemy’s country, and cause him to leave quickly every foot of Southern territory he now holds.  In this way, and this only, can the war be now speedily brought to a close. – {Petersburgh Express, April 28

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 17, 1862, p. 1

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