Friday, May 4, 2012


Unidentified Confederate artilleryman.
Liljenquist Family collection (Library of Congress)

Richmond Daily Dispatch
May 5, 1862

         A private letter from an officer of the garrison at Fort Jackson, [south of  New Orleans on the Mississippi] written on the 23d of April, gives some account of the bombardment, from which it will be seen that the troops were at that time hopeful, in spite of the heavy odds brought against them:

         "The bombardment of this fort is still going on furiously. Up to this time, it is estimated that at least twenty-three thousand shells have been thrown at us, about seven thousand of which have fallen within the main work and the outworks of Fort Jackson. Notwithstanding this, there have been remarkably few casualties — only four men having been killed and twelve wounded, which can only be ascribed to the watchful care of our merciful Father in Heaven.--Our trust is in Him, and we confidently believe that He will give us the victory — Considerable damage has been done to our worse, but very few of our guns have been dismounted, and we can, I think, stand several days more of the terribly hard pounding that the Yanks are now giving us. If the Louisiana and the boats constituting our river fleet only do their duty and co-operate with us, you may look for the discomfiture of the enemy's tremendous naval force. The Yankees have over fifty vessels within three or four miles of us, twenty-one of which are mortar boats. These last named vessels all lie without the range of our heaviest guns, and keep up an uninterrupted fire upon us, their immense shells, weighing 197 pounds each, being thrown with remarkable accuracy. You will have some idea of the precis on of their firing when I tell you that there is scarcely a spot in the fort ten feet square which has not received a visit from the huge yankee pills. Some of these shells are filled with liquid fire and besides being very destructive, emit an unpleasant and almost stifling odor. We all feel here that the fate of New Orleans is depending on our defence of this fort, and you may rest assured that it will not be given up without a most severe struggle. God grant that victory may crown our efforts. General Duncan is doing all that human ingenuity can devise and human energy accomplish to repair the damages done to the fort, and put it in a condition to withstand the furious attack of the enemy, in which he is ably seconded by Lieut. Col. Higgins." 

          The latest intelligence from the forts, published in the New Orleans papers of the 25th, announces that the enemy with a strong force were up to Quarantine. A naval officer telegraphs from that point that seven of our vessels were fired and overpowered, and he believes that everything belonging to us had fallen into the hands of the Federal. The Bulletin expresses a doubt of the report, but subsequent events would seem to have given it confirmation. We direct the attention of the reader to the news received by telegraph, published in another column of this paper.

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