April 29, 1862. All aboard and steamed up the river. Beautiful views of orange groves. Negroes on the banks waving bandannas. Arrived at New Orleans May 1. Disembarked May 2 and quartered in the Odd Fellows' Hall and Lafayette Square near by. I was so weak I did not go ahead with the regiment, but reported later. I went to the top of the building to a hall used for the sick; lay on the floor over night. The next morning made up my mind I must get out of there or I should die, so I crawled down; bought a milk punch, which braced me. I continued to use this medicine, and got well, after which, aside from my duties, I enjoyed my stay in the city very much.
From a Letter:
Mississippi River, Opposite Fort Jackson, April 29, 1862.
When I last wrote you found me at the head of the Passes awaiting the reduction of the Forts. Yesterday they surrendered and a steamer took us in tow the same afternoon and we arrived at the Forts at 6 o'clock. Our regiment and the 12th Connecticut came up the river, while the remainder went around in the bay on the east side to cut off retreat. There was a mutiny at Fort Jackson and two hundred and fifty, being" loyal, deserted. They were cut off by our troops, as I have indicated. Fort Jackson is built of brick and is surrounded by a moat. As the Fort is situated on low ground, it can be flooded inside. Fort Philip consists of earthworks, thrown up along the river. Our fleet cut the chain and passed up, through, under heavy fire. They took Fort Peru, farther up, killing all, so the sailors had to go ashore to bury the dead. To-day we were landing for both Forts, when General Butler came down the river and said all must re-embark and sail for New Orleans immediately. Hurrah! The fact is, the soldiers are impressed into the service and are held by traitorous officers. The commander of the Fort, named Colonel Duncan, escaped. The garrison was made up of soldiers from the Irish and Italians, not many true Yankees. After they had surrendered the officers blew up a floating battery, and it is rumored they will be hanged for doing that. The soldiers say the officers, when they were in action, stood over them with loaded revolvers and would shoot them if they did not fire. It is very warm here and I intend to put up at the St. Charles Hotel, ana will drink your health. New Orleans must be ours! Hurrah! I am well and in good Spirits. Plenty of alligators. I have seen the papers of March 30; later than that, I know nothing. I hope the army of the North are going on, that we may meet them. Our shells did good execution on the Forts, where they fought bravely. We lost one boat going up, when the chain was cut. Hoping my next will be from New Orleans, I am
2d Lieut. Elliot:
Weather fine warm and very pleasant but a tremendous heavy dew. The worst I ever saw wet my blanket way through
Farley and No. America came up and anchored opposite the Forts. we lost a man overboard from the No. America Boats went out but could not save him. when a man once falls overboard in this river he is lost and no power can save him the current is about 5 knots per hour.
Met [---] Metcalfs brother here a prisoner of war he has lived south some 15 years and is a bitter Secessionist curses Mass. and the Northern Abolitionist says Mass. is a d-d Abolition State and I think about the same. but thank God I never voted anything but a through Democratic ticket and am not ashamed of it.
Capt Shipley is command of Fort Jackson quite an honor for Phalanx. Capt Manning Battery with us and one squadron of Calvary without horses with us Lt. Perkins is in Command.We find the Fort mounted 71 Guns captured about 500 stand of arms in this Fort do not know what is in the other one. Everything is in a most dirty condition. I can not see how white men could live there it is 6 or 8 inches deep in Stagnate water in some places. Commenced taking inventory of Stock. but are ordered away to New Orleans which is said to have surrendered to Commodore Farragut. the 26 Mass Vols. are to have command of Quarantine and the two Forts. and we are going on to the Crescent City. General Butler came down and went into the Fort as we were leaving. 5 O Clock P.M. I got a letter for John to day but none for me.
Corpl. B. B. Smith:
Fine morn. we are on our way up the
River. a member off Co K was drowned
This AM. we have got orders to proced
Up to N Orleans. dropt anchor off Quart
To leave provisions for our troops.
There is about 200 prisoners there
The QWF[?] has passed us with the
12th Conn. it is very slow going up
The river the current runs so swift