Join us on Friday, July 17 at 12 p.m. for a Live Lecture with author and historian John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center! Live from his home in Hampton, Virginia, John will give a 30-minute presentation about the capture of the largest Confederate city that proved to be a major turning point in the Civil War. Viewers are welcome to send him any comments or questions during the presentation, and John will answer them following his talk.
About this presentation: New Orleans was the largest city in the Confederacy and was defended by two forts situated 75 miles downstream. Forts St. Philip and Jackson featured 114 cannons and an iron defensive chain to block ships from reaching the forts. The supporting Confederate naval forces consisted of several wooden gunboats and the ironclads CSS Manassas and Louisiana. Another ironclad, CSS Mississippi, was still under construction in New Orleans when the Federal fleet attacked the city’s defenses. The Union assault began with Flag Officer David Glasgow Farragut’s foster brother, David Dixon Porter, bombarding the forts with his flotilla of mortar boats. The assault lasted five days. Despite suffering considerable damage, the forts did not surrender. Farragut, in his flagship USS Hartford, decided to run his 17-ship squadron past the forts in the early morning hours of April 24, 1862. The Confederates were unable to stop Farragut’s advance and two days later the city was captured. The loss of New Orleans to the Confederacy was devastating. Not only was the city an important industrial center, but was key to controlling the Mississippi River. The loss of New Orleans helped to seal the fate of the Confederacy.
Image credit: The Splendid Naval Triumph on the Mississippi, April 24th, 1862. Lithograph published by Currier & Ives, 1862. Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command #NH76369-KN.