The Mississippi Campaigns:
Battle of New Orleans
David Farragut was faced with a difficult task, when he was ordered, by
Gen. Welles, to "collect what vessels can be spared from the blockade
and proceed up the Mississippi River and reduce the defenses which guard
the approaches to the city."
New Orleans was important to the Union because it was a major exporter of cotton, and it was the largest southern port on the river. The city was protected by the twin forts, St. Phillip and Jackson, which were on the river, south of the city. The land around the city on the Mississippi River delta was very swampy, which made an overland attack on New Orleans nearly impossible.
"even the best of forts could rarely stop ships...from running past them."
After spending five days firing on the forts, causing very little damage, Farragut made a decision to race up the river past St. Phillip and Jackson. His plan was very successful, and on April 24 1862, every ship passed, but one. This battle showed that "even the best of forts could rarely stop ships...from running past them."
Because of his two powerful forts, General Butler of the south had done very little to protect the city of New Orleans, so after passing the forts and cutting off the city from supplies and communication, Farragut had no trouble taking the city on April 29, 1862.
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