The largest city of the Confederacy, New Orleans also controlled all shipment from the Mississippi and into the Mississppi. Even a cursory look at a map would indicate that New Orleans was a crucial city for the Confederacy and a crucial target for the Union. In early 1862 the Union assembled a force to take this prize: 18,000 soldiers commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler, and a naval armada under Flag Captain David G. Farragut, 6o years old, but possessed of energy that few men in their twenties possess, and a veteran of over half a century of service in the Navy.
In Mid-March Farragut began moving his fleet into the mouth of the Mississippi. The approach to New Orleans up the Mississippi was guarded by two Confederate forts: Jackson on the west bank and Saint Philip on the east bank. The Confederate defenses were aided on the river by three ironclads: the CSS Manassas, the CSS Mississippi, and the CSS Louisiana, backed up by an improvised fleet of converted merchant vessels, gunboats and rams, none of which stood any chance against the might of the Union fleet. If Farragut’s force was going to be stopped, it would have to be by the forts.
From April 18-April 23 the forts were bombarded by 26 mortar schooners under the command of Farragut’s foster brother Captain David Porter, with whom Farragut had an uneasy relationship. Porter had used his influence in Washington to require Farragut to give him the chance to reduce the forts by bombardment. Farragut was sceptical and he was right. Although the bombardment was fierce, the forts remained in action. On the 24th, Farragut successfully had his ships run past the forts, destroying the Confederate fleet in the process. Almost defenseless New Orleans surrendered to the fleet after three days of negotiation on April 29. Butler’s army took the forts bloodlessly on the 29th, aided by a mutiny of the Confederate troops at Fort Jackson. The richest strategic prize of the War fell to the Union swiftly, and with amazingly few casualties. Farragut was promoted to Rear Admiral for this feat, the first admiral in US history. The Union took a large step to victory with the fall of the Crescent City. Continue reading
Today marks the 5th anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
Many other commenters, far more versed in statistics and politics, will have plenty to say about the governmental failures in the disaster and the progress New Orleans has made in rebuilding. These are all very worthwhile, but as someone who lived in the New Orleans area before the storm, it’s not the story I think that’s most worth telling nor is it the one I’m most equipped to tell. While the government and insurance companies both reared their ugly and greedy heads in the aftermath, there’s only so much good one gets out of rehashing old arguments and injuries. I want to remember the good that God has done for me and the city from this storm.
President-Elect Obama used the word audacity a lot in his rise to the presidency but how much audacity does it take to be a liberal state senator, representing a liberal district, in a liberal state? True audacity is going against the odds and against the consensus on pundits. That is exactly what Joseph Cao did in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Cao is a devout Catholic Republican Vietnamese immigrant in an overwhelmingly African American and Democrat congressional district. Although his opponent is undoubtably corrupt politician facing serious indictments, he was still not given a chance at winning. Unfortunately, voters, especially it seems African American voters, often overlook these flaws in the name of some sort of racial solidarity. Nevertheless, Cao won! Let’s pray that he can help rebuild the wonderful city of New Orleans and provide true opportunity for its amazing people. Cao, like Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, is already getting attention from Republican leadership as the future of the party.
Although Cao probably hasn’t even had a chance to organize his staff, yesterday I heard Al Sharpton say that he would be working to “fix” this situation. Seems for Sharpton and his ilk working with a person who cares about the district and its people is trumped by partisan and racial politics.