The Opening of the Lower Mississippi. 571
to accept the surrender of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which had white flags in answer to them. That the Louisiana could not move from where she was moored to the bank ; nor could she fire on the boats with flags of truce flying ; and in a short time the forts would be in the hands of the enemy, and the Louisiana between them. It was then unanimously determined in a council of the officers to destroy the Louisiana, as it was the only course left to prevent her from falling into the hands of the enemy.
This destruction was accordingly effected under the direction and supervision of Commander Mitchell, in an orderly and deliberate manner, and every precaution was taken to insure the safety of his men.
And the court is of the opinion, from all the evidence adduced, that Commander Mitchell did all in his power to sustain the honor of the flag, and to prevent the enemy from ascending the Mississippi river ; and that his conduct and bearing throughout the period of his service while in command of the vessels of the navy, for the defence of the Mississippi river, under the trying and embarrassing circumstances under which he was placed, was all that could be ex- pected by the country and the naval service of a capable and gallant
S. BARRON, Flag Officer,
President of the Court. GEORGE LEE BRENT, Recorder.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, March xyth, 1863
Proceedings and finding approved. Office of Orders and Detail will dissolve the Court.
g R Secretary of the Navy.
CONFEDERATE STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT, OFFICE CF ORDERS AND DETAIL,
RICHMOND, March i8th, 1863.
Flag-Officer, S. BARRON, Commanding, &c.,
SIR -The Naval Court of Inquiry on Commander Mitchell, of which you are the presiding officer, is hereby dissolve*