New Orleans was vital to control of the Mississippi River, and Union Flag Officer David Glasgow Farragut was determined to capture it. But the approaches to the city were guarded by a Confederate flotilla and by a pair of formidable forts mounting 100 guns. Farragut's attacking force consisted of 21 schooners that had been converted into mortar boats, a squadron of warships and gunboats led by Farragut himself in the steam sloop Hartford, and a fleet of transports carrying 13,000 soldiers.
Lest We Forget: 'A terrible storm of shot and shell . . .'
By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)