New Orleans

New 8/13/05

Western ACW Books

Charles L. Dufour

NEW 8/13/05 Dufour's book remains the best account of the fall of New Orleans in April 1862 to Admiral David Farragut's Western Gulf Blockading Squadron and (after the fact) troops from Gen. Ben Butler's Department of the Gulf. This is surprising considering the book was initially published in 1960. Dufour does an excellent job describing the preparation (more accurately the lack of preparation) for the defense of New Orleans from the declaration of secession to the eventual fall of the South's greatest city. He also describes the preparations in the North to subdue New Orleans, from the Department of the Navy to David Porter's mortar fleet to the naming of David Farragut to command the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron which took the city. Dufour has a very readable style and I was able to finish the book over several evenings. The book contains 354 pages of text, with the bibliography, notes and index filling the remainder of the 427 pages. Scanning through Dufour's sources, he has made good use of primary records in the form of diaries, newspaper accounts, and especially of the correspondence between the Confederate Government in Richmond and Gen. Mansfield Lovell, the commander at New Orleans. The lack of maps is a major flaw though, IMHO. The book contains only one map of the area around the two forts guarding the city (75 miles south), and it is not a very good one. You will want to have other maps of the area present when reading the book to have a proper grasp of the relationship of various places to one another. And the last shortcoming is the lack of any kind of Order of Battle. Dufour does give the number of guns in Fort Jackson, Fort St. Philip, and some of the ships in the text itself, but he does not go into any kind of detail. 427 pp., 1 map

Complete Review HERE.