Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Battle For New Orleans

How large was Farragut’s fleet?

Farragut had more than twenty sloops and schooners and almost as many bomb ketches (the bomb vessels were commanded by his foster brother, Captain David Dixon Porter). In addition, there were transport vessels carrying 15,000 soldiers led by Major-General Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts. If not the largest American armada, it certainly came close.

Farragut was well aware of the difficulties he would encounter. The Confederates had reinforced the forts seventy miles below New Orleans and collected a veritable fleet of steamboats, swiftly turned into vessels of war. On the land side, however, the Union enjoyed an advantage of almost five-to-one because many of New Orleans’ defenders had been siphoned off to assist with the effort made at Shiloh.


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