The Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip
(April 18–28, 1862) was the decisive battle for possession of New Orleans
in the American Civil War
. The two Confederate
forts on the Mississippi River
south of the city were attacked by a Union Navy
fleet. As long as the forts could keep the Federal forces from moving on the city, it was safe, but if they were negated, there were no fall-back positions to impede the enemy advance.
New Orleans, the largest city in the Confederacy, was already under threat of attack from the north when Farragut moved his fleet into the river from the south. The Confederate Navy had already driven off the Union blockade
fleet in the Battle of the Head of Passes
the previous October. Although the menace from upriver was geographically more remote than that from the Gulf of Mexico
, a series of losses in Kentucky and Tennessee had forced the War and Navy Departments in Richmond
to strip the region of much of its defenses. Men and equipment had been withdrawn from the local defenses, so that by mid-April almost nothing remained to the south except the two forts and an assortment of gunboats of questionable worth.Hearn, Capture of New Orleans, 1862,
pp. 117, 122, 148. Duffy, Lincoln's admiral,
pp. 99–100. Without reducing the pressure from the north, (Union) President Abraham Lincoln
set in motion a combined Army-Navy operation to attack from the south. The Union Army
offered 18,000 soldiers, led by the political......