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On 8 Jan 1861, just before the start of the U.S. Civil War, Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip were seized from their Federal garrisons by Louisiana forces. Louisiana troops occupied both Fort St. Philip and Fort Jackson until an epic battle with Union Admiral David Farragut's fleet of gunboats in April 1862 at Plaquemines Bend. Farragut's mission was to seize control of the Mississippi and split the Confederacy in two. In April 1862 Farragut's fleet engaged both forts and attempted to destroy them with a six-day bombardment. The bombardment failed to destroy the forts and Farragut was forced to make a run past both forts with 17 wooden ships at 2 AM on 24 Apr 1862. In the ensuing Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 13 of the ships made it past the forts, and Farragut went on to New Orleans which surrendered to him on 29 Apr 1862. Both forts gave a good account of themselves and in the end it was probably the lack of enough cannon that enabled the fleet to get by. Fort Jackson was designed for 93 gun emplacements but had only 69 guns emplaced while Fort St. Philip had only 45 guns. The Union gunboats were able to send a total of 8,100 rounds against both forts. Both forts were surrendered to Union forces on 28 Apr 1862 and then garrisoned by them until the end of the war.

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