This oil painting by Mauritz Frederik De Haas, created sometime between 1863 and 1867, depicts the culmination of the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, when David G. Farragut led his Union fleet past the two Confederate forts on April 24, 1862. Prior to the battle, Forts Jackson and St. Philip were the major obstacles preventing the Union from capturing New Orleans, since they defended the naval approach to the city on the lower Mississippi. The battle thus was immensely important because Farragut’s success left New Orleans undefended and directly led to its capture.
De Haas beautifully and hauntingly illustrates Farragut’s fleet engaged in conflict during the night with the two powerful forts. The dark color palette, realistic techniques, and striking shading and patterns together bring the battle scene to life. Through these measures and the overall foreboding tone of the work, De Haas excellently illustrates the significance of the battle’s outcome. This painting is truly important not only for its beauty as a piece of art but also because it illustrates a moment that profoundly influenced the course of the Civil War and the history of New Orleans, by way of the Union occupation of the city that followed.
Citation 1: 
between 1863 and 1867; oil on canvas
Citation 2: 
by Mauritz Frederik De Haas
Accession #: 
George Weber, student, Tulane University