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[466] invited did not attempt to profit by the opportunity thus afforded them, but continued to steal into and out of that harbor during the darkest nights and in the most clandestine, insidious manner. None of our vessels were sunk or lost — the Mercedita having been deserted by her captors, who never put a man on board-being clearly no prize. She had but 3 men killed and 4 wounded; the Keystone had 20 killed--mainly by scalding — and 20 wounded.

Gen. Foster, commanding the 18th corps in North Carolina, having been ordered to South Carolina, to cooperate with Com. Dupont in an attack on Charleston, steamed1 from Beaufort, N. C., with 12,000 excellent troops, landing them at Hilton Head; whence — finding Com. Dupont not yet ready — he ran up to Fortress Monroe in quest of siege-guns. Gen. Hunter--to whom Foster's advent had been a complete surprise-thereupon took command of Foster's men, broke up his corps organization, and — this exercise of authority being demurred to — ordered Foster's staff out of his department. Foster thereupon obtained authority from Gen. Halleck to return to his own department, leaving his 12,000 men to serve as a reenforcement to Gen. Hunter; under whose auspices, in conjunction with Com. Dupont, the contemplated attack was now to be made. Halleck's sending of Foster into Hunter's department without notice to the latter has not been explained.

Our preparations for this attack were made, so far as possible, at Hilton Head: the iron-clads, so fast as ready, slipping quietly, one by one, to their appointed rendezvous in the mouth of the North Edisto river, half way to Charleston harbor; where they were all finally assembled,2 awaiting the conditions of wind and tide deemed most favorable. A calm, clear night,3 following a full moon, proffered the awaited conjuncture; and Com. Dupont steamed4 in full force up to the harbor bar; shifting there his pennant from the gunboat James Adger to the stately, mailed “Ironsides,” in which he proposed to direct and share in the bombardment. By 9 A. M. next day, his fleet had all crossed the bar, and was in line along the east shore of Morris island, heading toward the most formidable array of rifled great guns that had ever yet tested the defensive resources of naval warfare.

The iron-clads thus pitted against the tremendous ordnance of Fort Sumter and her satellites were the following:

1. Weehawken, Capt. John Rodgers;

2. Passaic, Capt. Percival Drayton;

3. Montauk, Com'r John L. Worden;

4. Patapsco, Com'r Daniel Ammen;

5. New Ironsides, Com'r Thos. Turner;

6. Catskill, Com'r Geo. W. Rodgers;

7. Nantucket, Com'r Donald M. Fairfax;

8. Nahant, Com'r John Downes;

9. Keokuk, Lt.-Com'r Alex. C. Rhind;

with the gunboats Canandaigua, Unadilla, Housatonic, Wissahickon, and Huron in reserve, below the bar, ready to support the iron-clads should they attack the batteries on Morris island.

The day was bright, bland, and warm — like one of the finest of the later days of a Northern May — the air of midday flashing with the wings of countless butterflies — though a slight haze or smoke in the morning so obscured remoter objects that the landmarks relied on to give bearings

1 Feb. 2.

2 April 3.

3 April 5.

4 April 6.

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