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[427] batteries in front of this stronghold of the rebels. Commending you and all who compose your command to the care and protection of God, who rules the world and commands all things, I am, very respectfully,

A. H. Foote, Flag-Officer. Commander H. Walke, Commanding Carondelet.
P. S.--Should you meet with disaster, you will, as a last resort, destroy the steam machinery and, if possible, escape, set fire to your gunboat or sink her, and prevent her falling into the hands of the rebels.

A. H. F.

Last night was appointed by Capt. Walke for the performance of the above order. Yesterday morning preparations began on the Carondelet. Planks from the wreck of an old barge were brought aboard, with which the deck of the boat was covered to resist plunging shot; all surplus chains were coiled over the most vulnerable parts of the boat; an eleven-inch hawser was wound around the pilot-house as high up as the windows, the hammock-nettings were well packed with hammocks; gun-carriages were taken apart and cord-wood was brought up from the hold for the purpose of constructing barriers about the boilers, and many other minor preparations were made during the day to fit the vessel, so far as possible, for the ordeal through which she was to pass.

The condition of the weather was anxiously looked forward to, and every perceptible change in the atmosphere or wind observed, and the consequences carefully calculated, as they were to bear upon the success or defeat of the enterprise. Late in the day there was every prospect of a clear, moonlight night, something very undesirable, as may be inferred from the foregoing order, and that which would have given the enemy timely notice of our approach, and enable him to serve his guns with as much accuracy as in daylight. Under these circumstances, it was concluded to wait until the moon had gone down, and then, be the auspices what they might, attempt the execution of a project, the abandonment of which would have been a great disappointment after the preliminaries had attained such a degree of maturity.

At sundown, the indications grew more favorable; the atmosphere became suddenly hazy, the wind veered to the north-west, and a set of black clouds, rapidly increasing in width, bordering the horizon from north to west, strongly evidenced an approaching storm.

The way the batteries were to be passed was as follows: Com. Foote's injunctions concerning quietness and suppression of all lights aboard to run were to be strictly observed, the guns were run back, ports closed, the sailors armed cap-a-pie with pistols, cutlasses, boarding-pikes, and muskets. Hand-grenades had been provided and the hot-water hose were connected with the boilers, and held in readiness to drench with scalding water those who might attempt to board the boat and overcome the crew. The engineer had orders to cut the cold water supply and the injector-pipes, and sink the boat if it became liable to fall into the enemy's hands. This, in case of necessity, would have been resorted to instead of burning the vessel, for it would not only have given to those aboard better means of escape, but averted the terrible loss of life that inevitably would have resulted from the firing of the boat and the explosion of her magazines.

At dusk twenty sharpshooters, company H, Forty--second Illinois, commanded by Captain Hollensteine, dropped down in cutters from the transports, came aboard of the Carondelet, were mustered on deck, inspected, received their orders — which were to cooperate with the crew in repelling boarders — and then taken to the gun-deck, there to remain until called upon, observing the strictest silence in the mean time.

At eight o'clock the boat left her anchorage, and passed up the shore for a mile, where, partly concealed between some of our transports, was a barge containing coal and baled hay. This was immediately made fast to the port side — it being the part to be chiefly exposed to the enemy's batteries. The hay had been placed in layers upon the wrong side of the barge — the outer one--and the crew was soon employed shifting it where it would afford greater protection, and at the same time enable the gunboat to control it much easier. One course of bales was laid over the casemates astern, as they were to be presented to the enemy for a long time after passing the batteries, and liable to receive all the shots sent after us, without being iron-plated or able to resist heavy cannon-balls. The barge and the hay came up to the top of the broadside port-holes, and would have been of much service, had the batteries to be passed been on a parallel with the gunboat, but such was not the case here, for both on the mainland and head of the Island they stand upon a bank twenty or thirty feet high, and in firing into a passing boat it becomes necessary, as was subsequently demonstrated, for them to depress their guns, in which event the barge alongside was an imperfect shield.

William R. Hoel, First Master of the Cincinnati, a gentleman of twenty-one years experience on the Mississippi, and whom, we may parenthetically state, is now making his one hundred and ninety-fourth trip to New-Orleans, came aboard of the Carondelet at nine A. M., and relieved Richard M. Wade, the first master of the boat. A consultation was immediately held with the pilots, in which the course of the channel and the location of bars were taken into consideration. It had been previously determined down on the Missouri side of the island; and to add to the practicability of this, last Thursday afternoon the fleet shelled the rebel floating battery, for the purpose of driving it from the command it held over that channel.

At ten o'clock the moon had gone down; the storm which had been thickening and gathering for several hours now about to burst upon us, and greatly encouraged by so opportune a period

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