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It is with no ordinary feelings of pleasure that the department learns of the safe passage of that valuable squadron, threatened as it was with inevitable capture or destruction, and congratulates you and your command that the fleet which had borne such a conspicuous part in many of the great events of the war has been spared to the country for future usefulness and renown.

You will tender the thanks of the department to the officers and men of the army for the cheerful aid given you in this great emergency, without which the squadron would unavoidably have fallen into the hands of the rebels or been destroyed. While regretting the loss of the steamers Signal and Covington, and lamenting for the brave men who fell in the engagement with the enemy, the department takes great pleasure in expressing its admiration of the gallant manner in which those vessels were defended, and has reason to believe that the officers and men did their whole duty nobly and faithfully.

Very respectfully,

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy. Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Cairo, III.

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