countries believed that it would be, some naval base must be established and held permanently south of Hampton Roads
, and even below Cape Hatteras
, if possible.
This was the report of the board of officers that had been commissioned to draw plans for the furtherance of the blockade, and whose members consisted of Captain Samuel F. Du Pont
and Captain Charles H. Davis
, of the navy; Alexander D. Bache
, of the coast survey, and Major John G. Barnard
, of the army.
From their report, the Navy Department had organized and fitted out a squadron under the command of Flag-Officer Silas H. Stringham
, which sailed under sealed orders on the 26th of August, 1861.
It was composed of the Minnesota
(flagship) under command of Captain G. J. Van Brunt
; the Wabash
, under command of Captain Samuel Mercer
; the Monticello
, the Susquehanna
, the Pawnee
, the Harriet Lane
, and the Cumberland
. In addition there were the chartered transport steamers Adelaide
and George Peabody
, and the ocean-going tug Fanny
These vessels had in tow a number of schooners and surf-boats to be used in landing a small body of troops, less than a thousand in number, that accompanied the expedition.
The land force was under command of Major-General Benjamin F. Butler
It was soon known that the destination of the fleet was Hatteras Island
, where Forts Clark
and Hatteras were situated, commanding the approach to Hatteras Inlet.
This was the first expedition of the navy in the Civil War
, and a most important experiment, in that it was proposed to engage well-mounted batteries on shore with the broadsides of wooden vessels; but risks had to be taken.
On the morning of August 27th, the squadron was off Cape Hatteras
, and preparations were soon made for the landing of the troops.
There was a fresh wind blowing from the south and a heavy surf was rolling up on the shore.
On the morning of the following day, the troops prepared to disembark, and the Pawnee, Monticello
, and Harriet Lane