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Farragut wrote home a letter in which are found the following simple words that express well his own mental attitude toward the task that lay before him, that was, all things considered, the most important and the most daring feat of all the war.

“I have now attained,” he writes, “what I have been looking for all my life — a flag — and, having attained it, all that is necessary to complete the scene is a victory. If I die in the attempt it will only be what every officer has to expect. He who dies in doing his duty to his country, and at peace with his God, has played out the drama of life to the best advantage.”

Eighteen thousand troops had been sent under the command of General Benjamin F. Butler to the Gulf to cooperate with the fleet, and they also rendezvoused at Ship Island. Preparations were soon almost completed for the entry into the delta of the Mississippi. “The great man in our country must not only plan but execute,” he wrote. “Success is the only thing listened to in this war, and I know that I must sink or swim by that rule.” A few days later he makes a comment that is replete with confidence: “Men are easily elated or depressed by victory, but as to being prepared for defeat I certainly am not. Any man who is prepared for defeat would be half defeated before he commenced. I hope for success; shall do all in my power to secure it, and trust to God for the rest.”

The squadron under Farragut's command, as finally arranged between himself and McKean, consisted of:

Screw sloops: Hartford, twenty-four guns,1 Flag-Officer David G. Farragut, Fleet-Captain Henry H. Bell, Commander Richard Wainwright; Pensacola, twenty-three guns,

1 The statistics here given as to the guns of Farragut's squadron do not include howitzers or the guns removed from the steam frigate Colorado. a member of the squadron, which on account of her draft was unable to cross the bar. Nineteen guns and one howitzer were removed from the Colorado and distributed among the fleet. The Hartford received Flag-Officer two guns, the Iroquois two, the Miami one, and the Mississippi fourteen. The Iroquois also received one gun from the army, not included here.

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David Glasgow Farragut (4)
Richard Wainwright (1)
W. W. McKean (1)
Benjamin F. Butler (1)
Henry H. Bell (1)
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