the first object of our attentions; but they must be equally well trained for stopping shot-holes and extinguishing fire. Hot and cold shot will, no doubt, be freely dealt to us, and there must be stout hearts and quick hands to extinguish the one and stop the holes of the other. I shall expect the most prompt attention to signals and verbal orders, either from myself or the captain of the fleet, who, it will be understood, in all cases acts by my authority.On the 20th of April, Farragut had held a council of his officers in which he expressed the opinion that whatever had to be done would have to be done quickly, as the mortar flotilla that was keeping up a constant bombardment of Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip was expending shells and ammunitions at a terrific rate. There had been no attempt made to sever the heavy chains that, supported by hulks, crossed almost from one shore to the other opposite Fort Jackson. Farragut had wisely concluded that it and the obstructions were best left alone until immediately before the attempt to run the forts should be made. They really acted as a check on the Confederates themselves, preventing them from making an offensive attack or sending down the numerous fire-rafts that Farragut knew were kept in readiness. There was one thing that bothered the officers of the fleet more than it did the man upon whose shoulders the whole responsibility rested, and this was the presence in the river of the two powerful iron-clad rams, the Mississippi and the Louisiana. Had it been known that the former was only about two-thirds completed, and that the Louisiana, although her armament had been placed on board of her, was nothing more than a powerful floating battery with such insufficient motive-power that she was unable to leave her moorings, the fears of many would have been allayed. The strength of these vessels, and also of the smaller ram, Manassas, had been greatly exaggerated, but the moral effect of their presence had to be taken into account. Farragut had made up his mind that if there was any ramming to be done he intended to do his share of it, even with his
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