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[195] New England on account of his health which finally gave him the long-sought opportunity of entering the service, seems always present to his mind. Thus, just after sailing, he writes:—

I never claimed the praise of going to the war from a sense of duty; and yet when I see, as I do here, men who are really leaving all that home has pleasant for them from a real sense of duty, it makes me ashamed almost of the motives which prompted me to come, and at the same time gives me some satisfaction in thinking that, if I am not acting from the same high motives that some others are, I am at least doing the same thing, just as much as if my motives were less personal.

Hooper and another officer were at first left at Ship Island, to inspect and forward the ships and troops of the expedition as they arrived. Probably no one ever found that dreary sandbank a comfortable place of abode, and at this time it afforded little to eat except bread and potatoes. Still he writes:—

I am having a pleasant time, the climate seems very healthy, and the weather is superb. Of course I want to get off as soon as possible, but I am quite contented to take things as they come.

They however remained at Ship Island only about ten days, and were then transferred to New Orleans, where Captain Hooper was assigned to duties in more immediate connection with Headquarters. On December 28th he writes:—

On Christmas day I received an order appointing me to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Major Bell, the President of the Sequestration Commission, (who went home with General Butler,) which separates me at once from the Adjutant-General's office, and gives me an office of my own, and the partial control of an interesting and to me wonderful institution. . . . . It is far from being an unimportant thing in this vicinity, and I find my hands as full of business, and my thinking powers taxed quite as much as I care to have them. In fact, my only anxiety now is lest I should not prove equal to the task assigned me; but the best I can I shall do, and I trust the General will be satisfied. The General tells me this shall certainly not prevent my accompanying him if he takes the field, which I feared until to-night it might.

In a letter written at midnight of December 31st he says:—

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