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[216] spared from the West Gulf Squadron without impairing its necessary efficiency.

The condition of the health of Admiral Farragut did not permit his acceptance of the command, and on the 22d of the same month Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter was detached from the command of the Mississippi Squadron, and directed to proceed to Beaufort, N. C., and relieve Acting RearAdmi-ral S. P. Lee in command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

On the 28th of October the Secretary of the Navy sent to President Lincoln a memorandum of the following import: The President was aware that because of the shoal water at the mouth of Cape Fear River, a purely naval attack could not be made against Wilmington. Two months prior, an attack had been arranged to be made on October 1st, postponed to the 15th; the naval force was ready, and at the time of writing, ‘one hundred and fifty vessels of war now from the North Atlantic Squadron.. . . The detention of so many vessels from blockade and cruising duty is a most serious injury to the public service; and if the expedition cannot go forward for want of troops, I desire to be notified, so that the ships may be relieved and dispersed for other service.’

The tone of the above indicates potential influences, either to further delay the expedition or cause its abandonment. The vessels, for the most part of the largest size and heaviest batteries, were yet north of Cape Hatteras; those that could enter Beaufort Harbor were there, and the smaller ones actually in face of the entrances, blockading. They all, however, found their way to the outer anchorage off Beaufort, and there remained awaiting a detachment of troops to co-operate in the taking of Fort Fisher.

In composition the force was as extraordinary as was ever

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