Chapter 2: the Port Royal expedition.
In the early part of October, 1861, the steam frigate Wabash
was sent from blockading duty to the harbor of New York
, to fit for service as the flag-ship of a force destined to our Southern coast, for the purpose of capturing and holding some convenient Southern port to serve as a depot for coal and other supplies, for the use of the vessels maintaining the blockade of the many inlets, harbors, and sounds that lie along the coast from the northern limits of South Carolina
to the southern cape of Florida
, over which district, what was known as the South Atlantic blockading squadron held its watch.
The possession of a harbor was essential to maintaining a proper blockade, as coaling in rough water, if not impossible, is at least a slow and difficult operation.
To go around Cape Hatteras
to Hampton Roads
in order to coal, as had been the case, hundreds of miles from the blockaded ports, lessened the effectiveness of the blockade by the absence of a large number of vessels going and coming, and when they arrived out, much of the coal taken in was already exhausted.
On the 10th of October Flag-Officer Samuel Francis Dupont
hoisted his flag on board of the Wabash
, commanded by Commander C. R. P. Rodgers
Every effort was made on the part of the flag-officer
and his staff to make necessary requisitions and get on board the necessary stores and fitments