required for the vessels of war, and for other vessels purchased for war purposes, few of which were adapted to carrying heavy batteries and to withstand the buffetings of rough seas, but they were the best to be had, and as a whole served the required purpose.
This heterogeneous fleet of purchased vessels, ferry-boats, and freight steamers of small size, were despatched to Hampton Roads
as soon as fitted, and the flag-ship, accompanied by the vessels of war proper, including four gunboats built on contract for completion in ninety days, left for the same destination on the afternoon of the 17th and arrived the day following, exercising at target practice during the passage.
The Xi-inch pivot guns on board of the gunboats were found handy and effective within their range.
at that time was crowded with vessels of war, transports, and coaling schooners.
Those destined for the command of Flag-Officer Dupont
were supplied with stores and coal as soon as possible, as were also the numerous steam transports carrying some 12,000 men, under the command of General T. W. Sherman
, with provisions and army outfits of all kinds.
A steamer called the Governor
, suitable for inland waters rather than to the sea, having on board a battalion of marines numbering 600, under the command of Major John G. Reynolds
, was also attached to the expedition.
After receiving sealed orders as' to destination—to be opened only in the event of separation—this motley force, numbering fifty vessels, steamed out of Hampton Roads
on the morning of the 29th of October.
There was considerable delay in forming a double echelon line outside of Cape Henry
, and then the fleet proceeded slowly toward Cape Hatteras
The day previous to this force leaving, the flag-officer
had despatched twenty-five coal-laden schooners relieved in part of their cargoes, under convoy of the sail sloop