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Of the same date is the following unofficial letter from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy: ‘Matters are at a standstill on the Mississippi River, and the President was with difficulty restrained from sending off Hunter and all the ironclads directly to New Orleans, the opening of the Mississippi being the principal object to be obtained. It is, however, arranged, as you will see by to-day's order, that you are to send all the ironclads that survive the attack upon Charleston immediately to New Orleans, reserving for your squadron only two. We must abandon all other operations on the coast where ironclads are necessary to a future time. We cannot clear the Mississippi River without ironclads, and as all the supplies come down the Red River, that stretch of the river must be in our possession. This plan has been agreed upon after mature consideration, and seems to be imperative.’

On the night after the attack officers on General Hunter's staff were on board of the Ironsides with the proposition for the flag-officer to co-operate with General Hunter in the reduction of Morris Island, which, for reasons quite obvious, could not then be entertained.

In a reply to a very complimentary letter received from General Hunter at this time, the Admiral says: ‘I feel very comfortable, General, for the reason that a merciful Providence permitted me to have a failure instead of a disaster, and if I had ever entertained for a moment any misgiving as to my course, the despatches just handed me would remove it.’

The following day, in a note to General Hunter, he says: ‘I find the ships so much damaged during this short engagement as to force me to the conviction that they could not endure the fire to which they would be exposed long enough to destroy Sumter or reach Charleston. I am now satisfied that ’

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Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)
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