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[165] The military importance of holding Hatteras Inlet was at that time quite unappreciated save by the Navy Department.

The transport steamers were chartered by the navy and commanded by navy officers, and the detachment of troops ‘was to return to Fort Monroe after the expedition.’ ‘It was not intended that you (General Wood) should take any further action in relation to the expedition than to provide such troops for the same as on conference with Commodore Stringham should be found sufficient for the purpose. The expedition originated in the Navy Department, and is under its control.’1

General Wool, at Fort Monroe, on the 25th of August, 1861, made a detail of 860 men under General B. F. Butler, who was directed to report, as soon as his troops were ready, to Flag-Officer Stringham. ‘As soon as the object of the expedition is attained, the detachment will return to Fort Monroe.’

The following day, the transport steamer Adelaide, Commander Henry S. Stellwagen, and the Peabody, Lieutenant R. B. Lowry, took on board 500 of the 20th Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, Colonel Weber; 220 of the Ninth N. Y. Volunteers, Colonel Hawkins; 100 of the Union Coast Guard, Captain Nixon, and 60 of the 2d U. S. Artillery, Lieutenant Larned. With commendable alacrity they left the same day (26th of August) with the flag-ship of Stringham, the steam frigate Minnesota, Captain G. I. Van Brunt; steam frigate Wabash, Captain Samuel Mercer; Monticello, Commander John P. Gillis; Pawnee, Commander S. C. Rowan, and Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane, Captain John Faunce. The army tug Fanny, under the command of Lieutenant Peirce Crosby, of the navy, also accompanied the expedition.

1 Letter of Assistant Adjutant-General, Rebellion Records, Vol. IV., p. 580.

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