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‘ [327] to the latter opinion.’1 To Porter he wrote: ‘The commander of the expedition will probably be Major-General Terry. He will not know of it till he gets out to sea. He will go with sealed orders. It will not be necessary for me to let troops or commanders know even that they are going anywhere, until the steamers intended to carry them reach Fortress Monroe.’

On the 31st of December, the Secretary of the Navy also announced to the admiral: ‘Lieutenant-General Grant will send immediately a competent force, properly commanded, to co-operate in the capture of the defences on Federal Point. . . . The Department is perfectly satisfied with your efforts thus far.’

On the 1st of January, Porter replied to Grant from Beaufort harbor: ‘I have just received yours of December 30th. I shall be all ready; and thank God we are not to leave here with so easy a victory at hand. Thank you for so promptly trying to rectify the blunder so lately committed. I knew you would do it. I would like the troops to rendezvous here. They should have provisions to last them on shore, in case we are driven off by gales; but I can cover any number of troops, if it blows ever so hard. . . . We lost one man killed. You may judge what ’

1 I have no doubt that in this Machiavellian attempt to mislead his own subordinate Grant signally failed. He was so utterly unversed in the arts of dissimulation that his efforts in this direction were the subject of great amusement to those who surrounded him. He could repel an effort to extort his views, or to elicit information which he chose to withhold, with a silence which was like a wall between himself and his interrogator; but when he positively attempted to deceive—which he never did except to affect the public enemy—his conscience troubled him so that he generally made an ignominious failure.

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