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[153] invariably the case, the engineers were at heart in favor of the Union, and readily consented to continue their services. After a dangerous run of several days, after having run aground three times and having lost many men by the fire of the enemy concealed along the shore, the brave boatswain, Lewis, brought the Florida into the Bay of St. Joseph. An attempt almost as bold was made on the 5th of April by a Federal launch and a whaleboat, at the other extremity of the Mexican gulf, to seize the schooner Columbia, which had taken refuge in the San Luis Pass, in Texas, west of Galveston. But after having been for a moment in possession of the vessel, the Union sailors were obliged to abandon their prize, which they set on fire before leaving.

Meanwhile, the project of an expedition against New Orleans, which had been determined upon at the close of the year 1861, and then relinquished, when a war with England seemed imminent, had been revived as soon as the question of the Trent prisoners was amicably settled. General Butler had been directed to raise the necessary troops for this expedition; and in order to make him independent of the local authorities, whose recruiting operations he might interfere with, a military department was created expressly for him in the New England States. He set himself actively to work, and soon succeeded in raising about ten thousand men. The most important part of this expedition, however, was that pertaining to the navy. This was entrusted to Captain Farragut, an officer of large experience, who had remained faithful to his flag, although a native of Tennessee. He was placed in command of the Gulf squadron, and embarked at Hampton Roads on the 2d of February, on board the fine sloop-of-war Hartford, which he was to lead into many battles. The secret concerning the object of the undertaking had been carefully kept. The vessels which the government was collecting from all quarters for this expedition had received sealed orders, designating Key West or the mouths of the Mississippi as the rallying-point.

Butler started three weeks later. On the 23d of February, after receiving his instructions from the President and General McClellan, he left Chesapeake Bay with a fleet of transports, on board of which were the troops he had raised in the North, together with three regiments detached from Baltimore. He was

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