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But whether you can or not, we wish the demonstration kept up for a time, for a collateral and very important object; we wish the attempt to be a real one (though not a desperate one) if it affords any considerable chance of success.
But if prosecuted for a demonstration only, this must not be made public, or the whole effect will be lost.
Once again before Charleston, do not leave till further orders from here.
Of course this is not intended to force you to leave unduly exposed Hilton Head or other near points in your charge.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln. General Hunter and Admiral Dupont.
P. S.—Whoever receives this first, please send a copy to the other immediately.
On April 16th, Rear-Admiral Dupont wrote to the Secretary of the Navy as follows:
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this morning, by the Freeborn, of your communication of the 11th inst., directing the maintaining of a large force off Charleston, to menace the rebels and keep them in app
ained him, such as no loss of life, had it occurred, would have done.
On the evening of the attack the flag-officer received a letter, as follows:
Confidential. Navy Department, April 2, 1863.
Sir—The exigencies of the public service are so pressing in the Gulf that the Department directs you to send all the ironclads that are in a fit condition to move, after your present attack upon Charleston, directly to New Orleans, reserving to yourself only two.
Very respectfully, Gideon Welles.
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 imme