Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 121
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 121
 
 
crossed the river, supported by eight hulks, which were strongly moored.” 1 Not all that he intended was accomplished, but enough was done to enable his ships to pass up the river.  58
  Farragut needed all his nerve and resolution. His trusted friend Porter, a man of conspicuous naval capacity, did not believe in his plan. His instructions from the Secretary of the Navy were ambiguous. If he failed, he would be regarded as a foolhardy Captain who had run counter to the orthodox principles of naval strategy in breasting a current of three and a half miles an hour, in front of strong fortifications and in the face of the enemy’s fire-rafts and gunboats. During the next days and nights of anxiety, however,—though he neglected no precaution and availed himself of every condition in his favor,—he moved straight towards his goal. By April 23, his arrangements were completed. “In the afternoon,” he wrote, “I visited each ship in order to know positively that each commander understood my orders for the attack and to see that all was in readiness. I had looked to their efficiency before. Everyone appeared to understand their orders well and looked forward to the conflict with firmness but with anxiety.… At about five minutes of 2 o’clock A.M. April 24 signal was made to get under way.” 2 “At once was heard in every direction the clank-clank of the chains as the seamen hove the anchors to the bows.” 3 An hour and a half was consumed in getting all the vessels under way. During the days of preparation, Porter had kept up the bombardment from his mortar boats, and now aided the movement by pouring “a terrific fire of shells” into Fort Jackson, the first to be passed. As the fleet advanced, they fired at the forts which briskly returned the fire. “The passing of the forts, Jackson and St. Philip,”
 
Note 1. O. R. N., XVIII, 156. [back]
Note 2. Ibid. [back]
Note 3. Mahan’s Farragut, 151. [back]
 

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