understanding that the package will not be broken until after the public has notice through the newspapers of our success or defeat. Our object is yet unknown on board, and if I read the papers of the eve of our departure aright our secret is still a secret in New York. No communication with the shore, however, will be allowed.
Your dispatch arrived as I was on my away to the Atlantic, just before the hour at which she was to sail, and two or three hours after that appointed for the Powhatan. When the arrow has sped from the bow it may glance aside, but who shall reclaim it before its flight is finished?
A violent gale compelled us to lay head to wind for twenty-four hours. We ran one hundred miles out of our course. The Powhatan having taken this gale earlier may have got through it with less delay, so that it is not now likely that we will overtake her. She had orders to call off Key West, and by boat or signal ascertain whether we had passed. It is important that she should reach the port before us.
Permit me to urge the importance of the purchase of these Collins steamers. Britain has already taken the first, the Adriatic. Jeff. Davis or the United States may take them. They were build under contract subject to be taken at a valuation if needed for war. This ship, the Atlantic, cost &750,000. We have chartered her at $2,000 per day for thirty days, with the privilege, at the end of thirty days, of retaining her at that pierce, giving her up, or purchasing by the United States at $350,000, one-half her cost. During the height of the gale she showed no signs of weakness, rode easily, without labor, and the very line of cabin-lights reflected from a mirror, which doubles all distortions, was straight and true. This too with forty tons of horses in place of port guns on her bow, and thirty tons of hay and stores on the after-hurricane deck. The weight of 10-inch pivot guns would not therefore hurt her. Thus far we have lost but one horse, exhausted by struggling after falling during the gale.
The Baltic I hope is chartered on terms like those of the Atlantic. Both south belong to the United States. British agents, if not Southern envoys, are after them. Had we been on board a vessel less scrunch and seaworthy not a horse would have been seen on deck and the ship might have shared the fate of the San Francisco.
The dispatch and the secrecy with which this expedition has been fitted out will strike terror into the ranks of rebellion. All New York saw, all the United States knew, that the Atlantic was filling with stores and troops. But now this nameless vessel, her name is painted out, speeds out of the track of commerce to an unknown destination. Mysterious, unseen, where will the powerful bolt fall? What thousands of men, spending the means of the Confederate States, vainly beat the air amid the swamps of the southern coast, and, filling the dank forts, curse secession and the mosquitoes!
Buy all the steamships, fill them with troops and stores, start them on such mysterious errands, and Mr. Memminger will need more loans and South Carolina herself will grow sick of rebellion.
God promised to send before his chosen people and advance-guard of hornets. Our constant allies are the more efficient mosquitoes and sand-flies. At this time the republic has need of all her sons, of all their knowledge, zeal, and courage.
Major Hunt is with us, somewhat depressed at going into the field without his horses. His battery of Napoleon guns, probably the best field guns in our service, is to follow in the Illinois; but the traitor Twiggs surrendered his horses to the rebels of Texas, and the company
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