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expenditure of the public funds even in times of great public demoralization and peril, but kept a shrewd eye to the main chance.
In the midst of these busy scenes at the heart of the waractivity of the country, he still found time for a large correspondence both of a public and private nature. He forgot no one, and interested himself, though unsuccessfully, to procure a situation in his Department commanding a good salary for his colored friend, John H. Brooks, whom he soon afterward employed as a personal attendant to go with himn to Charleston. He gave advice in regard to the management of naval academies; he was active in his duties as President of the Connecticut Soldiers' Aid Society; he pressed his matters of naval reform and temperance, and the better observance of the Lord's day, with his usual persistency; he found time and heart to write in a playful strain to his few old friends and his relatives who thoroughly knew him; but his mind was, for the most part, borne down with sorrow and care, though always hopeful for the country. A strictly private letter speaks somewhat of his feelings:
“ BUREAU OF EQUIPMENT AND RECRUITING,
WASHINGTON, January 17, 1863. “MY DEAR SIR, It has been my intention to snatch a few minutes from the heavy pressure of my public duties for the purpose of writing to you. Thus, as the will has been always ready, I know that your hightoned patriotism will not only excuse my silence, but even approve and applaud it.
“The governor and his good wife are with us, and are doing good, as they always do wherever they are. The governor is sharply looking out for the comfort of the soldiers of your noble and gallant state, which, as my friend General Buford remarked to him, is the banner state in this. war.
“My duties are laborious in organizing my new Bureau, but I hope in this Department of which I have charge to render the Navy more efficient. I want as soon as possible to be afloat again, and there remain till
we, under God, crush this atrocious rebellion, which I have the strongest faith God will enable us to do in his good time.
"I send an interesting discussion which the governor heard, also Senator Hales's attack on my old friend Commodore Smith.
“I am led to make my grateful acknowledgments to you for the kind and encouraging manner in which you have sustained me in my efforts thus far in helping to crush the rebellion. A kind Providence has certainly favored my humble efforts, and to God I would give all the glory.
“We all send love to the family. Please excuse my haste, as I have no time for private correspondence.
“Very respectfully your friend and servant, A. H. FOOTE. " Benjamin Hoppin, Esq., Providence, R. I.”
A note of the admiral's to the United States Christian Commission, in reply to a letter inviting him to be present at a meeting of that body in Philadelphia, was as follows:
“ BUREAU OF EQUIPMENT AND RECRUITING,
WASHINGTON, D. C., Jan. 28, 1863. “MY DEAR SIR, -It is with extreme regret that I am compelled, from a heavy pressure of public business, to decline your kind invitation to be present and participate in the exercises at the meeting of the Christian Commission on Thursday evening.
“ The object and importance of your commission can not be overestimated. It will supply a want long existing in the Army and Navy, and must enlist the sympathies and prayers of all true Christian patriots.
" To supply the spiritual wants of the public service on the battle-field and upon the ocean, and to lead our warriors to go forward valiantly in the fight, acknowledging God as our ruler, and looking to him for success, will, I have no doubt, soon cause this wicked rebellion to culminate in the restoration of our Union. “I am, very respectfully,
A. H. FOOTE. George H. Stuart, Esq., Chairman Christian Com
mission, etc., Philadelphia."
One of the many letters of his friend Captain Simpson, of the Newport Naval Academy, brings up the names of old ships that are familiar to the readers of this book :
“U. S. ACADEMY, NEWPORT, R. I., November 18, 1862. “MY DEAR ADMIRAL, I have received your kind note showing how willingly you undertook to labor for my advancement; I am very much obliged to you both for your successful and unsuccessful efforts. As to copies of my book, I suppose that Captain Dahlgren will order them from the publisher.
“I have written a letter to the Superintendent, calling his attention to the want of a ship with two decks for a practice-ship; the crew of the John Adams were very much crowded last summer, owing to the amount of the berth-deck that was appropriated to the midshipmen, of whom I carried only eighty. The Plymouth was our old practice-ship, but the rebellion destroyed her. The Portsmouth is the ship that I want as a substitute for the John Adams; but, to make her perfect for practice purposes, she must have a light deck put on her. It is this that I have applied for in my letter to the Superintendent, and he has promised to send a copy of my letter to the Department. I fear that he will not take much trouble to recommend it, and, as I know the need, I feel the importance of it. If I have the Portsmouth next summer, I can carry at least fifty-five more midshipmen, make my men comfortable, and have many other advantages; but if nothing is done soon about it, I shall have to go in the old John again, which is a very good old ship, but is not so well adapted for the purpose.
“ It would be necessary to order the Portsmouth home at once from the West Gulf squadron, where I doubt if her loss will be felt. If it is to be done at all, it had better be done at once; and I will be much obliged to you if you will endeavor to put the old ship, which you commanded with so much credit and distinction, to a useful purpose—the most useful, perhaps, that a sailing-vessel can be applied to at present. “ Very respectfully and truly yours,
“E. SIMPSON, Commandant of Midshipmen.”
How changed the times in respect to naval matters since the Portsmouth pushed up her wooden walls to the side of stone forts in the Canton river! Iron and earth had taken the place of wood and stone. Dashing boldness in storming and assault was now yielding to more exact science and calculation as to the resisting quality of iron, and the smashing and dislodging
Admiral Foote, as has been said before, be
power of shot.
longed both to the old and the new periods. His audacious boldness in attack has been compared with that of Paul Jones and Decatur; but he gladly availed himself of the invention of iron-clads, and he looked forward to the time when, in his Benton or Eastport, or some still more formidable floating battery, he could compete with the highest military engineering on shore, and the most scientific form of heavy ordnance afloat. His Mississippi gun-boats for the time, and in an aggressive sense, were even better than Ericsson's “monitors" for their purpose, though they were not invulnerable, as, in fact, in the progress of science, nothing is or can be.
To turn to another subject, a naval friend from the Boston Navy Yard brings out amusingly in his letter a prominent trait of the admiral's character. He says:
“Do you remember when you called at my quarters with a flattering invitation to accompany you to Chelsea to deliver a lecture on China ? You had a cold and a sore throat, and wanted me in case you broke down to take your place with my “Jerusalem' lecture. Mrs. M wished to know how it went. “Did Mr. Foote or you lecture ?'—'Why, Mr. Foote, of course. He didn't break down, nor did he mean to do so. think he intended that I should take the wind out of his sails ?-So when you were before Island No. Ten, and all was excitement and anxiety, I said (remembering old times),'Foote will have No. Ten. He never gives up a job or an argument to any body.' When Island No. Ten was ours, all was rejoicing and exultant, and a great burden of apprehension was removed from the public mind; but with me it was a foregone conclusion, and I took it very philosophically."
This self-reliance and persistency of character which led him to do things for himself, and take the lead in all that fell to his hand, though brought out jestingly in the foregoing extract, had by this time made itself pretty generally known both to the government and the people. The war had witnessed some lamentable failures in its leaders and great men; and although most important successes had crowned the North.
The Right Man Wanted.
ern arms, yet the first months and the spring of the year 1863 did not open brightly for the cause of the republic. At the close of 1862, the battle of Murfreesboro, while ending in victory, crippled the victors almost as much as the vanquished; and although the new year began auspiciously with the Emancipation Act, which sent fresh hope through the land, and although there were seven hundred thousand loyal men in the field, the actual successes in a military point of view were few and far between. The Army of the Potomac was discouraged and disappointed; the dreadful battle of Chancellorsville, fought under Hooker in the spring, ended in signal defeat and rout; and Lee, great general, though in a bad cause, was gathering together his legions, and already meditating that bold invasion of the North which was carried out some months later. Richmond seemed as far off as ever, while the interference of foreign powers was, in the view of the least timid, inevitable. At the South and West, Banks was operating in Louisiana and its neighborhood with more enterprise than success; the Mississippi was still closed up between Fort Hudson and Vicksburg; and Vicksburg, proud and defiant, baffled the most strenuous efforts of our land and naval forces. Above all, Charleston, the fount and heart of the great rebellion, lay safe behind her ring of mighty bulwarks, with Sumter grimly guarding the harbor's mouth. Dupont in the early part of April had tried his strength against the Charleston defenses, and after a most intrepid fight with his monitors and ironsides, had drawn off completely cut up, and bitterly declaring that the thing, at least in that way of doing it, was impossible. The government and the people, however, whether Dupont were right or wrong, did not agree with him: nothing was impossible to Northern hearts; and the cry went forth, Who will come to the rescue ?—who will lead the forlorn hope of the land? The right man was all that was asked for. The true instinct of the government and country pointed to but one man, and that man was-Andrew Hull Foote.