Mitchell continued: "Would he be likely to do less on the James in any naval enterprise he undertakes against us? Surely not, and we can never hope to encounter him on anything like equal terms, except by accident. It behooves us, therefore, to bring to our aid all the means in our power to oppose his monitors in any advance they may attempt up the river."
He then recommended placing additional obstructions and torpedoes as the most reliable means of preventing a waterborne movement against Richmond.
However, he added that his own squadron, which was the largest and most formidable one at any point in the South, "will be expected to take a part, not only in opposing the advance of the enemy, but held in readiness to move and act in any direction whenever an opportunity offers to strike a blow."
Mitchell was to have his opportunity three weeks later. With all but one of the monitors on the James River on the Fort Fisher expedition, there was never a better time to strike a blow.