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The Union fleet left Hampton Roads on October 29 in a tight, well-disciplined formation. Du Pont was concerned about the hard-to-manage size of the flotilla and the various types of vessels and experience of the commanding officers. Nature conspired against the Union commander, for on November 1 the fleet encountered a hurricane-strength storm off Cape Hatteras that scattered the ships. That same day, Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin telegraphed Governor Pickens and General Drayton that an enemy fleet was headed for Port Royal. The point of attack was no longer a secret.
Writer Richard Schickel charged that the crow characters in the film are African-American stereotypes in his book, The Disney Version (1968). The leader crow, played by Cliff Edwards, was originally named " Jim Crow " for script purposes. However, all of the other crows were voiced by African-American actors, who were all members of the popular all-black Hall Johnson Choir . Despite suggestions by writers such as Schickel who have criticized the portrayal as racist,  other writers have rejected these claims.  Defenders note that the crows form the majority of the characters in the movie who are sympathetic to Dumbo's plight, that they are free spirits who bow to no one, and that they are intelligent characters aware of the power of self-confidence, unlike the Stepin Fetchit stereotype common in the previous decade. Furthermore, the crows' song "When I See An Elephant Fly", which uses intricate wordplay in the lyrics, is oriented more toward mocking Timothy Mouse than Dumbo's large ears.