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Amusement during the blockade minstrels on the flagship “Wabash” A ship's company is a little world by itself. As one of the principal objects of the inhabitants of the earth is to amuse themselves, so it is with the crew of a vessel at sea. The man who can sing, dance, play the banjo or the fiddle is always sure of an appreciative audience in the hours off duty. On many of the larger craft there were formed orchestras, amateur theatrical companies, and minstrel troupes who used to get together to rehearse, and gave entertainments to which very often the officers of all the ships of the fleet were glad to be invited. Time grew heavy and the hours lagged in each other's laps during the tedious blockade. The flagship “Wabash” became renowned throughout the fleet for her minstrels, whose good music and amusing songs helped to pass many a long evening. On more than one occasion regular balls were given that, although not attended by the fair sex, did not lack in gaiety. “A busy ship is a happy one,” is an old adage with sea-faring men, but the wise captain was he who remembered also an old saying well known and equally true both afloat and ashore: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

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