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[26]

Charleston Harbor would have been permanently in the hands of the Federal authorities.

Equal folly, inefficiency, and, in cases, disloyalty were shown in the failure to take steps to protect the great navy-yard at Norfolk and in the surrender of that at Pensacola. The former could have been saved had the incoming administration acted more promptly; the latter could, at any moment in the two months succeeding its surrender in January, have been reoccupied, had there been a show of wisdom in government affairs. With the loss of these two great establishments went the loss of some thousands of cannon, which went to arm the Southern batteries. Had these untoward events not happened, affairs would have assumed a very different phase; for a time, at least, war would have been deferred, and soberer thought might have had its weight.

Whether it were better that the war should be fought, and the pick of the manhood of the South and much of that of the North perish, need not be discussed; but the patent fact remains that the failure to employ the Brooklyn instead of the Star of the West, the failure to garrison the other forts of the South, the failure to save Norfolk and Pensacola were governmental failures of surpassing ineptitude and folly, only to be made good by four years of a war which brought three millions of men into the field, six hundred ships to close the Southern ports, engulfed the treasure of the North, and laid waste the South. The change to our new mental and psychical plane, a change which had to be made, was dearly bought for want of wisdom and foresight beyond our powers at the moment.

Leaving aside the what-might-have-beens and coming to things as they happened, the blockade, by the end of 1861, had become so effective that in the governmental year of 1861-62, the total cotton exported from the South was but thirteen thousand bales as against the two million of the previous season. During the quarter beginning September 1, 1861, less

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