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United States was backward then, as in fact it always has been, if the truth be spoken, in marine engineering. Changes came in machinery and material of construction abroad which we were slow to follow, so that the high-powered and lean model of the Clyde iron-built blockade-runner had a distinct advantage in speed over her chasers. Thus, even during the last two months of 1864, the imports of Charleston and Wilmington comprised over eight million five hundred thousand pounds of meat, one million five hundred thousand pounds of lead, nearly two million pounds of saltpeter, five hundred thousand pairs of shoes, three hundred and sixteen thousand pairs of blankets, over five hundred thousand pounds of coffee, sixty-nine thousand rifles, forty-three cannon, ninety-seven packages of revolvers, and two thousand six hundred and thirty-nine packages of medicine. The traffic across the Mexican border was of the same character, but there was still the gantlet to be run of the Mississippi River, now in Federal possession through the dauntless spirit of Farragut, greatest of naval commanders, not excepting Nelson himself.

But the grip of the navy was closing upon the Confederate ports. Charleston was, with the aid of the army, at last closed. Savannah was sealed; Mobile and New Orleans had, of course, long before been lost, as also Pensacola. Wilmington, so long closely watched, finally fell after the capture of Fort Fisher, and then happened that which, as already explained, might have occurred in the beginning had the Buchanan administration but acted with vigor, that is, the complete segregation of the South from the rest of the world. She still had men in plenty, but men to be effective must be fed and clothed. With open ports the war could have been indefinitely continued. With ports closed, the Southern armies were reduced to a pitiful misery, the long endurance of which makes a noble chapter in heroism.

The whole naval warfare of the secession period was thus one of closure. It was a strife to control the waters of the

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David Glasgow Farragut (1)
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