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At Hampton Roads lay the steam sloop Brooklyn, and at New York lay the store-ship Relief, that mounted but two guns. The remainder of the serviceable ships actually in commission were scattered in all parts of the earth. The Niagara, a screw frigate and the first built by Steers, the famous clipper-ship constructor, was the farthest away from the Atlantic ports. She was on special duty in Japanese waters, and in the best of circumstances could not report where her services were most needed for several months.

The rest of the ships on foreign stations would require from a week to a month to gain home waters. Of the forty-eight ships that were in dock or in the navy-yards, there was none that could be prepared for service within a fortnight, and there were many that would require a month or more before they would be ready.

From the time of the secession of South Carolina, in December, 1860, to the time of the declaration of war, valued officers of the navy whose homes were in the South had been constantly resigning from the service. The Navy Department was seriously hampered through their loss. Shortly after the opening of the war, it became necessary to curtail the course at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and the last-year class was ordered on active duty to fill the places made vacant by the many resignations. At the opening of the war, the Federal navy had fourteen hundred and fifty-seven officers and seventy-six hundred seamen. This number was constantly increased throughout the war, and at the close there were no less than seventy-five hundred officers and fifty-one thousand five hundred seamen.

When the Lincoln administration came into power in 1861, the Secretary of the Navy under the Buchanan administration, Isaac Toucey, of Hartford, Connecticut, was succeeded by his fellow townsman, Gideon Welles, whose experience as chief of the bureau of provisions and clothing in the Navy Department from 1846 to 1849 had familiarized

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