to declare a blockade of the Atlantic coast
south of the Chesapeake
, and this was quickly followed by proclamations extending it from the Gulf
to the Rio Grande
Long before there were enough vessels to make the blockade effective, this farreaching action was taken.
But now, as the navy grew, most of the purchased ships were made ready for use, and before the close of 1861, were sent southward to establish and strengthen this blockade, and by the end of the year the ports of the Confederacy
were fairly well guarded by Federal vessels cruising at their harbors' mouths.
The expedition to Hilton Head
and the taking of Forts Walker
had given the navy a much coveted base on the Southern
Still, every month new vessels were added, and there was growing on the Mississippi
a fleet destined for a warfare new in naval annals.
Seven ironclads were built and two remodeled under the supervision of Captain James B. Eads
There were also three wooden gunboats, and later on, in the summer of 1862, at the suggestion of Flag-Officer Davis
, the fleet of light-draft vessels, known as “tin-clads,” was organized.
For some time the gunboats and “tin-clads” operating in conjunction with the Western
armies had been under the supervision of the War Department, and separate from the navy entirely.
But very soon this was to be changed, and the entire Mississippi
forces and those engaged in the Western
and Southern waters came under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department.
Officers were detached to command of these nondescripts and “tin-clads” that rendered such gallant service; experienced gunners and bodies of marines were sent out to lend discipline and cohesion to the land sailors who, up to this time, had been carrying on the river warfare.
The block-ade called for more and more energy along the Atlantic coast
; very early the “runners” began to try the dangerous game of eluding the watching cordon.
Providing these vessels with officers and crews taxed the Navy Department to a great extent.
There were not enough