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[72]

On looking over the history of the rise of the Confederacy, viewed even from the writings of the earlier and more or less partisan historians, a reader will not fail to be impressed with the wonderful resourcefulness that was displayed in meeting the unexpected exigencies of war. Viewed from an absolutely impartial standpoint, the South apparently accomplished the impossible. The young Confederacy succeeded against heavy odds in making something out of almost nothing. There was no naval warfare in the proper sense of the word during the four years conflict; there were no fleets that met in battle at sea, and only two or three actions that could be touched upon in strictly naval annals. But at the outset, in the making up of the Government of the new republic, there was formed a Navy Department whose accomplishments, struggling against the difficulties that confronted it, were little short of marvelous, considering the limited time, available for preparation, in a country almost barren of ship-yards and other means of providing and equipping sea-going vessels, not to mention warships.

In the closing days of 1860, the secession of South Carolina made the fact apparent to the people of the North and South that the breach was constantly widening between the two sections of the country. Very soon it was perceived that the ever-growing chasm could not be bridged by diplomatic means, and that to sustain the stand they had taken the seceding States would be forced by the urging voices of their leaders to make an appeal to arms.

The South was immeasurably handicapped in more ways than one, but principally by its utter lack of any war-ships,

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