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[114] that multiplied a thousand times the difficulties of maintaining a strict blockade. From Cape Henry to Matamoras, every bay, sound, harbor, and inlet offered tempting shelter to any craft inward bound and laden with the contraband of war, and from these hidden nooks vessels loaded with cotton for the idle factories of Europe essayed the hazardous voyage that brought the reward of French and British gold.

Remarkable as it may seem, it was the Confederacy that made the first move in the game of blockade. The State of Virginia attempted to close the Potomac and to prevent egress and ingress to the national capital. A total lack of naval force prevented such accomplishment. But the Federal navy's blockade of the Southern ports became ultimately the determining factor in the downfall of the Confederacy. Vicksburg and Port Hudson surrendered as much to Farragut and to Porter as to Grant. Sherman's march to the sea would never have been undertaken had not the Federal fleets already held possession of Port Royal and so strongly invested the harbors of Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington. In his campaign against Richmond, McClellan sought shelter under the guns of the navy, and Grant was enabled, through the navy's control of the coast, to maintain his base at City Point.

Had Jefferson Davis a navy at his command, the result of the internecine struggle might have been far different. It was the blockade as much as the battles that brought to every Southern home the horrible reality of want that follows in the track of war. The people of the North knew no deprivations, but the women and children of the South, before the conflict ended, were suffering from the lack of the very things that ships, and ships only, could bring them. The watching cordons spread along the coast ultimately precluded the import of articles, not only of trade but of necessity. It was natural that the ports of Virginia and North Carolina received the first attention of the Federal navy.

Agreeable to the requirements of international law, notice

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Alexander Grant (2)
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