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[128] only been caught slightly off its guard. England refused to admit that the blockade had been raised by the events of January 31st. Charleston never had another opportunity, for there was soon off the port the strongest fleet then at sea, which embraced the New Ironsides, mounting fourteen 11-inch Dahlgren guns, two 150-pounder rifles, and two 50-pounder rifles, and also the monitors Weehawken, Passaic, Montauk, Patapsco, Catskill, Nantucket, and Nahant, besides the monitor Keokuk, of a slightly different pattern from the Ericsson floating turrets.

The game of blockade-running became so expensive that during the last few months of the war it was practically abandoned. Many of the blockade-runners which had found it impossible to escape were dismantled, it being useless to attempt to break through the watching line. As port after port fell into Federal possession, it was not necessary to maintain so strict a watch, but there was one other factor that helped to decide matters — it was the waning and final disappearance of the Confederate credit abroad, for the Government claimed for itself a percentage of every cargo of cotton. The blockade had accomplished this, and in keeping the foreign-built cruisers from rendezvousing on their own shore, had confined their efforts merely to the destruction of commerce-carrying merchant ships on the far high seas.

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