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[58] an opportunity to procure an unlimited supply of arms and ammunition, not to speak of provisions and accoutrements for the impending struggle, which he thought would be ‘long and bloody,’ 1 Mr. Davis hardly considered the proposition at all, and discarded it as being impracticable and unworthy of his attention.

Mr. Davis goes on to say: ‘While attempting whatever was practicable at home, we sent a competent, well-deserving officer of the navy to England, to obtain there and elsewhere, by purchase or by building, vessels which could be transformed into ships of war.’ 2

When was this done? Mr. Davis is reticent upon that point; and, despite his statement that ‘these efforts and their results will be noticed more fully hereafter,’ nowhere in his book is to be found any additional information upon the subject. True, Mr. Davis says, further on, ‘At the commencement of the war the Confederacy was not only without a navy, all the naval vessels possessed by the States having been, as explained elsewhere, left in the hands of our enemies; but worse than this was the fact that ship-building had been almost exclusively done in the Northern States, so that we had no means of acquiring equality in naval power.’ 3

This, instead of showing what were the efforts of our government to procure war-vessels for the South, shows, on the contrary, how great was the folly, how disastrous to our interests the nonacceptance of the contract almost effected, in London, by the house of John Frazer & Co.

And Mr. Davis says also: ‘It has been shown that among the first acts of the Confederate administration was the effort to buy ships which could be used to naval purposes.’ 4 This can only refer to Captain Semmes's mission North, in the latter part of February, 1861, and relates, not to what was done in Europe, not to the reasons for rejecting the Trenholm proposal, but merely to what was unsuccessfully attempted on our side of the water.

The impression Mr. Davis seems anxious to convey is, that his efforts to procure war-vessels in Europe were made shortly after his inauguration as President, and as soon as he had discovered that none could be purchased at the North. From this, and with

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 230.

2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 814.

3 Ibid. vol. II. p. 240.

4 Ibid. vol. II. p. 245.

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