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At the opening of the war, President Lincoln found under his command a navy of ninety ships of war, carrying eighteen hundred and nine guns. In little more than a year from that time the Federal navy embraced three hundred and eighty-six ships and steamers, carrying three thousand and twenty-seven guns. Keels were laid not only in the Eastern ship-yards, but on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers; iron armour was prepared; mortar ketches were built; the founderies and shops worked day and night upon engines, plates, and guns.

While this wonderful energy was being displayed by the North in preparations to operate against our sea-coast, and by fleets of gunboats on the Upper Mississippi and its tributaries, to drive our armies out of Kentucky and Tennessee, the Confederate Government showed a singular apathy with respect to any work of defence. The Confederate Congress had made large appropriations for the construction of gunboats on the Mississippi waters; there was the best navy-yard on the continent opposite Norfolk; there were valuable armouries with their machinery at Richmond; and although the Confederate Government was very far from competing with the naval resources of the enemy, yet there is no doubt, with the. means and appliances at hand, it might have created a considerable fleet. In no respect was the improvidence of this Government more forcibly illustrated than in the administration of its naval affairs; or its unfortunate choice of ministers more signally displayed than in the selection as Secretary of the Navy of Mr. Mallory of Florida, a notoriously weak man, who was slow and blundering in his office, and a butt in Congress for his ignorance of the river geography of the country.

The consequences of the defenceless and exposed condition of the Confederate sea-coast were soon to be realized; and many intelligent men already took it as a foregone conclusion, that in the progress of the war the Confederacy would lose not only all her sea-ports, but every fort and battery to which the floating guns of the enemy could get access.

In the year 1861, two naval expeditions were sent down the Carolina coast; and their results gave serious indications of what was to be expected from this arm of the enemy's service on the slight fortifications of our ocean frontier. The first of these expeditions was designed against Hatteras Inlet. To reduce two extemporized works there, mounting altogether fifteen guns, the enemy, with his usual prodigality of preparation and care to ensure victory, sent an enormous sea armament, carrying one hundred heavy guns, and a naval and military force numbering not less than three thousand men. The fleet was under the command of Commodore Stringham, while Maj.-Gen. Butler, of Massachusetts, commanded the force intended to operate on land. On the 26th of August the expedition sailed from Fortress Monroe, arriving off Hatteras on the 28th. Three hundred and fifteen men, with a twelve-pound rifled gun, and twelve.

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