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[41]

A body of volunteer naval officers had also to be created, and of these at least 1,757 out of 7,500 were furnished by Massachusetts, and especially for the Atlantic Ocean service, those employed on the Mississippi being mostly steamboat men and pilots. The regular officers formed about one-seventh of the whole number employed.1

In addition, Massachusetts furnished, in connection with the expedition for the relief of Fort Sumter, the man who was destined above all men to bring order out of chaos and organize our early navy. This was Capt. Gustavus Vasa Fox, assistant secretary of the navy. He had spent eighteen years of his life in the navy, but had resigned five years before the war, and had engaged in business. Nominally an assistant secretary, he was practically, as has been said by others, a chief of staff, and the rapidity with which our young navy was organized was largely due to his efforts. Commander (afterwards admiral) Charles Henry Davis, another Massachusetts man, before best known as the captor, in 1857, of William Walker the filibuster, also worked most efficiently, under the direction of the navy department, in boards to report on iron-clads and also on the enemy's coast. In that momentous early success of the war, the capture of Port Royal (Nov. 7, 1861), he was fleet captain, and his promptness in surveying immediately the channel for the larger vessels had much to do with the ultimate success. Flag-Officer Dupont says: ‘By the skill of Commander Davis, the fleet captain, and Mr. Boutelle, the able assistant of the coast survey, in charge of the steamer Vixen, the channel was immediately found, sounded out and buoyed.’2 The admirable plan of the attack is also understood to have been due largely to him.

He was in charge of a project which finally proved rather abortive, of sinking what was called ‘a stone fleet’ in the main ship channel of Charleston harbor (Dec. 20, 1861), and afterwards in Sullivan's Island channel. The project occasioned much discussion and denunciation, both here and in Europe, although the Confederates had not hesitated to obstruct channels wherever they found it desirable.3 In this case it is doubtful whether any positive result followed, a better channel being at once formed south-east of Lighthouse Inlet. So far as the wooden obstructions were

1 Soley, p. 9.

2 Ammen's Atlantic Coast, p. 18. (The Navy in the Civil War.)

3 Ammen's Atlantic Coast, p. 41; Ammen's The Old Navy and the New, p. 416; Higginson's Army Life in a Black Regiment, p. 169; Gordon's War Diary, p. 257; Soley's The Blockade, etc., p. 107.

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