comprising the maintenance of the blockade, and detached operations against fortifications protected by powerful batteries.
The blockade required vessels that combined both speed and light draft, together with seaworthiness, and a certain degree of force to resist the sudden attacks which were made from time to time, in the hope of raising the blockade, or what was perhaps of equal importance, of inducing a belief abroad that such a result had been accomplished.
The attack of fortified harbors, on the other hand, though from the nature of things carried on in connection with the blockade, called for an entirely different type of vessel.
Here, force pure and simple, was needed; force offensive and defensive, heavy guns and heavy armor.
For all these kinds of service, vessels were required, and vessels in great numbers.
A small force could accomplish nothing.
The operations on the Mississippi
and its tributaries alone, operations which were second to none in extent and efficiency, and carried on wholly in the enemy's country, required a large fleet.
For the ocean service, the vessels, to accomplish their object, must be numerous; while a very few served every purpose of the enemy.
It was easy for the half-dozen commerce-destroyers to catch merchantmen, with which every sea was filled, while it was a very difficult matter to catch the half-dozen commerce-destroyers.
Similarly, the blockade service required vessels at every port and inlet; otherwise it was not even legal, to say nothing of its being ineffective.
In meeting the wants of the navy, the new administration proceeded with energy.
All the ships on foreign stations, except three, were recalled.
Measures were taken at once to increase the force by fitting out all the serviceable vessels that were laid up, by building in navy yards, and in private yards on contract, and by purchase in the open market.