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[18] fitness, because everything afloat that could in any way be made to answer a purpose was pressed into the service. The vessels were of all sizes and descriptions, from screw-steamers and side-wheelers of two thousand tons to ferry-boats and tugs. Some of the larger steamers were fast vessels and made efficient cruisers. The Connecticut, the Cuyler, the De Soto, and the Santiago de Cuba paid for their cost several times over in the prizes they captured. The majority of the purchased steamers were between one hundred and eight hundred tons. Some of the least promising of these improvised men-of-war did good service against blockade-runners. The steamer Circassian, one of the most valuable prizes made during the war, was captured outside of Havana by a Fulton ferry-boat. Even for fighting purposes, however, the ferry-boats, with their heavy guns, were by no means to be despised. There were purchased altogether up to December, 1861, 79 steamers and 58 sailing vessels, 137 in all. The number of vessels bought during the whole war amounted to 418, of which 313 were steamers. After the war was over, they were rapidly sold, at less than half their cost.

The second measure adopted by the administration was the construction of sloops-of-war. Seven of these had been authorized by Congress in February, but the Department resolved to build eight, assigning two to each navy yard. Four of these vessels, the Oneida. Kearsarge, Wachusett, and Tuscarora, were reproductions of three of the sloops of 1858, which made the work of construction quicker and easier, the designs being already prepared. In the latter part of 1861, eight additional sloops were built, of the same general class, but larger. All these fourteen sloops, like their models of two years before, were excellent vessels, and several of them are still in the service as second-rates and third-rates.

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