Officers learned to anchor vessels anywhere off the Southern
coast, where they rode out with safety the heaviest gales that swept those waters during four years, and they learned to appreciate the advantage of carrying a heavy kedge on the quarter, ready to let go instantly when operating in narrow waters.
They learned, too, what was new then, the power of rifled guns at long distances against brick or stone forts, and also that wooden vessels armed with heavy spherical shell-guns, aided by a few ironclads, can smother and control the fire from an earthwork when brought within sixteen hundred yards of it, or better at two-thirds that distance; and further, that if vessels attack an earthwork there should be no cessation until the troops advance to the assault.
To the general, as well as the professional reader who has followed the writer through these pages, a few ideas are ventured in connection with the civil war.
Accepting the political conditions as existent facts presented by the late Alexander H. Stephens
in his remarkable address at Milledgeville, Ga.
, on November 14, 1860, the reader is lost in wonder that a sanguinary war of four years duration could have followed, without other inciting causes than those so fairly and clearly stated by him. Hundreds of thousands of men perished in battle or by disease through exposure; hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, many of them former slaves, died from violence, exposure, and want.
Thousands of millions of dollars were spent in war, by the North
and by the South
, and when the forces of the latter laid down their arms, they were absolutely without resources; many of the inhabitants in various sections would have suffered greatly, or actually perished, had not the gratuitous private charity of the North
supplied shiploads of provisions immediately after the cessation of hostilities.