wars that we invite, from a lack of preparation in what plight will we be on land or on the seas?
To the old officer, whether of the land service or that of the sea, these are painful reflections; so far as he is individually concerned, for usefulness he has almost passed away; his experiences have taught him what a lack of practical experience and a want of preparation costs a nation in a struggle with another whose military and naval establishments are constant and trained to their duties.
Recognizing the necessity of professional education in the extremity of war, in May, 1861, the Secretary of the Navy
applied for an assistant, and Gustavus V. Fox
was appointed Assistant Secretary
He entered the naval service as midshipman in 1838, passed through the professional instruction existent, and the intervening grades, to that of lieutenant, and resigned in 1856 to engage in civil pursuits.
Abroad we had enemies who desired our downfall and aided it as far as could be done without openly declaring their hostility; so far as a lack of friendship was concerned, it applied quite as much to the South
as to the North
; nothing but probable complications nearer home, growing out of hostile interference, as well as the shame of attacking us without reasonable pretext, prevented ‘armed intervention,’ as it would have been called.
At home we had what were known as ‘sympathizers,’ spies, and even traitors in the civil services, who obtained the most accurate information of intended movements and gave it to the enemy.
Certainly the skies were dark for years, yet through all the difficulties and shortcomings the nation supported its existence with fearful cost of life and treasure.
Beyond the Capes of Virginia
and to Cape Florida
, in relation to which this volume treats, a blockade, first of form