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[4] Virginian, who remained in office, loyally serving the purposes of the inchoate Confederacy, until the seizure of the Norfolk Navy Yard, when he tendered his resignation, and was dismissed by the President as a recognition of unfaithful service.

Within a few days after the attack on Fort Sumter, of the 78 captains on the active list, 12 resigned or were dismissed; of 114 commanders, 39; of 321 lieutenants, 73.1

The Confederates had been organizing their forces for months, and menaced Washington, Fortress Monroe, and Norfolk Navy Yard. It was absolutely a matter of doubt under the actual circumstances whether they might not accomplish the possession of all of these places. It was of the utmost importance to the inchoate Confederacy to get possession of the Norfolk Navy Yard and secure the large amount of ordnance stored there and to establish a good line of defence.

Nothing could more effectually serve their purpose than the pretended loyalty of the officers remaining attached to the Navy Yard who effectively cajoled the Commandant, who was old and feeble, and actually distracted by reason of the turmoil. At the final moment he was left alone, without one officer, and with but 40 marines attached to the Yard to support his authority.

The attack on Fort Sumter and its surrender affected the people of the North and of the South quite differently; while those who captured the fort boasted that they had ‘finished the war,’ the people of the North awoke to a painful realization of the fact that a war existed that must be fought to the end, and they girded up their loins as best they could; but

1 After the 4th of March, 259 officers of the navy resigned their commissions or have been dismissed the service (Report Secretary Navy, July 4, 1861). Many others, belonging to States that had already seceded, had previously resigned.

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