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[89]

Zzzimportance of Blockades.

The rigid blockade of your ports from the Chesapeake Bay to the Rio Grande, cut off the Confederacy from the markets of the world; deprived you of clothing, shoes, tools, ammunition and munitions of war—threw you back upon the undeveloped resources of an agricultural people; added ten-fold to the hardships of your troops in the field; restricted your captures upon the high seas; and contributed in material, if not in equal portion, to your final overthrow on land.

The navy of your common country, which, at the beginning of hostilities, numbered some ninety war ships, of various classes, fell into the hands of the Federals, and by December, 1861, was augmented, by superior facilities, to 264 vessels, mounting 2,557 guns, with 22,000 seamen.

Of the ten navy yards, the property of your common country, eight were located in the Northern States, and but two, Norfolk and Pensacola, were in the South. The Pensacola yard was one merely for shelter and repair. From that at Norfolk came the guns and ammunition that did service in the whole South, afloat and ashore, the first years of the war.

The number of officers in the navy of the nation was 1,563, of these, 671 were credited to the South, but were not by that fact, necessarily, Southern born; of these latter, 321 resigned, and cast their lives and fortunes with that of your country.

To the future historian of this tragic epoch, ‘who shall naught extenuate, naught set down in malice,’ a perplexing chapter of his book will be the one in which he shall endeavor to give an account of the ways and means by which your people, void of manufacturing industries, void of skilled and efficient artisans, void of material for construction, equipped and maintained in the field for four long years, the most effective military service known in modern times.

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Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (2)

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December, 1861 AD (1)
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