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[348] as thoroughly as Grant, and the rejoicing at the North was not more general or more heartfelt than the despondency it occasioned inside the Confederacy. The gate through which the rebels had obtained their largest and most indispensable supplies was for ever sealed. In little more than a year before the capture of the fort, the ventures of British capitalists and speculators with Wilmington had amounted to sixty-six millions of dollars, and sixty-five millions of dollars in cotton had been exported in return. In the same period three hundred and ninety-seven vessels had run the blockade. All this was at an end. Europe perceived the inevitable consequences; and the British government, which till now had held out hopes to the rebel emissaries,1 after the fall of Fort Fisher sent a communication to Jefferson Davis, through Washington, rebuking the rebels for their stubbornness.2 There could be no surer evidence that the cause was desperate.

But the capture of Fort Fisher not only closed the last important inlet of supplies to the enemy from abroad, at a juncture when Grant was cutting off those supplies in every direction at home, and thus formed an important adjunct to his general plan of exhausting as well as destroying the Confederacy; it had also a strategically consequence, not apparent at the time to outsiders, but which with him was paramount to all other considerations. The circle was now gradually closing around the prey. Sherman had reached Savannah, Thomas was masster

1 See Appendix.

2 See Appendix for letter of Earl Russell to Messrs. Mason, Slidell, and Mann.

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