We have now the beginning of a Navy, which, small as it is, is not much beneath the dimensions of the old Continental, which, under Paul Jones
and others, covered the infant flag of America
We have, in the first place, officers who were the very flower of the old Federal Navy, accomplished seamen, and high-toned and chivalrous gentlemen.
If we have not at present many ships, we have the most unlimited materials for building and for arming and equipping vessels of war. Magnificent forests of live oak abound in the Southern States
; tar, home, pine, and every article of naval stores can be found in unlimited abundance in the Southern Confederacy, and in no other part of the old Union.
We can easily command seamen enough for any present exigency, and there can be no better school for their training than our privateersmen, which will soon be afloat on every wave.
In the Norfolk Navy-Yard
, so fortunately wrested from Federal hands, we have the largest and best Navy-Yard on the continent.
In this connection we may add that the highest credit is due to the gallant officers of our Navy, not only for the efficient services they have rendered at the yard, but at the various land batteries, where their experience, skill and courage have been beyond all praise.