FEBRUARY 24TH, 1865: Secretary Welles similarly instructed Rear Admiral Dahlgren to send north vessels under him that were no longer required, especially the least efficient.
"The Department is of opinion that the fall of Fort Fisher and Charleston will enable it to reduce the expenses of maintenance of the Navy."
Even as the Union would begin to cut back its huge fleet, the effect of Northern sea power was felt more and more acutely in General Lee's army. With its last access to the sea, Wilmington, now controlled by the North, the shortage of essential supplies--including shoes, artillery, blankets, lead, medicines, and even food for men and horses-- became increasingly more desperate..
By now, much of Lee's famed cavalry, for want of horses, had become infantry.