FEBRUARY 22ND, 1865: In Richmond, Confederate War Department clerk J.B. Jones wrote in his diary: "To-day is the anniversary of the birth of Washington, and of the inauguration of Davis; but I hear no of no holiday. Not much is doing, however, in the departments; simply a waiting for calamities, which come with stunning rapidity.
"The next news, I suppose, will be the evacuation of Wilmington! Then Raleigh may tremble. Unless there is a speedy turn in the tide of affairs, confusion will reign supreme and universally."
Material suffering and unwavering pressure of Union armies ashore and federal ships afloat destroyed Southern hopes. In the Union's strength at sea, the Confederacy faced a double disadvantage. Not only did the fleet provide the North with massed artillery, great mobility, easy concentration, and surprise in attack, but it also provided a safe fortress to which the soldiers ashore could retreat--as had been most recently shown during General Butler's amphibious failure at Fort Fisher as 1864 ended.