Maffitt also astutely commented on the lasting contributions made by the navy he represented. "The Confederate Navy, minute though it was, won a place for itself in history. To the Confederates the credit belongs of testing in battle the invulnerability of ironclads and of revolutionizing the navies of the world. The Merrimack did that.
"And though we had but a handful of light cruisers, while the ocean swarmed with armed Federal vessels, we defied the Federal Navy and swept Northern commerce from the sea."
For this latter achievement, Maffitt personally merited a large share of the credit. As captain of the CSS Florida during her 1863 cruise he captured 24 American merchant ships and he commissioned the tender Clarence, Lt. Charles W. Read, whose subsequent exploits accounted for an additional 23 merchantmen.