Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Welles' Annual Report for 1865-- Part 3: Re-establishing the Foreign Squadrons

Secretary Welles went on to report the joint operations leading to the evacuation of Mobile and the capitulation of the Confederacy through the Gulf coast.  "On the 2nd of June, Galveston was surrendered, and the supremacy of the government was once more established on the entire coast, from Maine to and including Texas.

"With only limited means at the command of the department to begin with," he wrote, "the navy became suddenly an immense power."

During the war, the Navy had increased from 42 active commissioned ships to a fleet of nearly 700.  Welles noted that 208 ships had been built or begun during that period, and 418 others, primarily steamers, had been purchased.  The number of men in the service grew from 7,600 at the outset of the war to 51,500 at its close.

"An unrelaxing blockade was maintained for four years from the capes of the Chesapeake to the Rio grande, while a flotilla of gunboats, protecting and aiding the army in its movements, penetrated and patrolled our rivers, through an internal navigation almost continental, from the Potomac to the Mississippi.

"After the capture of Forts Hatteras and Clark, in August, 1861, port after port was wrested from the insurgents, until the flag of the Union was again restored in every harbor along our coast, and the rebellion was eventually wholly suppressed."

Welles continued:  "As soon as our domestic troubles were overcome, the duty of attending to our interests abroad prompted the re-establishing of the foreign squadrons which had been suspended.  The European, Brazil, and the East India squadrons have been organized anew upon as economical a scale as is consistent with their efficiency, the interests of commerce, and a proper regard for our position as a nation.""

--Old B-Runner

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