Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 22.djvu/100
88 Southern Historical Society Papers.
I address you this evening upon a branch of your military service, the more conspicuous, perhaps, in its absence from your councils, handicapped from beginning to end of your struggle by a lack of the material development of your section, and overshadowed by your ever memorable prowess in the field, "The Navy of the Con- federate States."
That a navy is that it may be made an important factor an efficient coadjutor to the success of an army in the field, let the ser- vice of the United States Navy in the late war fully attest.
McClellan, in the hour of his defeat, before Richmond, made Harrison's Landing the goal of his flight, to place his shattered and demoralized forces under the guns of the navy on the James.
The United States navy convoyed the Federal army to its attack upon Fort Henry, in February, 1862 rendered service so effective that capitulation was made to it before the army was in position and a few days later was its left wing at Fort Donelson, contributing material aid in its reduction.
The Mississippi (with its vast supplies so essential to your armies) was in your control, from Cairo to the Gulf, until Foote, from the North, and Farragut from the South, broke its barriers, and began that system of segregation which so pitilessly sapped your vital forces.
The presence of the navy at Savannah and the seaboard, gave birth, in the brain of Sherman, to that relentless " March to The Sea," which shook, for a time, even the morale of the army of Northern Virginia.
Grant, in his Wilderness Campaign, foiled at every point, in his direct road to Richmond, sat down before Petersburg, his right wing in touch with the navy on the James, and that he be not shorn of this assistance, obstructed the river against the descent of your gun- boats.
The brief career of the Merrimac in Hampton Roads, delayed the advance of McClellan on the Peninsula gave you the much needed time to put the defences of Richmond in order evoked the memo- rable telegram to Fox, assistant secretary of navy: " Can I rely upon the Monitor to keep the Merrimac in check, so that I can make Fort Monroe a base of operations," and as late as the I2th of March, 1862, the lamentation of General Barnard, his chief of engineers: " The possibility of the Merrimac appearing again, paralyzes the movement of this army by whatsoever route is adopted."