James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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    This conversation followed the occupation of Corinth by the Union troops. Halleck had concentrated a force of 100,000, with which he moved slowly and cautiously upon Corinth, intrenching at every halt so that Sherman described the advance as one “with pick and shovel.” 1 He forced the evacuation of Corinth, a place of strategic importance, and worth having, but the crushing of Beauregard’s army, which was possible, would have been a far more profitable achievement. 2  42     The navy at the outbreak of the war was small and many of the ships were on distant cruises where orders to return were long in reaching them. Through the indefatigable exertions of the Secretary, Gideon Welles, and his chosen assistant, Gustavus V. Fox, and the purchase and charter of merchant steamers, a navy was improvised which was powerful enough to maintain a reasonably effective blockade. Bases for the blockading fleet and for other naval and military operations were needed and Hatteras Inlet, Port Royal and Roanoke Island were successively captured by joint naval and army expeditions 3. “The English,” wrote Adams from London, “must abide by the blockade if it really be one. They will set it aside if they can pick a good flaw in it.” 4 Ever present to the English and American mind was the cotton crop of 1861, which England and France wanted and which the South was eager to exchange for cannon, rifles, munitions of war, iron in many forms and general merchandise. The bar to this trade was the blockade, which to be binding must be effective. One day in March, 1862, the blockade
Note 1. O. R., XVII, Pt. II, 83. [back]
Note 2. Authorities: O. R., X, Pts. I, II; Milt. Hist. Soc., VII; B. & L., I; Ropes; Grant; W. Sherman; III; N. & H.; Swinton; Hosmer’s Appeal. [back]
Note 3. III, 489, 581. [back]
Note 4. Forbes, I, 235. [back]