During the period of the Civil War, the United States Navy attained a size and efficiency which, in a world Predominately at peace, made it a force of noteworthy power and potential. With the close of that War, the Navy went into eclipse. In the space of a year, it was reduced to one-fifteenth of its wartime size. With twenty-nine ships the Navy was forced to meet commitments which were becoming, increasingly, those of a major world power. Both materially and intellectually, the Navy tell into a decline. The Government tended to regard a strong Navy as a force that could be conjured out of the midnight mists at the approach of any crisis. For the maintenance of national power, the era of the Credit Mobiliér and the carpet bag had little time and small money.
By Second Lieutenant John W. Kennon, U. S. Marine Corps