In all seasons and all weathers, stifling heat or numbing cold, the men aboard the Federal blockaders kept their stations, stood their watches, and patrolled their designated segments of the highly irregular 3000 miles of coastline between Old Point Comfort and Matamoros. Not for them had been the thunderous runs by the frigates and gunboats under Farragut and Porter, during which the world seemed turn to flame... or the exhilarating chases by the raiders under Semmes and Maffit, staged hundreds of miles from sight of land and punctuated with coaling stops in sinful river ports. A sailor who managed to secure a leave from one of the river fleets was sure to receive at home a hero's welcome for his share in the humbling of Vicksburg or Port Hudson, while the CSA Alabama had added an even three dozen Tankiee ships to her strings of prizes... The men on blockade duty envied blue and gray alike, not only for the stormy present but also for the future still to come.
...Boredom was the main problem, especially for the crews of the blockaders, who could not see that their day-in day-out service had much to with fighting at all, let alone with speeding the victory... Individual reactions to this monotony, which was scarcely relieved by an unbroken diet of moldy beans, stale biscuits, and sour pork, varied from fisticuffs and insubordination to homosexuality and desertion. Officers fraternized ashore with Negro women, a practice frowned upon by the Navy, and mess crews specialized in the manufacture of outlaw whiskey distilled from almost any substance that would ferment in the southern heat — as in fact nearly everything would, including men.