On February 21, 1861, Stephen Mallory, a prominent
citizen of Florida with a reputation as the best-informed
man in the South on naval warfare, was appointed
as Jefferson Daviss secretary of the navy.
He succeeded in building a navy where none had previously
He purchased warships in Europe, refurbished
captured federal vessels, and, when possible,
armed Southern-owned ships then in Confederate
ports. Under his direction, the Confederacy built
formidable ironclad vessels and put into service
the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in action.