Here's point #21 from the thread Union Points to Know:viewtopic.php?f=331&t=43074
21. Here's one way to use the Union Navy units that you get for free.
a. Make sure that you always fill out each of the ship units to full strength. Some of the Brig, Sail Frigate and Blockade Squadron (BS) units need replacements. Send them to a major port with a naval engineer like Philly, NYC or Boston. Set them to Green/Green and make sure that you have replacements in the pool for their ship type. The next turn, they should be locked in place until the replacements arrive. You can even do this with under-strength units that start the game locked in one of those ports.
b. I get 5 BS in each of the two blockade boxes set to Green/Green. This way they can stay on station for a year or more without resupply. Their priority is to enforce the blockade.
c. The last BS goes in Hampton Roads to isolate Ft. Monroe (92% chance to block overland access) from ground assault and to help enforce the blockade of Richmond. So it's set to Blue Green. Eventually I send the Monitor and an Admiral there to counter the Virginia ironclad.
d. I build all of the Ocean Transports and place them in the Shipping Lanes box in one stack with the Merchant ships. This quickly pays for the investment. These are guarded by 4 Steam Frigates and a sail Frigate set to Green/Green, Evade Contact under the command of one of the 3-1-1 Admirals.
e. Finally, to prevent an assault on D.C. over the bridge from Alexandria, I place two Brig or Sail Frigate units (4 ships) in the Potomac river zone set to Blue/Green. Again, this only leaves an 8% chance for the rebels to get across.
f. I make and then send the 4 Ranger elements to Philly. There they embark on 4 brig units as my CW SEAL teams. You can split these up into 4 brig+Ranger combos to scout the CSA coast or land the Rangers to twist up RR lines or destroy depots. I use a flatboat to build a depot in the FL keys. Based there, these teams can operate rapidly against the entire CSA coast.
g. This leaves enough ships to assign Farragut, Foote and Dahlgren each a Task Force (TF) consisting of 4 Steam Frigates and a sail Frigate. Set to Orange/Orange, they can hunt CSA runners and raiders in the Atlantic/Gulf/Shipping Lanes boxes. Also based in the keys, they can quickly react to CSA sightings. According to several posts by Captain Orso, the TF gets a contact check when it enters and again when it leaves the box. So that is 3 extra chances per turn to locate the enemy.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!