Civil War Blockade Papers

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USS ALASKA

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I've been slowly collecting papers on the Blockade - thought I would post them here for reference and discussion...

A Hard Blockade: The Union Navy and the Foundation of Union Hard War Policy
Blakeney K. Hill
Texas Christian University

"Any discussion of the Union blockade during the Civil War inevitably leads to the argument of whether or not it succeeded. The traditional back-and-forth arguments have involved dissections of capture rates, successful runs, and the total amount of goods which slipped through in endless statistical form. Marcus Price argues that the blockade’s success lay in its mere existence which deterred many ships and companies from even risking a run. There is also the argument that the blockade’s success lay in its psychological impact on the Confederacy. While each of the arguments for the blockade’s success have their merits and
faults, one aspect of the blockade remains markedly absent from most discussions: the role of the blockade in the formation and implementation of the Union’s hard war policy. Certainly the object of any blockade is not just to hurt the offending nation’s economy but also to limit the entrance of military supplies. The side effect of all of this, however, is that the necessities needed by the civilian populace will also be reduced, and while it may not have been the intention of the Lincoln administration for the blockade to affect civilians in such a drastic way, that was its most lasting effect."


http://filsonhistorical.org/wp-content/uploads/Hill-Blakeney-K.-A-Hard-Blockade-The-Union-Navy-and-the-Foundation-of-Union-Hard-War-Policy.pdf

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Collection: Master of Military Art and Science Theses
Title:
Naval blockade: a study of factors necessary for effective utilization.
Author:
Cunningham, David T.

Abstract: The
1986 Joint Staff Officer's Guide, AFCS Pub 1, identifies seven military mission options available to national leaders as possible solutions to deal with international problems. Of these seven options, two specifically involve the use of a naval blockade or quarantine. This study uses historical analysis to derive factors which merit consideration by political and military planners contemplating the employment of a naval blockade as a possible option. The study identifies characteristics which have contributed to the success of past naval blockades and focuses on characteristics that have been common to most successful applications of the naval blockade. The study analyzes 41 blockades or periods of blockades occurring between 425 B.C. and 1973. The study reviews these blockades in three distinct time periods: prior to 1600, during the age of sail from 1600 to 1860, and during the age of iron steel from 1866 to 1973. Additionally, two other blockades are reviewed in detail. These include the blockade of the South during the American Civil War and the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The study identifies 22 characteristics which were common to most blockades. The study also reveals 23 secondary characteristics which were also found to contribute to the success of blockades. Two factors were found to be utilized in virtually all successful blockades. The first of these two characteristics was the use of superior sea power by the blockading forces. The second of these characteristics was the use of operations ashore in conjunction with the blockade. These operations took the form of an invasion by ground forces, air strike, land campaign or the imminent threat that one of these operations might be used successfully. The study also includes a review of potential future trends in operations.

Publisher: Fort Leavenworth, KS : US Army Command and General Staff College,
Date: Original
1987-06-05
Dat: Digital
2008
Call number: ADA 185939
Release statement: Approved for public release; Distribution is unlimited. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the student-authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College or any other governmental agency. (References to these studies should include the foregoing statement.)
Repository: Combined Arms Research Library
Library: Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library
Date created:
2008-06-11
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Civil War Blockade-Running at Jupiter Inlet: 1861-1865
By Robert I. Davidsson

'While there were no land battles fought in the Palm Beaches during the Civil War, for nearly four years a deadly game of hide-and-seek, pitting Confederate and British blockade runners against U.S. Navy coastal patrol boats, was waged near the Jupiter Inlet and Narrows.

Navy “Official Records” list forty-seven blockade runners schooners, sloops, and steam-powered vessels as captured or destroyed between Cape Canaveral and Jupiter Inlet. A small flotilla of six Union gunboats on patrol along the southeast coast of Florida captured twenty-four vessels in the vicinity of the Jupiter Inlet.'


http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/uploads/file/Civil War Blockade-Running at Jupiter Inlet 1861-1865.pdf
91

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This Fraudulent Trade: Confederate Blockade-Running from Halifax During the American Civil War
Francis I.W. Jones

'The day after the American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, Queen Victoria proclaimed British neutrality and three days later President Lincoln announced a naval blockade of Southern ports. In the beginning the legislature of Nova Scotia at Halifax favoured the No rth as did the general populace because of their inherent dislike of slavery.' As the war progressed, Halifax became a haven for Confederate agents and prominent politicians and merchants became openly supportive of the Southern cause. Despite agreement that the po rt developed into an entrepot for the transshipment of goods from Britain to the primary blockade-running ports of Bermuda, Nassau and Havana, and a base for the repair and refuelling of blockade-runners, the claim that Halifax became a regular base of operations for Confederate blockade-runners, has been disputed by recent scholarship.'

It has been asserted that for the first three years of the war, although blockaderunners often stopped at Halifax to refuel, none, with a single exception, "had ever used the city as a site from which to run the blockade." Only when yellow fever plagued Nassau and Bermuda in the late summer of 1864, did Halifax briefly become the focal point for blockade-running.' There is no doubt that blockade-running increased in 1864 but blockaderunners operated out of Halifax before, during and after 1864.'


https://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol09/nm_9_4_35-46.pdf
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Collection: Master of Military Art and Science Theses
Title:
Unremitting vigilance: naval intelligence and the Union blockade during the American Civil War.
Author:
Dullum, John M.

Abstract: This
thesis investigates the role naval intelligence played in the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the American Civil War and examines intelligence support to blockade operations on the Atlantic coast between 1861- 1865. Discussion begins with an overview of intelligence in the age of sail and the Navy department's intelligence system at the beginning of the war. Included is a detailed look at intelligence as information, a process and a system including an examination of period sources and communication methods. It then proceeds to examine the role of intelligence on the blockade, discussing its impact on operations and effectiveness in stopping the fast, steam, and sail-driven Confederate blockade runners. Intelligence played a crucial role in the effectiveness of the blockade despite the fact that the Union was never able to completely interdict all maritime traffic from entering or leaving Southern ports. There were significant problems with intelligence on the blockade, especially in the realm of tactical intelligence and dissemination. This study investigates these problems as well as intelligence successes at a time when naval warfare was undergoing a dramatic transformation.

Series:
Command and General Staff College (CGSC) MMAS thesis
Publisher:
Fort Leavenworth, KS : US Army Command and General Staff College,
Date: Original
2000-06-02
Date: Digital
2000-06-02
Call number: ADA 384043
Release statement: Approved for public release; Distribution is unlimited. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the student-authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College or any other governmental agency. (References to these studies should include the foregoing statement.)
Repository: Combined Arms Research Library
Library: Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library
Date created:
2006-02-22
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Civil War Blockade Run Mail, 1861-65

Background: President Lincoln proclaimed the blockade of the southern coasts on April 19, 1861. Stretching from Virginia to Texas, the blockaded area encompassed over 3,500 miles of coastline and nearly 200 harbors and river openings, so the USA concentrated on the thirteen CSA deep water ports that could serve as effective transit points for supplies and mail. By early 1862, six of these ports had been captured by the USA before they could commence blockade running. By mid‐1862, New Orleans was also captured and Savannah was effectively closed. The remaining five ports were active in blockade running until they were captured late in the war, although Federal naval actions temporarily stopped blockade running at Charleston and Galveston. The blockade ended with the fall of Galveston on June 2, 1865.

http://www.rfrajola.com/swwestpex/swblock.pdf
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Blockade-Running in the Bahamas During the Civil War
by THELMA PETERS

THE OPENING of the American Civil War in 1861 had the same electrifying effect on the Bahama Islands as the prince's kiss had on the Sleeping Beauty. The islands suddenly shook off their lethargy of centuries and became the clearing house for trade, intrigue, and high adventure. Nassau, long the obscurest of British colonial capitals, and with an ordinarily poor and indifferent population, became overnight the host to a reckless, wealthy and extravagant crowd of men from many nations and many ranks. There were newspaper correspondents, English navy officers on leave with half pay, underwriters, entertainers, adventurers, spies, crooks and bums. Out-islanders flocked to the little city to grab a share of the gold which flowed like water. One visitor reported that there were traders of so many nationalities in Nassau that the languages on the streets reminded one of the tongues of Babel.

http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1945/45_1_02.pdf
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JPK Huson 1863

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Interesting information, thank you! We don't hear enough about the Blockade, how the runners functioned and who they were and who made an awful lot of cash. .

There seems to have been contention on how to deal with the Blockade. From 1863, typical article on objections to running goods out and in based mostly on devaluing currency.

North Carolina, which may skew things a little- NC tended to be odd man out on some topics.
blockade running 1863 nc.JPG


blockade running 1863 nc 2.JPG


blockade running 1863 nc 3.JPG
 
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There seems to have been contention on how to deal with the Blockade. From 1863, typical article on objections to running goods out and in based mostly on devaluing currency.
Cool article! One of my concerns with not allowing cotton back out through the blockade would be with the marketing of Confederate Cotton Bonds. Without the prospect of being able to redeem the bonds until the war was over, and then only if the South won, who is going to want to buy them by the time this clipping was published?
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The Ports of Halifax and Saint John and the American Civil War
by Greg Marquis

The economic and political history of the Canadian Maritimes during the 1860s is dominated by the question of Confederation and evolving strategies of adjustment and survival. The economic determinism of much historical writing views union with Canada in 1867 as a "gamble" by the ambivalent political and commercial elites of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to retain the economic vitality of the 1850s. Railways, both the proposed Western Extension of the European and North American from Saint John to the American border, and the long-sought Intercolonial Railroad to Canada East, were central to the political debates of 1864-1867.'

Imperial political and strategic factors, according to both contemporary and later observers, also played a role in the Confederation process. The American Civil War led to deteriorating relations between the US government on one hand, and Britain and its colonies on the other, that eventually helped abrogate the 1854 Reciprocity Treaty. Northern hostility towards Britain's perceived sympathy for the Confederacy; the British role in Confederate supply; and a series of border incidents, such as the St. Alban's raid of 1864, stirred Yankee enmity towards John Bull. The result was an invasion scare in the Canadas that affected both the political marketing and timing of Confederation.'

The Civil War, in addition to helping to revive the colonial militia, had a lasting physical impact on the harbours of Saint John and Halifax. The New Brunswick port, its defences long neglected, was provided with new batteries to be manned by volunteer artillery companies. Halifax, its historic citadel obsolete in the age of the ironclad and rifled artillery, was reinforced with new forts, batteries and rifled ordinance, eventually becoming one of the most heavily-defended harbours in the British Empire.'

Recent scholarship perpetuates a tendency to categorize the Civil War simply as background or a causal factor in establishing Canada's federal union, with the resultant political marginalization and economic underdevelopment of the Maritime provinces. The emphasis on social history also has led us away from understanding the war's overall significance to Maritimers in the 1860s. This paper offers an alternate perspective: that the Civil War, in the context of the Maritimes, is worth reexamining in its own right.'

Both Saint John and Halifax were involved with or influenced by three international incidents that compromised Anglo-American relations in the region: the Trent crisis of 1861-1862; the Chesapeake highjacking of 1863; and the cruise of the Confederate raider CSS Tallahassee and its famous escape from Halifax harbour in 1864. The most serious, the Trent affair, which involved the seizure of two Confederate envoys from a British packet by the United States Navy (USN), almost led to war. Even as the crisis was resolved by diplomacy, thousands of Imperial troops, together with munitions and supplies, were rushed to Canada overland through New Brunswick in Britain's last reinforcement of North America prior to withdrawing its major garrisons in 1871.5

Once war broke out, there was considerable discussion in political, newspaper and business circles of the conflict's impact on colonial trade, shipping and overall prosperity. As Maritime public opinion seemed to shift in favour of the Confederacy after Bull Run and the Trent incident, a hostile North was prone to exaggerate evidence of blockade running and other colonial involvement in supplying the Confederacy. A New York journal, for example, described New Brunswick's chief port as little more than "a group of huts, many of them inhabited by rogues who have made a few pennies since the war broke out by lending their names to blockade runners." The US consul at Saint John regretted that smuggling was "by no means inconsistent with the Bluenose mentality." Likewise, the popular history of Halifax portrays the city as a nest of Confederate sympathizers and blockade runners exploiting Nova Scotia's historic links with the West Indies, the linchpin in blockade running into Southern ports on the Atlantic.'

This essay, seeking to clarify the Civil War's impact on the two ports, poses three questions. First, how did the conflict influence trade, shipbuilding and shipping? Second, what role did Saint John and Halifax play in Confederate supply, both in a general sense and more directly through blockade running? Third, how often were the ports visited by the Union Navy and with what results? The chief sources are the contemporary press, dispatches from the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick governors to the Colonial Office, US Consular dispatches and the published records of the Union and Confederate navies.


https://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol08/nm_8_1_1-19.pdf
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Charleston Blockade The Journals of John B. Marchand, U.S. Navy 1861-1862
Edited with Commentary by Craig L. Symonds

This, in his own words, is the story of Comdr. John Bonnet Marchand, a story derived from his private sea journal and numerous official letters. The self-portrait which emerges is that of a serious man, piously religious, conscientious, dedicated, and competent. Yet, for all his dedication and competence, he was not a hero. His was not the stuff of heroes. He had an average intellect, an unprepossessing appearance, and normal human ambitions and weaknesses. If he were unique at all, it was in his own unforgiving sense of personal responsibility. Though he fulfilled a thankless task-maintaining the lonely vigil of blockade-he never complained except to chastise himself in his journal for his own unworthiness. When an illicit vessel succeeded in slipping through the blockade despite his watchfulness, it became the source of much self-recrimination.

Blockade duty in the Civil War was an assignment which Flag Officer Samuel F. Du Pont described as "the most onerous service in the world.'" Like dozens of other officers in the blockading squadrons, Marchand served for months on end without setting foot on land. He drove himself relentlessly, often going without rest or food in his pursuit of duty. He was not a hero, but he was typical of hundreds of other professional officers who were also nonheroes. He did his job to the best of his ability, and one could hardly ask for more.


Naval War College Press Newport, Rhode Island 1976

Scanned and electronically published by American Naval Records Society Bolton Landing, New York 2010

AS A WORK OF THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THIS PUBLICATION IS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.
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“A Vigorous blockade at every point: The Union Blockade of the Southern States”
By Robert M. Browning, U.S. Coast Guard


For centuries, blockades have been important instruments of warring nations, and when successful, gave an advantage to the country that implemented one. In April 1861, Abraham Lincoln announced he would institute a blockade of the Confederate coastline. Lincoln's call for a blockade, which created the need for a large navy, may have been his wisest wartime decision given the important role played by this service during the conflict

http://www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com/assets/files/pdf/ECWCTOPICNavalBlockadeEssay.pdf

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Carronade

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Lincoln's call for a blockade, which created the need for a large navy, may have been his wisest wartime decision given the important role played by this service during the conflict


I suppose that's true, but the "wise decision" seems like simple common sense - what government seeking to suppress rebellion wouldn't seek to cut off the rebels' access to overseas markets and supplies?

There is dispute whether terming it a blockade was the best choice, but the need to do it was obvious.
 
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The blockade includes controlling the Mississippi River. By the end of 1861 the United States controlled the river as far south as Cairo and Paducah. The blockade means that the slave trade can no longer be conducted by intercoastal shipping or river boats.
There are basic reasons that Scott advocated the Anaconda plan and the British were in favor of the blockade. Once Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana are partially and then fully isolated from the rest of the slave economy, growth of slavery pauses in those areas. In contrast, nothing prevents white farmers from leaving the south permanently or temporarily and setting up for a few years in the Midwest.
Moreover, the fact that some cotton gets through the blockade is not that big a problem. That cotton will end up in England or New England, and alleviate suffering. Meanwhile the US navy can capture some of the outbound cotton, and the nice blockade runner vessels.
 

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The blockade is asymmetrical warfare. The blockading fleet does not incur significant battle casualties. It also is one of the cleaner assignments, weather and boredom not withstanding. The blockade runners do not capture the blockaders, but the blockaders sometimes capture the cargoes and vessels attempting to run the blockade. Those captures are not sunk, but can be sold for profit, or converted to the blockading fleet.
Its costly to implement a blockade. The losses in men and material are not significant compared to the horrific land battles.
 

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Collection: Master of Military Art and Science Theses
Title:
Confederate defense of Charleston, South Carolina.
Author:
Stone, Howard L., III

Abstract: This
study investigates the defense of Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Civil War. Charleston, during this period, is unique because of the diversified nature the military operations that took place there. Combat took place both on land and on water involving fortifications, ironclads and other warships, obstructions, torpedoes, and a submarine. Amphibious, psychological, and mine warfare was practiced. This study examines why the city's defenses and military operations developed as they did. It analyses a series of operations from the Union defense of Fort Sumter through the occupation of Morris Island. The blockade is also examined. This study provides reasons for the success of the Confederate defense and failure of Union offensive actions. The story of Charleston is a good example of an effective defensive operation. Charleston was not captured but evacuated when threatened by Sherman’s army. The example of Charleston also makes a strong case for joint military planning and operations. A detailed physical description of Charleston, an explanation of marine navigation during the period, and historical precedents are also presented to enhance an understanding of the operations examined.

Series:
Command and General Staff College (CGSC) MMAS thesis
Publisher:
Fort Leavenworth, KS : US Army Command and General Staff College,
Date: Original
1992-06-05
Date: Digital
2007
Award winner:
Arter-Darby Military History Writing Award
Call number:
ADA 258517
Release statement : Approved for public release; Distribution is unlimited. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the student-authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College or any other governmental agency. (References to these studies should include the foregoing statement.)
Repository: Combined Arms Research Library
Library: Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library
Date created:
2007-11-30
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Blockade Runners of the Confederate Government
By Serge Nairsain
Adapted in English by Gerald Hawkins


In early 1863, Bulloch had suggested to the Secretary of the Navy Mallory that the Government build its own fleet of fast light draft blockade runners to escape the “killing prices on private steamers”. In his letter of November 25, 1863, to the same, he recalls his former suggestion and adds: “If the Navy Department would take blockade runner business into its own hands, it might soon have a fleet of formidable swift steamers at work, so constructed as to have their engines and boilers well protected (...) The beams and decks of the steamers could be made of sufficient strength to bear heavy deck loads without exciting suspicion (...) When two or three of the vessels happened to be in harbour at the same time, a few hours would suffice to mount a couple of heavy guns on each, and at night or at early dawn, a successful raid might be upon the unsuspecting blockaders (...) After a raid or cruise, the vessels could be divested of every appliance of war, and (...) could bring out cargoes of cotton to pay the expenses of the cruise, or to increase the funds of the Government abroad”.52

As it became impossible to build Confederate warships in England after the "Alexandra Case” and the seizure of the Laird rams and Clyde steamers contracted by Commander J.H. North and Lieutenant G.T. Sinclair, it was clear for Bulloch that the next solution would be to build unsuspected merchant vessels in the British yards and to arm and fit them out as gunboats in a Southern port.

http://chab-belgium.com/pdf/english/Blockade Runners2.pdf
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Polloco

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I've read several articles on tbe subject of the cotton economy. I still cant get a clear picture of the "why". Could one of you learned people out there help me u derstand just what was the incintive to purchase bonds. Granted patriotism was flying high at one time, but that fizzled and pure old greed seemed to take over.
 
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