Civil War Blockade Papers

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wausaubob

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The blockade includes the innovative campaign to bypass the Confederate strong points and hit the Confederate weak points on the internal rivers.
Shutting down the direct trade to New York, closing the Mississippi as far as Cairo, then capturing the Confederacies largest port, left a very restricted Confederate economy.
The willingness of the Confederate leadership to try to turn the Confederacy into a 19th century Sparta is not forgiveable.
 

DaveBrt

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The success of the blockade depends on clearing the western Gulf, getting over the Head of the Passes and eventually conquering New Orleans and taking its wharves and railroad connections.
While the press was debating the merits of the Anaconda, the navy put their best man in the Western Gulf, and sent the mortar scows to New Orleans.
The western Gulf had no impact in the success of the armies east of the Mississippi (we had a thread on that recently and no one could show any meaningful amount of blockade run supplies that made it across the river).

The capture of NO was a great morale upper/downer, but was not a war changer (despite the book The Night the War was Lost). There were no RR connections that mattered there. Holding the Head of the Passes negated NO's connections to the outside world. The Union naval forces headed south on the upper Mississippi would have had the same impact on the war that they had with the addition of the Gulf Squadron. Yes, its nice to take NO, but it was more problem than prize.
 

USS ALASKA

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Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks
By W. Craig Gaines

I wanted to write this book on Civil War shipwrecks from the time I was in the sixth grade. When I began, I thought there would just be a few hundred shipwrecks, but I was wrong. This book covers more than two thousand American or American Civil War period–related shipwrecks between the years 1861 and 1865. It is likely that I failed to find information on a few shipwrecks, but I feel confident that the vast majority of wrecks related to the Civil War are included. For some shipwrecks I found very limited information, while in the case of others there is much published and unpublished material.

http://scubagonewild.com/documents/Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks - (Malestrom).pdf
1065

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USS ALASKA
 
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DaveBrt

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Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks
By W. Craig Gaines

I wanted to write this book on Civil War shipwrecks from the time I was in the sixth grade. When I began, I thought there would just be a few hundred shipwrecks, but I was wrong. This book covers more than two thousand American or American Civil War period–related shipwrecks between the years 1861 and 1865. It is likely that I failed to find information on a few shipwrecks, but I feel confident that the vast majority of wrecks related to the Civil War are included. For some shipwrecks I found very limited information, while in the case of others there is much published and unpublished material.

http://scubagonewild.com/documents/Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks - (Malestrom).pdf
1065

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USS ALASKA
This is a copyrighted book. I don't think you should be posting the entire book here.
 
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DaveBrt

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An anti-blockade view to go with post #15...

A Naval Sieve: The Union Blockade in the Civil War
William N. Still Jr

https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4844&context=nwc-review
1158


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USS ALASKA
Still repeats the old line that no battle was lost because the Confederacy was short of arms or equipment.

As always, this ignores the thousands of men sent home from the call up of Tennessee men in 1861. The Governor, Harris, sent them home because he had no weapons for them and the Confederacy could not provide weapons. What would the impact have been if another 35,000 men had been armed and in the western army in Jan. '62?

The lack of appropriate heavy guns was clearly felt in New Orleans, the NO forts, the Mississippi fleet, Vicksburg in '62, etc. Imports would have improved this situation and might have changed the outcome of some battles.

But the main problem was the lack of a purchasing and paying system for the Confederate government in '61 and much of '62. There was no reason for companies to build weapons on speculation and ship them to the CSA -- again, on speculation. Manufacturers wanted concrete orders and payment methods, regardless of any blockade.

In my opinion, the reason the railroads and iron workers did not get their act together and deal as major powers in the market to order supplies from Europe was the immaturity of the railroad and iron industry companies in regard to international trade. The RRs had bought iron rails from England, but nothing else. The idea of ordering a common rail, arranging financing, arranging shipping, buying and setting up rolling plants, etc. was just beyond what 120 small railroads could put together at this stage in their growth. The blockade made it more difficult, but was not the sole logistical problem that the South faced in getting the support it needed from Europe.
 

wausaubob

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On the arms and equipment issue, I agree with @DaveBrt. After Vicksburg, whether Confederate regiments in the west were adequately armed is unsettled. Throughout the war, whether percussion caps and artillery fuses were available in adequate amounts is unclear.
 

wausaubob

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The major issue with the blockade is cotton not getting out to New York, or not getting to England at all, beginning in 1862. Cotton cannot get out and food cannot get into the Confederacy. Several Confederate campaigns were affected by the need to feed the soldiers and forage the livestock outside the Confederacy, and by the collapse of the Confederate subsistence economy.
The blockade includes control of the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, which leads to US control over Kentucky and most of Tennessee.
 
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DaveBrt

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The major issue with the blockade is cotton not getting out to New York, or not getting to England at all, beginning in 1862. Cotton cannot get out and food cannot get into the Confederacy. Several Confederate campaigns were affected by the need to feed the soldiers and forage the livestock outside the Confederacy, and by the collapse of the Confederate subsistence economy.
The blockade includes control of the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, which leads to US control over Kentucky and most of Tennessee.
Almost all the subsistence problems were actually transportation problems. There was enough to be had, but it had to be moved hundreds of miles to meet the need. Cattle from Texas and Florida, sugar from Louisiana and Texas, corn from southwestern Georgia -- all were there is significant amounts, but could not be moved rapidly to Richmond and the ANV.
 

wausaubob

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The writer suggests that the United States blockade was rickety. Although that could be the words of the writer of the synopsis, not the author.
However if the blockade was so pourous, why, as British Foreign Secretary Russel questioned, were the Confederates so urgently trying to have British break it?:bounce:
 
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USS ALASKA

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For fans of Dr. Surdam @DaveBrt / @JohnDLittlefield - his paper prior to the book...

Naval War College Review
Volume 51
Number 4 Autumn Article 7
1998
The Union Navy's Blockade Reconsidered
by David G. Surdam

This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Journals at U.S. Naval War College Digital Commons. It has been accepted for inclusion in Naval War College Review by an authorized editor of U.S. Naval War College Digital Commons. For more information, please contact [email protected].

4.jpg


https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2813&context=nwc-review
1360

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USS ALASKA
 

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wausaubob

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See page 20. Louisville, St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, Norfolk, contained almost all of what could have been the Confederacy's ship building capacity. Once they were gone, it was like eliminating the other opponents aircraft industry. Ships that never get built don't have to be sunk or captured.
 

wausaubob

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One issue was how much stuff could come in through the blockade. But the other issue most likely was what prices were offered by English and Scottish suppliers, compared to the New York suppliers, and on what terms: gold on the spot?
The United States and the English were more than happy to have the Confederacy emptied of its cotton and its gold. The end of the process, if maintained for long could only be hyper inflation.
 
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wausaubob

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The blockade is the main topic. The English and Scottish limited companies that were financing the blockade runners wanted the Confederacy to stagger on. They were making a good deal of money on the commerce, and the US cotton economy was headed towards a tremendous smashing, which could only help British Empire cotton, as well as the Egyptians and the Ottomans. The British believed the African/Americans were dying in large numbers and US cotton was going to permanently disappear. At the conclusion of the Civil War, lots of people bought up US cotton, thinking the supply would remain low for decades.
As Mr. Calhoun notes, by 1867 that was demonstrated not to be the case.
https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1
The African/Americans were much more resiliant then the English estimated. Texas was undamaged by the Civil War. The US economy repaired the railroads and ports much faster than anyone expected possible. By 1867 the British speculators had a rude awakening.
 

wausaubob

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As for the blockade itself, when the outer forts at Mobile Bay fell, Atlanta fell less than 1 month later, because Sherman's right flank was safe. The unfortunate souls of the Confederate Army of Tennessee ceased to exist as fighting force less four months later.
In North Carolina, when Warren extended the break in the Weldon railroad southward in December 1864, and Butler failed again to achieve his assignment, Grant got rid of Butler and tried again. Butler's cotton purchasing operation was closed, and by the middle of January 1865, the outer forts of Wilmington were closed too. General Lee's position at Petersburgh collapsed and the army surrendered within three months. By the time General Lee surrendered many of the Confederates had discarded their rifles, which supports the inference that they were out of ammunition.
 

wausaubob

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The implication is that the British and American cotton buyers kept the Confederacy on its feet for an additional 15 months, for private profit reasons. The two ports that were allowed to remain open were shipping cotton to New England and old England, and other places, and the people making money on that cotton were prolonging the war. Grant was thwarted for 1 year in getting Mobile closed to blockade running. When he had full strategic control of the war, which did not happen until August of 1864, both Mobile and Wilmington were closed.
 
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USS ALASKA

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One issue was how much stuff could come in through the blockade.
One of the hardest hits the South took due to the blockade was the forcing of intra-Confederate commerce off the cheaper and convenient water routes and onto land passages.
1471

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wausaubob

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One of the hardest hits the South took due to the blockade was the forcing of intra-Confederate commerce off the cheaper and convenient water routes and onto land passages.
1471

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USS ALASKA
Something happened when Mobile Bay was closed and then Atlanta fell to the United States. At that point deep south cotton had to get to Wilmington to get out. If it did get to Wilmington, it was competing with Texas cotton. The Texans were running their own system and whether they were supporting the Confederacy or Texas is unknown. At the same time US cotton could flow north from Memphis, or into the world economy from New Orleans.
The last price bubble on cotton deflated in August of 1864. It is hard to tell why, but western cotton from the US, from a variety of sources was becoming available without the extreme handling costs.
 
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