- Oct 22, 2012
It seems to me that the north had its own resources in supplying long arms and most manufactured goods including ships, artillery and iron works. The British and the French were apparently willing to apply "neutral" to selling ships & other products to both Denmark and Prussia when they went to war. Both countries aspired to Empire and their commercial interests (big banks, industrial concerns) had their beginnings in the mercantile system where other nations and possessions were the basic source for supplying raw materials which the parent country turned into finished products for resale to the source nations. The movers and shakers in Britain were well aware that the south had very long odds in "winning". Imagine yourself in the diplomatic corps in London reading reports from your Consuls. They were doing business with a "country" that should have been able to easily feed its own population, but lacked the infrastructure to distribute the goods. As pointed out on this board, late in the war Wilmington became a hub for distribution of imported food for Lee's army. Take the city or cut the rail line out of the city and the deterioration of Confederate forces holding Richmond accelerated. From the Confederate viewpoint, the function of the runners changed based upon the needs of the Army. And availability of cotton to entice the private runners into taking the growing risks of the blockade began to disappear. In turn the need for Confederate government runners increased in terms of supplying military and medical goods. At some point the wealthy class capable of purchasing civilian goods at huge prices would begin to be tapped out unless they had banked funds in Britain or France to draw upon. Also production of their basic goods began to dry up as labor forces deteriorated and the means for transporting cotton to the declining number of runner ports either disappeared or were monopolized by military necessity.