Who Needs A Blockade? The Confederacy's May 1861 ' No Dolls And Toys ' Act

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,399
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#1
blockade runner wando.jpg

From Frank Leslie's, Blockade runner Wando, first named " Let Her Rip " was finally captured by Union forced in 1864. " About 8 o'clock she opened on her at long range with the 100-pounder rifle and forward 30-pounder, and continued firing until 10:30 -- firing 98 shells -when the Wando surrendered. She is a splendid iron steamer of about 600 tons, and very fast. The value of the steamer and her cargo is about $500,000. " 500,000? That's over 7 million today. But who needed a blockade? Goods allowed in the country were pretty limited.

Disclaimer here is I'm not posting this to cause contention or to ' make ' anyone around 150 look ' bad '. Both governments instituted policies that impacted civilians poorly and those who were made wealthy by the war owed allegiance to their bank, first. We hear a lot about the Blockade making life not only more primitive during a barbaric war but , as with vital goods like medicine, cruel. I'm always fascinated by the various creative and ingenius ways women especially took on the challenge of life with pretty much nothing. Herbs and nuts instead of medicine and coffee became a way of life. That darn Blockade- but wait.

act 1a.jpg

A few items were exempt, thankfully anything for medicinal purposes but also " gallons, laces, tresses ( I thought tresses were hair ), wings of gold and silver, knots and stars. " Also thankfully, soap. War gets smelly.

act 1 toys.jpg

Dolls and toys! You could have a fur hat from elsewhere- muffs? No. Also the whole hearth rug thing is a little amazing. And clocks ' and parts of clocks '.

act 1 velvet.jpg



Posting these are risky when you're not exactly conversant with era governments and what was and was not instituted by either. From Hathitrust, this both puzzles me and is a little delightful because the whole thing is so comprehensive. Goods we know were in short supply inside the Confederacy because there was a blockade weren't allowed in anyway? Again, being puzzled isn't the same thing as being critical. Love to know which men sat around a table one day and came up with the list.

act 2 gems.jpg

Who could enforce any of this? Where were the luxury goods police capable of tracking down where anyone's cameo brooch originated? I don't know. Seems to me a blue print for speculators, and a shopping list for anyone financing one of those ships running the Blockade. There's more to The Act, all along the same lines, you get the point with these few snips. Happy to link the whole thing.
 

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,689
Location
los angeles ca
#2
View attachment 302208
From Frank Leslie's, Blockade runner Wando, first named " Let Her Rip " was finally captured by Union forced in 1864. " About 8 o'clock she opened on her at long range with the 100-pounder rifle and forward 30-pounder, and continued firing until 10:30 -- firing 98 shells -when the Wando surrendered. She is a splendid iron steamer of about 600 tons, and very fast. The value of the steamer and her cargo is about $500,000. " 500,000? That's over 7 million today. But who needed a blockade? Goods allowed in the country were pretty limited.

Disclaimer here is I'm not posting this to cause contention or to ' make ' anyone around 150 look ' bad '. Both governments instituted policies that impacted civilians poorly and those who were made wealthy by the war owed allegiance to their bank, first. We hear a lot about the Blockade making life not only more primitive during a barbaric war but , as with vital goods like medicine, cruel. I'm always fascinated by the various creative and ingenius ways women especially took on the challenge of life with pretty much nothing. Herbs and nuts instead of medicine and coffee became a way of life. That darn Blockade- but wait.

View attachment 302201
A few items were exempt, thankfully anything for medicinal purposes but also " gallons, laces, tresses ( I thought tresses were hair ), wings of gold and silver, knots and stars. " Also thankfully, soap. War gets smelly.

View attachment 302199
Dolls and toys! You could have a fur hat from elsewhere- muffs? No. Also the whole hearth rug thing is a little amazing. And clocks ' and parts of clocks '.

View attachment 302200


Posting these are risky when you're not exactly conversant with era governments and what was and was not instituted by either. From Hathitrust, this both puzzles me and is a little delightful because the whole thing is so comprehensive. Goods we know were in short supply inside the Confederacy because there was a blockade weren't allowed in anyway? Again, being puzzled isn't the same thing as being critical. Love to know which men sat around a table one day and came up with the list.

View attachment 302202
Who could enforce any of this? Where were the luxury goods police capable of tracking down where anyone's cameo brooch originated? I don't know. Seems to me a blue print for speculators, and a shopping list for anyone financing one of those ships running the Blockade. There's more to The Act, all along the same lines, you get the point with these few snips. Happy to link the whole thing.
In the book " Bitterly Divided the South's inner Civil War" David Williams Da Capo Press; Williams discussed even that during late in the war there were " starvation parties" consisting of very expensive foods while civilians and soldiers starved.
Leftyhunter
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,172
#3
Ma'am - the utility of the blockade runners to support the war effort was not always maximized. I have often wondered if it would change any outcomes if it was. The flip side of that coin is if there were strictly enforced regulations on what items and %s of cargo could be imported, would as many runners be attempting to circumvent the blockade? If we lower the potential 'reward' variable of the 'risk vs reward' equation - do as many private investors gamble on a successful outcome? And high priced luxury items definitely maximized profits. Stiffer regulations might drive this to be an almost completely financed and controlled CSG endeavor. And relying on their own fiscal wherewithal will limit even further the size of the runner fleet.
23

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

Carronade

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Messages
4,409
Location
Pennsylvania
#4
So if a private shipowner managed to run the blockade and bring back his chosen cargo, the government claimed the right to arrest him, perhaps confiscate his ship and goods?

I suppose the rationale was that by using his own ship on his own business, he was somehow detracting from the nation's ability to serve the common cause; but he's not preventing the government or anyone else from importing weapons or necessities, except in the sense that he's not letting them use his ship. It's sort of socialistic, the idea that private property has to serve the national interest.
 

DaveBrt

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
2,329
Location
Charlotte, NC
#5
This was just a new government establishing the rules for importation of goods into the country. The details are to make it easy on the custom officials who were trying to decide which part of a cargo was allowed into the country. Every nation had such a list and a list of tariffs on the goods that were allowed in. The details of the list are curious, but the existence of the list is not.
 

Lubliner

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
1,104
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
#6
I found an interesting point of origin concerning the..."villainous traffic which is carried on by speculators under the plea of furnishing the people of the South with the prime necessities of life [that it] should be suppressed..."

And also next paragraph..."Since then other vessels have left our ports with cotton [against orders], some which have returned with coffee, salt, and other articles of merchandise, which the owners or their agents have disposed of at the most exorbitant prices to the citizens of this and adjacent States....thus confirming a suspicion which I had entertained and expressed, that frauds were perpetrated under the pretense of loyalty to the South...."

These are official complaints made by John Milton, Florida Governor to 4 important men in Richmond, Va. on August 18, 1862.
O. R. Series IV, Volume IL, page 57.
Lubliner.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,399
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#7
This was just a new government establishing the rules for importation of goods into the country. The details are to make it easy on the custom officials who were trying to decide which part of a cargo was allowed into the country. Every nation had such a list and a list of tariffs on the goods that were allowed in. The details of the list are curious, but the existence of the list is not.

Without claiming to know a thing about importing goods beyond the usual basics the whiftier among us absorb just hanging around this part of history, it seemed at first maybe the Confederacy felt they could be self contained? Quite a few items had their own industry already there, you could see where any country would wish to encourage ' buy local ' instead of imported goods. Some do seem baffling though! As in why bother with SO many restrictions, each necessitating enforcement- like clock parts!

Also without knowing whether or not it was true, could conjecture men making that list did not admit it to their wives.

The flip side of that coin is if there were strictly enforced regulations on what items and %s of cargo could be imported, would as many runners be attempting to circumvent the blockade

It's really confusing- read somewhere prices on those goods had built into them the ' what if ' a ship was captured- so whomever a runner's financier may be that person ( or group ) wasn't risking much- those that got through made it possible to absorb the staggering price of an entire, lost ship.
 

Lubliner

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
1,104
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
#8
I have seen some references to northern insurance policies increasing and underwriter costs going up, but I have never read much on any confederate counterpart. Surely they had some set 'stipend' in place?
Lubliner.
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,689
Location
los angeles ca
#9
Without claiming to know a thing about importing goods beyond the usual basics the whiftier among us absorb just hanging around this part of history, it seemed at first maybe the Confederacy felt they could be self contained? Quite a few items had their own industry already there, you could see where any country would wish to encourage ' buy local ' instead of imported goods. Some do seem baffling though! As in why bother with SO many restrictions, each necessitating enforcement- like clock parts!

Also without knowing whether or not it was true, could conjecture men making that list did not admit it to their wives.




It's really confusing- read somewhere prices on those goods had built into them the ' what if ' a ship was captured- so whomever a runner's financier may be that person ( or group ) wasn't risking much- those that got through made it possible to absorb the staggering price of an entire, lost ship.
My understanding is if a blockade runner is caught that is just a dead loss for whoever financed said blockade runner. Also one successful trip in and out of the Confederacy equals the break even point of whomever invested in said blockade runners. We can ask @AndyHall or @Mark F. Jenkins to confirm or deny the above.
Leftyhunter
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
12,882
Location
Central Ohio
#10
My understanding is if a blockade runner is caught that is just a dead loss for whoever financed said blockade runner.
That was the threat, yes. The result did depend on a court action, and if the court found the ship and/or cargo to be neutral-owned, it could be released back to the owners. (It happened, but not too often.) Runner crew and officers found to be foreign/neutral citizens were also released; this did not apply to anyone caught in CSN uniform (who was considered a POW and handled under those rules). Southern American citizens were in a gray area (no pun intended) but so long as they had not caused any additional trouble and were not owners or employed by the CS government or states they were usually released as well-- with the exception of pilots, where every excuse was resorted to in order to keep them under lock and key.

Also one successful trip in and out of the Confederacy equals the break even point of whomever invested in said blockade runners. We can ask @AndyHall or @Mark F. Jenkins to confirm or deny the above.
I've heard that said, but I'd imagine it would very much depend on the price of the ship and the value of the cargo. Certainly it wouldn't take too many runs.

Bear in mind the primary moneymaking leg of the trip was bringing cotton out, rather than anything in particular in. When bringing things in-- well, at the heart of it, it was a large-scale smuggling operation, and it's no real surprise that runners brought in what they could make a buck (or a pound) for, rather than what the Southern government wanted. The latter found that operating its own runners and purchasing or reserving space for specific war materiel was the only real way to control the situation.
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,689
Location
los angeles ca
#11
That was the threat, yes. The result did depend on a court action, and if the court found the ship and/or cargo to be neutral-owned, it could be released back to the owners. (It happened, but not too often.) Runner crew and officers found to be foreign/neutral citizens were also released; this did not apply to anyone caught in CSN uniform (who was considered a POW and handled under those rules). Southern American citizens were in a gray area (no pun intended) but so long as they had not caused any additional trouble and were not owners or employed by the CS government or states they were usually released as well-- with the exception of pilots, where every excuse was resorted to in order to keep them under lock and key.



I've heard that said, but I'd imagine it would very much depend on the price of the ship and the value of the cargo. Certainly it wouldn't take too many runs.

Bear in mind the primary moneymaking leg of the trip was bringing cotton out, rather than anything in particular in. When bringing things in-- well, at the heart of it, it was a large-scale smuggling operation, and it's no real surprise that runners brought in what they could make a buck (or a pound) for, rather than what the Southern government wanted. The latter found that operating its own runners and purchasing or reserving space for specific war materiel was the only real way to control the situation.
That was the threat, yes. The result did depend on a court action, and if the court found the ship and/or cargo to be neutral-owned, it could be released back to the owners. (It happened, but not too often.) Runner crew and officers found to be foreign/neutral citizens were also released; this did not apply to anyone caught in CSN uniform (who was considered a POW and handled under those rules). Southern American citizens were in a gray area (no pun intended) but so long as they had not caused any additional trouble and were not owners or employed by the CS government or states they were usually released as well-- with the exception of pilots, where every excuse was resorted to in order to keep them under lock and key.



I've heard that said, but I'd imagine it would very much depend on the price of the ship and the value of the cargo. Certainly it wouldn't take too many runs.

Bear in mind the primary moneymaking leg of the trip was bringing cotton out, rather than anything in particular in. When bringing things in-- well, at the heart of it, it was a large-scale smuggling operation, and it's no real surprise that runners brought in what they could make a buck (or a pound) for, rather than what the Southern government wanted. The latter found that operating its own runners and purchasing or reserving space for specific war materiel was the only real way to control the situation.
Good points. I would certainly speculate especially post Gettysburg Campaign that a complicating factor for blockade runners importing items into the Confederacy was that it did not behoove the blockade runners to accept Confederate currency. Instead they would only accept specie or US and or select foreign currencies.
Leftyhunter
 
Last edited:

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,399
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#12
Bear in mind the primary moneymaking leg of the trip was bringing cotton out, rather than anything in particular i

That's an aspect that hadn't occured to me, as in at all before running into a news story about 2 Federal officers who made some side-cash helping this along. It's so odd! Stories on Blockade runners tend to focus on bringing goods in, yes- almost never about getting out of there.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,399
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#13
Good points. I would certainly speculate especially post Gettysburg Campaign that a complicating factor for blockade runners importing items into the Confederacy was that it did not behoove the blockade runners to accept Confederate currency. Instead they would not accept specie or US and or select foreign currencies.
Leftyhunter

Thanks for calling in the experts! And yet another terrific question, too- how did foreign governments and businesses feel about Confederate currency?
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,689
Location
los angeles ca
#15
Thanks for calling in the experts! And yet another terrific question, too- how did foreign governments and businesses feel about Confederate currency?
Foreign governments certainly played a major role in assisting the blockade runners .
There are photographs of at least scores of blockade runners at various European Caribbean ports. Spain ,France and especially the UK were very aware of their Caribbean ports being crowded with blockade runners.Confederate currency ma of been acceptable very ear in the war. There were also cotton certificates entitling a blockade runner to purchase cotton at a very low price. I have a thread on how Mexico played a major role in subverting the blockade at least until the Union captured Brownsville,Tx.
Leftyhunter
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,399
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#16
Foreign governments certainly played a major role in assisting the blockade runners .
There are photographs of at least scores of blockade runners at various European Caribbean ports. Spain ,France and especially the UK were very aware of their Caribbean ports being crowded with blockade runners.Confederate currency ma of been acceptable very ear in the war. There were also cotton certificates entitling a blockade runner to purchase cotton at a very low price. I have a thread on how Mexico played a major role in subverting the blockade at least until the Union captured Brownsville,Tx.
Leftyhunter
This is so ridiculous, not understanding the role runners had with getting cotton out. Guessing 99 out of hundred ACW buffs know- just didn't occur to me, even sillier considering not long ago I looked into the history of a few ships at Vicksburg's wharf. One of them had the officers/selling cotton scandal attached. You'd have thought that'd make a coin drop and nope. And yes, I have some of those photos- without ascertaining why in blazes those ships were there. Duh.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
12,882
Location
Central Ohio
#17
There were even reportedly a few cases of runners arriving empty merely in order to pick up cotton, to give you an idea of where the runners' priorities were. (Too much is made, perhaps, of the support given by runners to the Confederacy. The CS state- and government-owned runners aside, they were in the business for strictly mercenary reasons-- even to the point of being happy when the Yankee blockaders caught their rivals, thereby helping drive up the cotton's selling price...)

This is not to say that there weren't patriotic Southerners in the business. But I would be surprised if they were anything close to a majority.

" Here's to the Southern planters who grow the cotton; to the Yankees that maintain the blockade and keep up the price of cotton; and to the Limeys who buy the cotton. So, three cheers for a long continuance of the war, and success to the blockade runners!"
-a blockade runner's toast
 



Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top