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Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running during the Civil War (Studies in Maritime History Series) Paperback – August 1, 1991
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From Library Journal
From the profusion of books about Confederate blockade running, this one will stand out for a long time as the most complete and exhaustively researched. Though not unaware of the romantic aspects of his subject, Wise sets out to provide a detailed study, giving particular attention to the blockade runners' effects on the Confederate war effort. It was, he finds, tapping hitherto unused sources, absolutely essential, affording the South a virtual lifeline of military necessities until the war's last days. This book covers it all: from cargoes to ship outfitting, from individuals and companies to financing at both ends. An indispensable addition to Civil War literature. Thomas E. Schott, Office of History, Engineering Installation Div., Tinker AFB, Okla.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Carolina Press has published very little in history that is not above average. Unlike some readers I find no problem with the paperback binding, and the print is easy to read.
The South depended on the export of agricultural products, particularly cotton for trade for manufactured goods, especially war material to sustain the population and the war effort. The decision to blockade the Southern ports was as improtant to the Nothern victory as the Anaconda plan to squeexe the South geographically and contain its movements. And there was a large coastal area composed of the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the coast lacked means of transporting exports or imports to and from the coast, but a few major ports did a remarkable job during the first years of the war when the Uion had too few ships to effect a good blockade. Then things went bad for the South. Texas was lost which hurt the trade with Mexico, Vicksburg and other Mississippi River ports were closed and New Orleans was lost. The whole area of the Confederacy known as Kirby-Smith's Confederacy, the South west of the Mississippi was lost. The few ports that remained for the Confederacy were even more important. Confederate raiders such as the Alabama destroyed Northern commerce and the blockade runners brought as much as they could out of and into the South.
The hunger for cotton gave the blockaders extra motive for effectiveness. When an outbound ship with a load of cotton was captured the product was shipped North and the crew and officers profited. The effectiveness of the blockaders eventually took King Cotton from his throne and cost the South dearly. The importing of arms and powder was curtailed by the blockade effectiveness as much as the lack of product to exchanbge with Europe or the islands.
Blockade running vessels whioch were stoped by the Union nNavy became blockade vessels. The Union Navy's success in shutting ports limited the ability of the South to produce blockade runners and limited the necessary trade even more.
This book does not tell the marvelous st]ories that have been left for us of adventures on running the blockade, that is left for other books and writers. What this volume offers us in great detail is the equally interesting stories of how the blockade was managed by both sides.
Operating along the entire southern coast, from Hampton Rhodes to Galveston, these greyhounds made hundreds and hundreds of landings, proving the Union blockade quite porous for much of the war. As a result of their efforts and heroics, this massive Atlantic shipping venture provided all of the war material necessary to enable Lee and company to thwart Union advances for four long, weary years. Highlighted with numerous maps, some quite detailed, and listing the names of more than 300 blockade runners, this work analyses the impact of blockade running on the Southern war effort. This is a most complete and readable account.