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Civil War blockade-runner

The blockade runners of the American Civil War were seagoing steam ships that were used to make their way through the Union blockade that extended some 3,500 miles along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines and the lower Mississippi River. To get through the blockade these ships had to cruise by undetected, usually at night. If spotted the runners would then attempt to outmaneuver or simply outrun any Union ships on blockade patrol. The typical blockade runners were privately owned vessels often operating with a letter of marque issued by the Confederate States. These vessels would carry cargoes to and from neutral ports often located in Nassau and Cuba where neutral merchant ships in turn carried these cargoes, usually coming from or destined to England or other points abroad. Inbound ships usually brought badly needed supplies and mail to the Confederacy while outbound ships often exported cotton, tobacco and other goods for trade and revenue while also carrying important mail and correspondence to suppliers and other interested parties in Europe, most often in England. Some blockade runners made many successful runs while many others were either captured or destroyed. Estimates vary somewhat among historians but almost all indicate that approximately 2500-2900 attempts were made to run the blockade with at least an 80% success rate. By the end of the Civil War the Union Navy had captured more than 1,100 blockade runners and had destroyed or run aground another 355 vessels.[1][2]


When the American Civil War broke out on April 12, 1861 the newly formed Confederate States of America had no ships to speak of in its navy. In the months leading up to the war the Confederate government was well aware of the naval supremacy of the north and sought the help of Great Britain, which had great interests in the plantations of the South.[3] The British became the primary ship builders and sources of supply for the Confederate government for the duration of the civil war. Several courses of action soon developed.

In 1861 the Southern fleet only consisted of about 35 ships, of which 21 were steam driven.[4] The Confederacy was also in dire need of many basic supplies and without the resources of the industrial north it had to look to other venues for its supplies. Coming to their aid, an experienced and former U.S. naval captain, Raphael Semmes[lower-alpha 1], devised a plan for which to thwart the naval supremacy of the North. He proposed a militia of privateers which would both strike at the North's merchant ships and which would provide supplies to the south by out running or evading the ships of the Union blockade. Confederate President Jefferson Davis approved of the plan.

On April 15 President Lincoln issued his first proclamation, calling out 75,000 troops in response to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter On April 17 Davis issued a proclamation, offering a letter of marque to anyone who would offer their ship in the service of the Confederacy.[6][7] To this end British investors were the most prolific in offering such aid. The North refused to recognize the sovereignty of the Confederacy along with its right to issue letters of marque and in little time on April 19, Lincoln issued a second proclamation, threatening the Confederacy with a blockade along its coastlines.[8][9] i.e.Scott's Anaconda plan extended along the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico coastlines and up into the lower Mississippi River.[10][11] Lincoln's proclamation also contained a threat that any actions against the Union by crews of ships acting under a Confederate letter of marque would be treated as pirates and subject to prosecution for such crimes, which usually called for the death penalty. In response Davis countered with threats of retaliation while the British also proclaimed its refusal to concur with Lincoln's proclamation in nearby Nassau and its territorial waters.[12][13][14]

Blockade-run mail to New Orleans via Nassau, stamped incoming ship 10-cents postage due

Lincoln's proposed blockade was met with mixed criticism among some of his contemporaries. Thaddeus Stevens angrily referred to it as a great blunder and a absurdity arguing that we were blockading ourselves and in the process would be recognizing the Confederacy as a belligerent of war.[15]

Soon after Lincoln announced the blockade, the profitable business of running supplies through the blockade to the Confederacy began.[16] At first the actual blockade was slow to materialize as the task of patrolling thousands of miles of coastline was enormous —- the blockade considered by some to be little more than a 'paper blockade'. Wilmington wasn't blockaded until July 14, 1861, three months after Lincoln's proclamation.[17]

An enormous naval industry evolved which brought great profits for shipbuilders, shippers and suppliers alike. Throughout the conflict mail was carried also by blockade runners to and from ports in the West Indies Nassau and Bermuda .[18]

But soon Federal forces began to more effectively enforce the coastal blockade and established squadrons at the various Southern ports while also setting up roving patrols just outside British territorial waters in the Caribbean, most notably in the Bahamas. As the risk of capture or destruction increased, amateur blockade runners began to cease operations with most of the trade now being handled by courageous sea captains who were soon using specially made steamers that allowed them to evade or outrun Union ships on blockade patrol.[11][19]

Union Blockade

1861 characterized map of Scott's blockade plan.

Realizing the war would not be won quickly with a couple of decisive battles the Union military strategy was designed by General Winfield Scott who developed a naval strategy that would play a crucial role. It was Scott who devised the famous Anaconda plan that employed a naval blockade around the coastline of the Confederacy with the idea of adversely affecting its economy and supply lines. Because of the thousands of miles of coastline with its many rivers, bays and inlets, the blockade proved largely ineffectual during the first couple of years of the war.[20] [lower-alpha 2] This allowed blockade runners to import military supplies to the Confederacy with relative ease. Deliveries of armaments and military supplies to the South and cotton to England, were coordinated by military agents like Major Walker, who played a key role for the Confederacy. Walker also served as fiscal agent.[22] Lincoln's proclamation raised issues with England and other powers relating to international law.[23] In the midst of a naval blockade the Confederacy received an almost steady supply of arms and other goods from Europe along with mail. At the same time it was exporting cotton and other commodities to France and England whose textile industries were greatly dependent on these southern exports. Outgoing runners would also carry mail.[24][25]

During the course of the civil war most of the attempts to run the blockade succeeded, but as the months passed the captains and crews on blockade patrol became more seasoned and grew wiser to the various tactics employed by blockade runners. During the last two years of the war the only vessels capable of getting though the blockade were the blockade runners that were specifically designed for speed.[26][27]

During the first year of the war the southern ports in the Gulf of Mexico experienced a great deal of blockade running activity. In the first ten months New Orleans, the largest cotton port in the world, gave port to more than 300 blockade runners. When New Orleans fell to Union forces on April 25, 1862 the center for blockade running activity shifted to Mobile, Alabama. With New Orleans and the Mississippi river secured the blockade efforts along the Gulf coast were greatly increased, forcing blockade runners to use the port at Galveston. When Mobile came under siege in the Summer of 1864, all activity there moved to Galveston. Blockade runners there were now using Havana as a stopover point for transferring cargoes to and from neutral ships.[28]

Supplying the Confederacy

The newly formed Confederate States was not officially recognized by the various foreign powers, a situation that led the seceded states to seek the aid of various private shipping companies and other businesses. To handle its important supply dealings and various business affairs the Confederacy turned to John Fraser & Company, a well known, patriotic and respected Charleston based importing and exporting company which was well connected in England, France and elsewhere.[29] Established in 1835, John Fraser (Sr.) turned the business over to his son, John Augustus Fraser and his senior partner George Alfred Trenholm who would later become Confederate Secretary of the Treasury.[30] The company operated out of Liverpool and New York. By 1860 the company had five seagoing vessels, among them the Kate, the Cecil and the Herald,[31] making shipping runs from Liverpool to New York and Charleston and back again. When the southern states seceded from the Union it opened the door to even greater business and in little time nearly all of their business was with the Confederate states.[32] The firm of Fraser, Trenholm and Company in Liverpool became the common connection for the Confederacy's naval and financial institutions in Europe.[33]

Prior to the actual battles of the war John Fraser & Company had already begun negotiations for steamship service between England and points along the southern coast of the Confederacy. Taking advantage of the fact that neither side was fully prepared for war Trenholm and his partners began shipping arms from Liverpool and New York to Charleston. The state of South Carolina was the buyer for these first shipments which in turn sold them to the Confederacy for a substantial profit.[34]

Before war broke out military arms for the Confederacy were in short supply. There was also little gunpowder stored among the seceded states and the availability of fuses and percussion caps was also in very limited supply, the caps in the south amounting to only a half a million. There was no machine to produce them in any of the Confederate States. Powder supplies in Florida were so low that in April 1861 General John B. Grayson warned Jefferson Davis in Richmond:

"As sure as the sun rises, unless cannon powder, etc, be sent to Florida in the next
thirty days, she will fall into the hands of the North. Nothing human can prevent it."

The same urgent demand for military ordnance and supplies was dispatched to Richmond from every military center throughout the south. Because of the incursions of the Union Army the Confederate navy was also in very short supply of coal, the only sources being located in North Carolina and Alabama.[35]

At this time the Confederate government depended almost entirely on privately owned blockade runners. However the Confederacy had enough foresight to realize that it needed its own vessels bringing in supplies. Acting for the Confederate Navy Department James Bulloch began procuring vessels in Europe, most notably the Fingal which made its famous run into Savannah carrying 10 thousand Enfield rifles, 1 million cartridges, 2 million percussion caps, 400 barrels of powder along with swords, revolvers and other military supplies.[36]

Central figures

Coordinating the business affairs of the Confederacy with shipbuilders, purchasing agents, suppliers and shippers in Liverpool, Nassau, Wilmington and other ports involved the concerted efforts of a number of notable men and shipping companies. Foremost in this effort was Major Josiah C. Gorgas and Fraser, Trenholm and Company who worked closely with Gorgas and Confederate Naval Secretary and other agents of the Confederacy.[37]

Major Josiah C. Gorgas

Josiah C. Gorgas Because the south lacked the industrial resources of the North it was forced to seek military supplies from other, often overseas, sources. Blockade runners became the chief means of supplying the blockaded Confederacy. Ships of the Confederate Navy used for running the blockaded were employed by Confederate Chief of Ordnance, Major Josiah C. Gorgas, a West Point graduate of 1841 who prior to the war had worked in the United States Ordnance Bureau and who served in nearly every arsenal in the nation. While working in the south he became sympathetic to the secessionist movement and eventually sided with the Confederacy, becoming the head of the Confederate Ordnance Bureau. Gorgas liaised with Charles Prioleau who headed Trenholm's Liverpool office, arranging for the shipping of arms and other supplies to the Confederacy. Most of the arms sent to the Confederacy departed from Liverpool. During the summer of 1861 Gorgas stockpiled supplies and prepared his first load of cargo while Trenholm company procured a suitable ship for the voyage. A 1,200 ton iron-hulled steamer, the Bermuda, was chosen to make the voyage.[38]

Caleb Huse To coordinate the business and the buying of weapons and supplies in England Gorgas relied on agents Captain Caleb Huse and Major Edward C. Anderson. Under Gorgas' direction Huse served as an arms procurement agent and purchasing specialist, well known for his successful acquisition of weapons contracts with various European nations including the United Kingdom and Austria, among others. Anderson was also sent to aid Huse and check on his activity.[39]

Huse arranged the sale and procurement of rifles and other ordnance from the London Armoury Company which became the chief supplier of arms to the Confederacy throughout the war. By February 1863 the Armoury had shipped over 70,000 rifles to the Confederacy.[38][40] Huse was also owner of several seagoing steamers used in blockade running and made several trips to Europe and back aboard these vessels.[41] While in Europe Huse represented the Confederate War Dept and Ordnance Bureau throughout the entire war and also arranged for credit and the shipping of supplies when funds were short.[42] These men also acted as liaisons with Charles Prioleau of Trenholm company in Liverpool, England. Through him they would procure the ships and arrange for the shipment of these goods to the Confederacy. Bulloch would work in close correspondence with Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory in the procurement of several British made blockade running vessels.[38][43]

James Dunwoody Bulloch, the half-brother of the a notable CSA officer, Irvine Bulloch, was the Confederacy's chief foreign agent in Great Britain. Inside two months after the attack on Fort Sumter, Bulloch arrived at Liverpool where he established his base of operations. As his first order of business he made contact with Confederate Commissioners the Hon. William Yancy and the Hon. Dudly Mann in London. After being welcomed they discussed the diplomatic situation as they had not been officially received by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as the Confederate government had not permanently established themselves as an independent foreign power.[44] Bulloch then established a relationship with the shipping firm of Fraser & Trenholm where he arranged a conference with Fraser-Trenholm officials who were the designated financial agents of the new Confederate government.[45] They arranged the buying and selling of cotton and were ultimately responsible for shipping approximately seven-eights of all the cotton exported from the Confederate States during the war.[46] Bulloch also arranged for the building and purchase of the Florida, the Alabama and the Shenandoah. In 1863 Bulloch contracted with the Laird shipyard for the construction of two iron clad rams to be used against the Union blockade. However, if it could be proven that the commission to build these ships was in violation of Britain's neutrality law, the ships could be seized. The Union's minister to Britain, Charles F. Adams, tried to do just that but could only gather circumstantial evidence as Bulloch went through great lengths to conceal his movements. Adams threatened the British government with reprisal, that if the rams escaped that the United States would consider it an act of war. After further consideration British authorities seized the two vessels and from that point on kept a close watch on Bulloch and other such propositions made by the Confederate government, forcing the Confederacy to turn to the French for future commissions.[47] Following that turn of events Bulloch then commissioned a shipbuilder in France to construct the Stonewall, an other armored ram.[48][49] John Newland Maffitt On 11 April 1862, George W. Randolph, the new Confederate Secretary of War appointed John Maffitt, an officer of the Confederate Navy[50] and a notorious privateer with a long success record, to be the acting agent in Nassau for the Confederacy. Nassau was one of several off shore stopover points for shipments coming into or leaving the Confederate States. Maffitt's duties were broad. "You are authorized to take entire control of all vessels loaded with arms and munitions for the Confederate States." Maffitt's duties included selecting ports of entry and discharging and replacing officers and crews as needed. His only condition was that he first confer with Louis Heylinger, Confederate agent in Nassau.[51] Maffitt would later be given command of the CSS Albemarle.[52]

Blockade runners

CS Ella & Annie

The ships employed in blockade-running were almost all privately owned, many of them built by the British or French who sought to maintain trade with the southern states. The Confederate government only had about eleven ships of its own that were employed in the blockade-running effort. Among the most famous blockade runners was the CSS Robert E. Lee a Scottish built iron-hulled, steamer which was eventually captured by Union forces in 1863 [53] and the privately owned SS Syren which made a record 33 successful runs through the Union blockade.[54][55] The blockade runners had a specific function in the handling of cargoes headed for the Confederacy. Purchases of supplies made in England were first shipped to Nassau in the bottoms of British vessels where the cargoes would be transferred to blockade runners, ships of lighter draft and greater speed. From Nassau they would make their way to Wilmington, Charleston and Savannah. Lewis Heylinger of New Orleans was the agent and representative in Nassau for the Confederacy throughout the war. His job was to coordinate the transferring of cargoes arriving from England to the blockade runners and then arrange for shipping to the Confederacy.[56][57]

Wilmington on the Cape Fear River

Charleston Harbor
See also
First and Second Battles of Charleston Harbor

Mobile Bay

The first outbound blockade runner to elude the blockade made its way to Nassau, landing there on December 5, 1861. Blockade runners would typically export cotton to Nassau where it would be stored, then transferred to a neutral ship and sent to England, usually Liverpool.[38] By the end of the war, 397 ships sailed from the Confederacy to Nassau, and 588 went from Nassau to the Confederacy.[58]

Oftentimes vessels departing from various ports in Bermuda ran to Wilmington and Charleston from where most of the supplies were then shipped by rail to Augusta, the main depot for the Western armies, or to Richmond, the main eastern depot. Imports shipped to Galveston were also sent by rail to Houston. By 1863 Union attacks along the Confederate coast made running the blockade more difficult, forcing blockade runners to use other ports besides those at Wilmington, Charleston and Savannah. After the capture of New Orleans in 1862 the ports in Mobile and Galveston were the next choice, used in conjunction with Havana as a transfer point.[28][59]

Unlike Charleston and Savannah, Wilmington was the central depot for blockade runners throughout the most of the civil war. The union made several attempts to stop the ships coming and going but it proved to be a great and futile effort as the blockade runners were built for speed. This was made plainly evident on December 23, 1864 when the largest Union fleet ever to assemble in the Atlantic attacked Fort Fisher a massive fortification protecting the Cape Fear River entrance and Wilmington. While the fleet of 125 Men-of-war and transports were blockading the harbor an incoming blockade runner tactfully passed through the fleet and took refuge up river. The last blockade runner to make its way into Wilmington's port was the SS Wild Rover, on January 5. The fort was attacked a second time on January 13, 1865 and after a two day siege was captured on January 15 by the Union Army and Navy.[60] Several blockade runners previously docked up river managed to escape in the midst of battle. Prior to the capture of the fort Rear Admiral Porter in command of the eastern flotilla wrote to the war department,

"Blockade running seems almost as brisk as ever, the new class of blockade runners are very fast and sometimes come in an play around our vessels, they are built entirely for speed.[61]

Eventually, Union attacks were also being made along the Bermuda coast, where Union men-of-war ships often seized neutral vessels and their cargoes. This outraged Lewis Heyliger who was appointed by the Treasury of the Confederacy as head of the "depository" of Confederate funds in Nassau. Among his chief duties was to arrange and coordinate shipments of cotton and tobacco to England and to organize and conduct the purchase of incoming cargoes.[62][63]

The first blockade-runners

Soon after Lincoln's proclamation blockade-runners were being produced, lighter vessels specifically designed to evade and outrun Union ships on blockade patrol. Many of the vessels were built in English ship yards and were designed to be used as fast transports for dispatch purposes, carrying important (often business) correspondence and light cargoes. Inbound vessels carried general mail and other correspondence and typically imported firearms, military ordnance, and paper, a simple commodity that was scarce throughout the agrarian south and badly needed by the Confederate government and general population.[64]

The Confederate Navy had a small number of its own seagoing ships used in blockade running efforts, but most of the ships employed were privately owned vessels. Many of these ships were built and designed in England by various shipping companies and other interested parties for the express purpose of getting through the blockade quickly. The ships that emerged from this enterprise were all side-wheel steamers, long and narrow vessels with a shallow draft allowing them to cut through the water more efficiently. Many were painted a dark gray color so they would blend in better with the backdrop of the night sea. A few ships were painted white to help obscure their profile against the daytime horizon. While crossing great expanses of ocean the steamers would burn normal coal that produced a dark smoke but when they were about to approach land they would often switch to burning a smokeless anthracite coal which greatly reduced their profile along the horizon. Sometimes these ships would use cotton soaked in turpentine as fuel as it gave off little smoke and produced intense heat that resulted in a marked increase in ship's speed.[65][66]

The first Confederate blockade runner left Charleston and arrived at Nassau on December 5, 1861 with 144 bales of cotton. The trip between Charleston and Nassau took a first-class steamer approximately 48 hours to complete, taking another three days to unload and load again and to recoal.[61]

Notable blockade runners

CCS Robert E. Lee

The first Confederate ship to put to sea was the CSS Sumter, a former Spanish screw steamer of 500 tons, that was outfitted with cannons and other provisions for war time use. On 18 April 1861 Commander Raphael Semmes took command of the vessel and a dozen officers and crew. [lower-alpha 3] On 30 June the Sumter sailed from the mouth of the Mississippi and was promptly chased by a Union steamer, USS Brooklyn, but managed to get out to sea and make her way to Cuba where it engaged other merchant ships and took them as prizes.[5]

Among the notable blockade runners were privately owned vessels like the Syren, a 169-foot (52 m) steel-hulled sidewheel steamer that made a record 33 successful runs through the Union blockade.[54][55] and the CSS Advance that completed more than 20 successful runs before being captured. After its capture it was renamed USS Advance in 1864 and USS Frolic in 1865.[67]

The first ship to evade the Union blockade was the A and A, a bark from Belfast, making its way from Charleston harbor. The General Parkhill, a British ship built in Liverpool, England, was the first blockade runner to be captured by the USS Niagara also at Charleston harbor.[68]

Screw-driven steamers

  • CSS Florida (1862), (cruiser 1862-1864). Commissioned 17 August 1862 at Green Cay, Bahamas. Commanded by Capt. John Newland Maffitt. Sailed to Cardenas and Havana, Cuba before making the famous run into Mobile Bay, Alabama on 4 September 1862.[69][70]
  • SS Fingal (1861) [lower-alpha 4], (CSS Atlanta ironclad 1862-1863). An iron merchant screw-steamer of 462 tons built by J & G Thomson Govan at Clyde, Scotland 1861. Sold to John Low for the Confederate States Navy. Fingal was the last blockade runner to enter Savannah, November 1861, with a large cargo of Enfield rifles, cannon and military supplies. After two unsuccessful attempts to break out of the blockade, she was converted into the ironclad CSS Atlanta (1862-1863). On its second sortie she was out-dueled by two Union monitors, captured and put into service on the James River as the ironclad USS Atlanta.[71][72][73][74]
  • SS Laurel (1861-1864). A 207-foot iron hull single screw steamer, commanded by Lt. John F. Ramsey, CSN, made 1 successful blockade run as CSS vessel, owned by the CSA, renamed Confederate States and survived the war.[75]
  • CSS Sumter (1861), (cruiser 1861-62). A 437-ton screw steamer cruiser, was built at Philadelphia as the merchant steamship Habana Purchased by the Confederate Government at New Orleans in April 1861, she was converted to a cruiser and placed under the command of Raphael Semmes. While coaling and getting supplies at Martinique she was blockaded by Federal sloop of war USS Iroquois, but ran the blockaded and made her way out to sea. Sumter captured another six ships from late November into January 1862, while cruising in European waters.[76] In January 1862 the Sumter was sent to Gibraltar but was unexpectedly captured by Federal men-of-war ships and was later sold, thus ending her career as a blockade-runner.[77] [CSS Sumter is not the CSS General Sumter cottonclad river gunboat (1861-1862), then named USS Sumter on capture and deployed in the Gulf blockade.]

Side-wheel steamers

  • CSS Advance (1863–64), also A.D. Vance. A side-wheel steamer, built at Greenock, Scotland, in 1862, purchased by the CSA (North Carolina) [78] under the name Lord Clyde in 1863, renamed Advance for running Union blockade. Vessel made 20 blockade runs before its capture on 10 September 1864 by USS Santiago de Cuba off Wilmington, North Carolina. Renamed USS Frolic in 1865.[79]
  • CS Eagle a Spofford & Tileston steamship.[80]
  • CSS Flamingo, three stacked, sloop rigged steamer, Confederate Navy owned. One of the largest types of blockade running vessels operating out of ports in England that carried high priority cargoes.[43]
  • CSS Kate (1861-1862). A 165-foot wooden sidewheel steamer of 477 tons, made 20 successful blockade runs. Built in New York and purchased by John Fraser & Co, it eventually ran aground at $3, 18 November 1862.[81][82]
  • SS Lynx (1861-1864). A 220-foot steel hull sidewheel steamer, made 9 successful blockade runs, owned by Fraser Trenholm & Co., destroyed trying to leave Wilmington, 25 September 1864.[22]
  • SS Tristram Shandy (1864). An iron-hulled sidewheel steamer completed in 1864 at Greenock, Scotland, used as a blockade runner, captured 15 May 1864 by the USS Kansas.[85]
  • SS Syren (1863-1865). A privately owned iron-hulled sidewheel steamer, built at Greenwich, Kent, England in 1863 for a blockade runner. Owned by the Charleston Importing and Exporting Company, she made her first run on 5 November 1863, running supplies from Nassau to Wilmington. The Syren completed a record 33 runs through the blockade, the most of any blockade runner.[54][86] Her career as a blockade runner came to an end when the Syren, along with the other steamers Celt, Deer and Lady Davis, were captured in Charleston harbor at the Ashley River where she had successfully run in through the blockade the night before, on February 18, 1865.[87] See also: Wilmington, North Carolina in the American Civil War.

See also


  • Bennett, Frank M. (1897). The steam navy of the United States:.  Url1 Url2
  • Bostick, Douglas W. (2010). Charleston Under Siege: The Impregnable City. ISBN 9781596297579.  Url
  • Browning, Robert M., Jr. (1993). From Cape Charles to Cape Fear. The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. University of Alabama Press, 472 pages,.  Url
  • Cochran, Hamilton (1958). Hamilton Cochran.  Url
  • Calore, Paul (2002). Naval Campaigns of the Civil War. McFarland, 232 pages,.  Url
  • Canney, Donald L. (1998). Lincoln's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organization, 1861-65.  Url
  • Confederate Congress, 1861-1865 (1905).
    Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865
  • [[E. Merton Coulter
    Louisiana State University Press |Coulter, Ellis Merton]] (1994, 7th printing) [1950]. The Confederate States of America, 1861-1865. pp. 644. ISBN 0-8071-0007-2.
  • Donald, David Herbert (1996
    Simon and Schuster, New York). Lincoln. pp. 714.
  • Evans, Clement Anselm (1899). Confederate military history: a library of Confederate States history, Volume 12. pp. 403.  Url
  • Heidler, David Stephen & Jeanne T.; Coles, David J. (2002). Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. W. W. Norton & Company, New York. pp. 2733.  Url
  • Jones, Howard (1992). Union in Peril: The Crisis Over British Intervention in the Civil War. pp. 300.  Url
  • Katcher, Philip R. N. (2003). The Army of Northern Virginia: Lee's Army in the American Civil War, 1861-1865. pp. 352. ISBN 1-57958-331-8.  Url
  • Konstam, Angus; Bryan, Tony (2004). Confederate Blockade Runner 1861-65. pp. 48.  Url
  • MacDonald, John (2009). The Historical Atlas of the Civil War. pp. 400.  Url
  • McNeil, Jim (2003). Masters of the Shoals: Tales of the Cape Fear Pilots Who Ran the Union Blockade. pp. 188. ISBN 0-306-81280-0.  Url
  • Merli, Frank J. (1970). Great Britain and the Confederate Navy, 1861-1865. pp. 342. ISBN 0-253-21735-0.  Url
  • Peters, Thelma Peterson (1939). The Bahamas and Blockade-running During the American Civil War. pp. 145. ISBN 1-57958-331-8.  Url Url2
  • Richter, William L. (2004). Historical Dictionary of the Civil War and Reconstruction. pp. 968. ISBN 9780810865631.  Url
  • Shingleton, Royce (1994). High Seas Confederate: The Life and Times of John Newland Maffitt. pp. 160. ISBN 0-87249-986-3.  Url
  • [[James R. Soley
    Digital Scanning Inc |Soley, James Russell]] (1885). The Blockade And The Cruisers. pp. 276. ISBN 1-58218-556-5.
  • Spencer, Warren F. (1997). The Confederate Navy in Europe. pp. 288. ISBN 0-87249-986-3.  Url
  • Stark, James H. (1891). Stark's history and guide to the Bahama Islands. pp. 243.  Url
  • Tans, Jochem H. (1995). The Hapless Anaconda: Union Blockade 1861-1865. pp. 30.  Url
  • U.S.Congress, 1893-1894 (1895).
    Congressional edition, Volume 3267, Issue 1
    . U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington. pp. 989.
  • Wagner, Margaret E.; Gallagher, Gary W.; McPherson, James M. (2006). The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference. pp. 976.  Url1 Url2
  • Walske, Steve (2011). Civil War Blockade Mail: 1861 - 1865. pp. 32.  Url
  • Wilson, Walter E.; McKay, Gary L. (2012). James D. Bulloch: Secret Agent and Mastermind of the Confederate Navy. McFarland, North Carolina. pp. 362. ISBN 0786466596.  Url
  • Wise, Stephen R. (1991). Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War. pp. 403. ISBN 0-87249-554-X.  Url
  • 2
    Univ of South Carolina Press (1994). Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston, 1863. pp. 312. ISBN 9780872499850.

Primary Sources

  • Bulloch, James Dunwody (1884). The secret service of the Confederate States in Europe, or, How the Confederate cruisers were equipped. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 460 pages,.  Url
  • Gorgas, Josiah (1995). Wiggins, Sarah Woolfolk
    University of Alabama Press, 305 pages,. ed. The Journals of Josiah Gorgas, 1857-1878. ISBN 0-8071-0007-2.
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1894). History of the Confederate States navy from its organization to the surrender of its last vessel:. Joseph McDonough, Albany, N.Y., 824 pages. ISBN 1-58544-152-X.  Url1 Url2
  • [[Raphael Semmes
    Digital Scanning, Inc., Mass, 348 pages, |Semmes, Raphael]] (1864). The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter. ISBN 1-58218-355-4.
      ISBN 1-58218-353-8 Url
  •    (1869). Memoirs of service afloat: during the war between the states. ISBN 1-58218-556-5.  Url
  • Wilkinson, John (1877). The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner.  E'book Url2
  • Woods, Robert H.; Rush, Captain, U.S.Navy, retired, Lieut. Commander Richard. (1896).
    Official records of the Union and Confederate navies in the War of the Rebellion
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Further reading

    Peter Fenelon Collier, New York, 438 pages, E'book
  • Bennett, Michael J. (2004). Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War
    Univ of North Carolina Press, 337 pages
    . ISBN 978-0-8078-2870-0.
  • Buker, George E. (1993) Blockaders, Refugees & Contrabands: Civil War on Florida's Gulf Coast, 1861-1865
    University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 235 pages, ISBN = 978-0-8173-0682-3, Book
  • Durham, Roger S. (2005). High Seas and Yankee Gunboats: A Blockade-Running Adventure from the Diary of James Dickson. Univ of South Carolina Press, 185 pages,. ISBN 978-1-57003-572-2.  Book
  • Graham, Eric J. Graham (2006). Clyde built: blockade runners, cruisers and armoured rams of the American Civil War. Birlinn, UK, 238 pages,. ISBN 978-1-84158-584-0.  Book
  • Hearn, Chester G. (1992). Gray raiders of the sea: how eight Confederate warships destroyed the Union's high seas commerce. International Marine Pub., 351 pages,. ISBN 978-0-393-04758-5.  Book
  • Jones, Virgil Carrington (1960), The Blockaders: January 1861 - March 1862
    Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 483 pages, Book
  • Rhodes, James Ford (1917). History of the Civil War
    MacMillian & Co., New York, Boston, London, 467 pages, E'Book [lower-alpha 5]
  • Still, Jr., William N.; Taylor, John M., Delaney Norman C. (1998).
    Raiders & Blockaders: The American Civil War Afloat
    Brassey's Inc., Washington, D.C, 263 pages, ISBN = 978-1-57488-164-6, Url
  • Woodworth, Steven E. (1996). The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research. ISBN 978-1-57958-331-6.  Url


  1. Some historians spell it as 'Semines'[5]
  2. Though the Union Navy was slow to meet the needs of the blockade it is generally accepted that if it was not for its presence at various battles, along with the blockade it had imposed on the Confederacy, that the Union would have lost the war.[21] When the Union troops were not coordinated with the Union navy they often found themselves in retreat. i.e.George McClellan was forced to retreat from Richmond and seek protection along the James River under the guns of the naval vessels there. Without the naval presence on the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers General Pope's flanks were pushed back by Stonewall Jackson as Confederate troop movement went unabated at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
  3. Officers of CSS Sumter, first Confederate ship put to sea.
    Lieuts. John M. Kell, Robert T. Chapman, John M. Stribling, William E. Evans, paymaster Henry Myers, Suergon Francis L. Galt, Midshipman William A. Hicks, Richard F. Armstrong, Albert G. Hudgins, John F. Holden and Joseph D. Wilson; Lieut. of Marines B.K. Howell; Engineers Miles J. Freeman, William P. Brooks, Matthew O'Brian and Simeon W. Cummings; Boatswain Benjamin P.McCaskey; Gunner J.O.Cuddly; Sailmaker W.P.Beaufort, Carpenter William Robinson and Captain's clerk Breedlove Smith.[5]
  4. Not to be confused with SS Fingal (1923)
  5. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1918: Extensive coverage of Naval theater, blockade runners, David Farragut, David Dixon Porter etc


  1. Tans, 1995 p.24
  2. Homser, 1913 pp.163-165
  3. Bulloch, 1884 p.2
  4. Calore, 2002 p.60
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Evans, 1899 p.100
  6. Cooper, 2001 p.366
  7. Scharf, 1894 pp.53-54
  8. Bostick, 2010 p.11
  9. Richter, 2004 p.228
  10. Sandburg, 1954 p.234
  11. 11.0 11.1 Merli, 1970 p.236
  12. Merli, 1970 p.48
  13. Jones. 1992 p.22
  14. Semmes, 1869 p.83
  15. Donald, 1996 pp.302-303
  16. Tans, 1995 p.18
  17. Frajola, 2012 p.2
  18. Walske, 2011 p.1
  19. Shingleton, 1994 p.39
  20. Tans, 1995 p.1
  21. Bennett, 1897 p.196
  22. 22.0 22.1 Frajola, 2012 p.12
  23. Jones. 1992 p.47
  24. Scharf, 1894 p.v-vi
  25. Tans, 1995 p.26
  26. Merli, 1970 p.246
  27. Bulloch, 1884 p.57
  28. 28.0 28.1 Tans, 1995 p.13
  29. Carr, 1988, pp. 15, 101, 166
  30. Soley, 1885 p.182
  31. Konstam, Bryan, 2004 p.11
  32. Wise, 1991 pp.46-47
  33. Spencer p.6
  34. Wise, 1991 p.47
  35. Scharf, 1894 pp.49-51
  36. Coulter, 1950 p.290
  37. Wise, 1991 p.48
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 Konstam, Bryan, 2004 p.8
  39. Spencer p.20
  40. Katcherl, 2003 p.54
  41. Wise, 1991 pp.48-50
  42. Bulloch, 1884 p.53
  43. 43.0 43.1 Wyllie, 2007 p.51
  44. Bulloch, 1884 pp.51-52
  45. Merli, 1970 p.62
  46. Scharf, 1894 p.468
  47. Richter, 2004, pp.143-144
  48. Scharf, 1894 p.783
  49. Heidler, 2004 p.1881
  50. Soley, pp.183-184
  51. Shingleton, 1994 p.41
  52. Browning, 1993 p.112
  53. Tans, 1995 p.25
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Wise, 1991 p.163
  55. 55.0 55.1 Heidler, 2002 p.245
  56. U.S. Congress, 1893-1894 p.581
  57. Wyllie, 2007 p.184
  58. Stark, 1891 p.93
  59. Wagner, Gallagher, McPherson, 2006 p.236
  60. 60.0 60.1 Walske, 2011 p.8
  61. 61.0 61.1 Stark, 1891 pp.97-98
  62. Wise, 1991 p.133
  63. Peters, 1939 p.16
  64. Herbert, 1894 p.53
  65. Tans, 1995 p.19
  66. Herbert, 1894 p.46
  67. Wyllie, 2007 p.22
  68. Bostick, 2010 pp.11-12
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 Walske, 2011 p.4
  70. Ellis, Article
  71. Merli, 1970 p.244
  72. Soley, 1885 p.116
  73. Wise, 1991 pp.53-54
  74. Spencer, 1997 pp.24,87
  75. Frajola, 2012 p.8
  76. U.S.Navy, DANFS, CSS General Sumter page article
  77. Homser, 1913 p.109
  78. Coulter, 1950 p.292
  79. U.S.Navy, DANFS, Advance, page article
  80. 80.0 80.1 Walske, 2011 p.2
  81. Walske, 2011 p.17
  82. Frajola, 2012 p.4
  83. Wyllie, 2007 p.196
  84. Wilkinson, 1877 p.65
  85. U.S.Navy, DANFS, Tristram Shandy, page article
  86. Frajola, 2012 p.6
  87. "Civil War Naval History". History Central. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  88. U.S.Navy, DANFS, (USS) Hornet, page article
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 Walske, 2011 p.3
  90. Wise, 1991 p.96
  91. Walske, 2011 p.5
  92. 92.0 92.1 Walske, 2011 p.9
  93. Scharf, 1894 p.532
  94. Walske, 2011 p.x
  95. 95.0 95.1 Walske, 2011 p.21
  96. Walske, 2011 p.14
  97. Walske, 2011 p.16
  98. Walske, 2011 p.18
  99. Walske, 2011 p.19
  100. 100.0 100.1 Walske, 2011 p.22
  101. Walske, 2011 p.24
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 Walske, 2011 p.25
  103. Walske, 2011 p.29
  104. 104.0 104.1 Walske, 2011 p.30
  105. 105.0 105.1 Walske, 2011 p.31
  106. Bennett, 1897 p.251

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