The Union Blockade Essay Research Paper THE — страница 6

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from the collapsed Carolina trade (after Wilmington’s capture) to run between Galveston and Havana, proving the inefficiency of the enforcement even at such a late day, since just the steamers there had a 94 percent success rate.[54] On the other hand, the blockade-running wasn’t very beneficial to the South because Texas had poor railroad and road conditions with the East so that cargoes usually ended up staying around Texas and weren’t sent to Virginia’s great armies as Wilmington’s cargoes had been.[55] By the time Galveston was captured on June 5, 1865, thus closing the last Confederate blockade-running port, the war had already been decided. According to Marcus Price’s study, a total of 2,960 attempts were made to run the Gulf blockade and 83 percent were

successful. There were 156 steamers and 987 sailing ships involved in the trade and the success rate was 91 percent for steamers and 81 percent for sailing ships.[56] The blockade of Georgia and East Florida, although more effective, was insignificant. Due to their dearth of railroad facilities and major ports, Confederates and speculators never attempted much blockade-running there. Only 225 total vessels ever participated in blockade-running and only 35 of those were steamers.[57] Blockade-running numbers plummeted when the only important port, Savannah, was virtually shut off by capture of nearby Port Royal, South Carolina, by Union forces on April 10, 1862. They used it as the base for the blockade fleet. Savannah was thus effectively blockaded for the remainder of the war.

Adding up all Marcus Price’s figures, a total of 6,316 attempts were made to violate the blockade, and 5,389 or 85 percent succeeded. The steamers succeeded 2,525 times, a 92 percent success rate, and 2,864 or 80 percent of the 3,573 attempts by sailing vessels succeeded. However, these figures are somewhat inflated because they include Price’s figures for Georgia and East Florida, which account for nearly one thousand runs by several small regular packet steamers involved in coastal trade. Other authorities have argued even higher figures, including estimates of small sailing ships and “phantom craft” which did their business in secret and were never put on port records. In his book King Cotton Diplomacy, Frank Owsley estimates a total of about 8,250 violations and

concludes that the blockade was strictly a paper blockade, and it was “a leaky and ramshackle affair.”[58] Daniel O’Flaherty, author of the article “The Blockade that Failed,” estimates about 8,000 round trips by 1,650 vessels.[59] These figures are just guesses, but it is important to note that since Price’s statistics are compilations of records, he did not include in his estimate ships that didn’t officially enter and clear ports. Another historian, Stephen Wise, has estimated that only 1,300 of the attempts by steamers involved foreign trade, and about 1,000 were successful.[60] Although there was obviously much shipping, many people have argued over the value of this trade to the Confederates. The ineffectiveness of the blockade provided a great opportunity for

the Confederates to trade their cotton for military supplies, but they didn’t take advantage of it. Their failure to exploit the weaknesses of the blockade started with their cotton embargo, a dismal diplomatic and economic blunder. The intention of the cotton embargo was to take advantage of England’s dependence on Southern cotton by stopping cotton exports to draw England into the war on the Southern side, but this backfired. Thanks to the South’s overabundant cotton crops of 1859 and 1860, England was left ready and well stocked for some hibernation. At the closing of 1861, despite no new American shipments, Britain still had a surplus stock of 702,840 bales, 200,000 bales over their usual stock at the closing of a year.[61] In the spring of 1862, the failed cotton

embargo slowly relaxed until it completely ceased. The Confederacy had lost an opportunity to raise ample money and import enough arms and ammunition to supply its armies. Over all the war years, the South only exported about 1,000,000 bales of cotton, roughly half of its wartime crop.[62] In the year leading up to the war, over three million bales were exported; thus each war year carried about 10 percent of a pre-war year’s export.[63] The flow of blockade-running proves that the Confederates had an opportunity, but they didn’t capitalize on it. The Confederate government only had eleven of its own blockade-runners, the most famous of which was the Robert E. Lee.[64] The Confederate government started to pass regulations in the fall of 1863 to reserve one-third to one-half