5 Famous Blockade Runners

Famous is a relative term. Someone who is famous in his hometown might be unknown in the next state. Choosing just five blockade runners to discuss today was a challenge. Some lists of “famous” blockade runners are lengthy, leaving me wondering what qualified as “famous.”

In the end, I decided to just choose five ships that illustrate interesting details about blockade running during the Civil War. If you’d nominate other runners, leave me a comment with the story!

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Blockade Runners: Technology At Work

I don’t know how you envision blockade runners, but I know before I started studying I assumed they were sailing ships. I don’t really know why I thought that, and it was quite a learning revolution as I started exploring the details of these ships.

Blockade Runners were steamships. And some of the cutting edge technology of their day was incorporated into their design. You know how we think of stealth ships today (wow, amazing technology)? That’s kind of how designers felt about the new ships running the Union blockade. But – just to be perfectly clear – blockade runners were not stealth!

I’ve collected some interesting details about the construction of the some of the most “techy” blockade runners to sail the Atlantic: where they were built, their fuel, their speed, and their size. Continue reading

1862: “A Thread Of Red That Looked Like Blood”

Water was what I wanted and I believe, had the whole army been firing at me I would have gotten my canteen filled. Our regiment was going on a run when they crossed this little stream. It was only about a foot from bank to bank, dirty and black by the many feet that had accidentally trod into it. I stopped and scooped out a hole in the mud and put my canteen in to fill it. While doing this, another regiment passed over me and I was cut off from our. I didn’t seem to care. Continue reading

1862: “Attainment Of An Honorable Peace”

(One of two posts published on September 11, 2017)

Headquarters, Near Frederickstown, Maryland

September 8, 1862

Mr. President:

The present posture of affairs, in my opinion, places it in the power of the Government of the Confederate States to propose with propriety to that of the United States the recognition of our independence.

For more than a year both sections of the country have been devastated by hostilities which have brought sorrow and suffering upon thousands of homes, without advancing the objects which our enemies propose to themselves in beginning the contest. Continue reading

1861: “I Send You Some Sweet Violets”

Gazette665 Blog Series 1861: In Their WordsDecember 25, 1861

My Dear Daughter:

Having distributed such poor Christmas gifts as I had to those around me, I have been looking for something for you. Trifles even are hard to get these war times, and you must not therefore expect more. I have sent you what I thought most useful in your separation from me and hope it will be of some service. Though stigmatized as “vile dross”, it has never been a drug with me. That you may never want for it, restrict your wants to your necessities. Yet how little will it purchase!

But see how God provides for our pleasure in every way. To compensate for such “trash,” I send you some sweet violets that I gathered for you this morning while covered with dense white frost, whose crystals glittered in the bright sun like diamonds, and formed a brooch of rare beauty and sweetness which could not be fabricated by the expenditure of a world of money. Continue reading