At the top of the page, it said January 1865. Smoothing the wrinkles, I first looked for the poetry column…
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a poem in this copy. On the back page was a shocking report about some bad Confederate raiders. I didn’t want to read that and turned to the front page. The headline caught my eye. A fort – Fort Fisher – had been captured by Union soldiers. The port of Wilmington closed, meaning no ships could go in or out. The article explained that Wilmington had been an important port for blockade runners, but it didn’t explain what those were. (Lighthouse Loyalty, Chapter 5)
In Lighthouse Loyalty, a historical fiction book, young Susan Rose Arnold reads old newspapers and wonders about the recently ended American conflict, the Civil War. One afternoon she reads about Fort Fisher and Wilmington’s port, which played important roles in the maritime aspects of the war.
If you’ve been curious for details, here are 10 things you should know about Fort Fisher: Continue reading
After the Civil War (1876 to be exact), John Wilkinson wrote and published his memoirs of his blockade running days as captain aboard the Giraffe – later, renamed the Robert E. Lee. This excerpt describes the Giraffes arrival in Wilmington, North Carolina with a tense situation adding to the blockade running challenge.
(Note: This is the second maritime blog post today. I accidentally missed a post in November and decided to post double today. If you’re looking for today’s first post, it’s here: 5 Blockade Runner Captains You Should Know About)
Everything being in readiness, we sailed on December 26th, 1862. Having on board a Charleston pilot, as well as one for Wilmington, I had not determined, on sailing, which port to attempt; but having made the land near Charleston bar during thick weather on the night of the 28th, our pilot was afraid to venture further. We made and offing, therefore before daylight; and circumstances favouring Wilmington, we approached the western bar on the night of December 29th. We had been biding our time since twelve o’clock that day close in to the shore about forty miles southwest of the bar and in the deep bay formed by the coast between Wilmington and Charleston. Continue reading
As we’ve discussed different aspects of blockade and blockade runner history during the American Civil War, perhaps you’ve wondered about the actual voyages. What was a typical “run” or voyage like for a runner?
I’ve collected some notes about challenges just getting in and out of Southern Harbors and details about voyages. We’ll talk about some of the typical aspects of the secretive trips, the Union’s countermeasures, the port of Wilmington, blockade runner destinations, and tricks used to escape capture. Continue reading