Confederate Blockade Causes

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The blockade also had a significant impact on international trade. The blockade had a negative impact on the economies of other countries as well as the Confederacy. Areas with textile production in foreign countries that relied on the cotton harvest from the Southern states went into large periods of unemployment. French producers of wine, brandy and silk also suffered when their markets in the Confederacy were cut off. “Although Confederate leaders were confident that Southern economic power would compel European powers to intervene in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy, Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India.” Over time, the Union…show more content…
Immediately after the issuances of the proclamations, the United States government had to decide on whether to view actions/movements of the Confederacy against the blockade as an act of war. Technically, any rebellious acts would be considered as opposing the United States and thus seen as an “arm insurrection” and deemed treasonous. However, the government only considered the Confederacy as rebels rather than as belligerents. According to The Civil War at Sea, “Throughout the war, Lincoln insisted that the Confederacy had no legal standing as a sovereign entity; those who had taken up arms against the government, he declared were merely rebels.” This has a contradictory factor to it due to the very nature of the blockade itself. The blockade calls for the act of sealing off the enemy and seizing their ships which can be seen as acts of war. With this fact in mind, the United States government maintained their claim that the Confederacy was not considered a belligerent and that their actions are not to be considered as acts of war. On July 4, 1861, Gideon Welles, the Secretary of the Navy, issued a report in which he spoke about the blockade in these…show more content…
By doing this, the actual effectiveness of the blockade can be determined. Although the Union tried its best to block off all Confederacy ports, they were still able to get a small amount of supplies through the blockade by fast runner ships carrying a small amount of cargo. Supplies from Confederate ports were transferred to points in Mexico, the Bahamas, and Cuba, as this trade remained profitable for foreign merchants in those regions and elsewhere. A report from Captain Benjamin F. Sands records a steamer successfully getting past the blockade. The report stated, “I have to report that a steamer, in attempting to run out from Galveston on the night of the 19th, got aground on the bar, endeavoring to elude the vessels stationed there. She succeeded in getting off by throwing over some 200 bales of cotton.” There are many accounts similar to the one shown above reporting instances where the blockade had been breached. For instance, in the port of Havana alone, fifty ships ran the blockade between April 1 and July 6, 1863. Another piece of evidence depicting the flaws of the blockade includes a letter written by Captain T.P. Greene in which he reports information on a possible runner. The letter states, “The Anglo-rebel steamer Mail (or Susanna) sailed yesterday morning for Galveston. The Denbigh is ready to leave at any moment, and carries a very
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