Discuss the effectiveness of the Confederate blockade-runners and why they were able to sustain the Confederacy until late in the Civil War.


The assignment for Unit IV is a two-part question based on the assigned readings found in this unit. Using the Carroll 2010) assigned reading, respond to the following statement:

  • Discuss the effectiveness of the Confederate blockade-runners and why they were able to sustain the

Confederacy until late in the Civil War.


Effectiveness of the Confederate blockade-runners and why they were able to sustain the Confederacy until late in the civil war

The American civil war began in 1861 to 1865 and created problems for Anglo-American relations due to Confederate interests to build commercial Raiders in British shipyards and to provide the blockade-runners to service the Southern economy.

During 1862 the armed commerce raiders CSS Florida and CSS Alabama have been constructed in Liverpool shipyards, put to sea, armed with British guns and mostly manned by sailors who were British. Liverpool was a center of pro-confederate sentiment, the major British port city for the import of Southern cotton, the distribution point to the textile factories in the Midlands, and the major shipyards for the construction of both British blockade-runners and Confederate commerce raiders. The British colony of Bermuda became a leading mid-Atlantic port for the reshipment of goods intended for blockade-runners attempting to bring supplies through the Union naval blockade into the Confederacy (Long, 2013). Warehouses, docks, and repair facilities have been fully dominated by this new trade, and the island was flooded with Southerners. The Northern cause in Bermuda gained supporters in Allen who had few friends who supported the cause. Allen informed the State Department and the Navy of the ships that harbored in Bermuda, their cargoes, and their sailing schedules. The Confederacy began to crumble in 1865.

The effectiveness of the Confederate blockade-runners was a result of the blockade-runners being able to keep the Confederate forces surprisingly well equipped, uninformed and fed-up until late 1864 and early 1865. The Army of Northern Virginia began to suffer shortages of vital supplies. And as the war went on the Union Navy became more efficient in isolating the Confederacy, and so the statistics for the Navy steadily improved.

Based on the reading of the article by Neely, would you say that the civil war was total war? Why, or why not?

Yes. The civil war was a total war.

The civil war began in 1861 with the purpose of suppressing the insurrection in the North and to restore the loyal Unionists to control of the southern states. It, therefore, was a limited war with the limited goal of restoring the status quo ante-Bellum and not an endless war to destroy an enemy nation and reshape its society. However, gradually the war became a total war rather than a limited one and eventually Union generals saw more clearly the nature of modern, total war, a war between peoples rather than simply between armies (Linderman, 2008). Finally, the civil war became a total war; the invading army intentionally destroyed the economic capacity of the South to wage war.

The idea of total war as an interpretation of the American Civil War embodies a rare quality in that is without regional bias. Total war, therefore, can be said to be a loose term with several meanings. From the start, it meant making war on the economic resources of the enemy rather than directly on its armed forces alone. Attacking an enemy’s economic resources was the very essence of naval blockades, and they long predated the Civil War. The Civil War nearly approached being total war seeing how often the Civil War broke the fragile barriers separating war from peace and soldiers from civilians (Long, 2013). On May 4, 1862, General George B. McClellan informed the secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton that the rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct in placing land mines within the abandoned works, near Wells, near flag staffs, etc. This incidences and correlation of definitive total war and civil war can only lead to the conclusion that Civil War was a total war.


Linderman, G. (2008). Embattled courage: The experience of combat in the American Civil War. Simon and Schuster.

Long, L. A. (2013). Rehabilitating bodies: health, history, and the American Civil War. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Related: Explain how logistical issues that the British military encountered in the Revolutionary War contributed to the American victory