Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Impact of the Blockade on the Confederacy

JANUARY 18TH, 1865:  J.B. Jones, a clerk in the Confederate War Department, wrote in his diary: "No war news.  But blockade-running at Wilmington has ceased; and common calico, bow at $25 per yard, will soon be $50.... Flour is $1250 per barrel, to-day."  Only five days before he had recorded: "Beef (what little there is in market) sells to-day at $6 per pound; meal, $80 per bushel, white beans, $5 per quart, or $160 per bushel."

The figures bore eloquent witness to the decisive role played by Federal seapower on the collapse of the Confederacy.  A giant amphibious assault had closed Wilmington, General Lee's last hope for sufficient supplies to sustain his soldiers.

Control of the Mississippi River and the western tributaries by Union warships, coupled with the South's weak railway system, prevented the transfer of men and supplies to the crumbling military situation in the East.

Thus, blockade of the coasts and continuing attack from afloat as well as land surrounded and divided the South and hastened its economic, financial, and psychological deterioration.  Just as civilians lived in deep privation, so, too, were the armies of the Confederacy gravely weakened from a shortage of munitions, equipment, clothing and food.

You have to wonder how bad the morale of the people of the Confederacy was at this point when there was no way they had a chance to achieve their independence.  The big wonder is how they even managed to fight on for another three months.

--Old B-Runner

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