FEBRUARY 8TH, 1865: Flag Officer Barron received orders from Secretary Mallory to return to the Confederacy. These orders symbolized the abandonment of long-cherished hopes of obtaining ironclad ships from Europe with which to break the ever-tightening blockade.
Originally selected to be the flag officer in command of turreted ironclads "294" and "295", Barron had arrived in England during October 1863. The Laird rams, however, had been seized by the British government on 9 October 1863 and Barron thereafter served the Confederacy in Paris.
On 15 February, a week after receiving Mallory's dispatch, Barron replied to the secretary in words that gave clear evidence of the degree to which the shores of the South were sealed by Union squadrons" "I am endeavoring to get ready to leave in the Southampton steamer on March 2, which will take me to Cuba, and from that point I shall see how the land lies and make such arrangements as will most probably insure my earliest arrival in the Confederacy, where I feel every man is needed who can pull a pound.
"The closing of the port of Wilmington does, I fear, render the route through Texas the only one of security, but I shall not determine positively until after my arrival in Havana."
Barron, however, did not return to the South, for on 28 February, he resigned as senior Confederate naval officer on the continent.