Mobile and the Blockades

Explore Naval Blockade Civil War History

Mobile, after the fall of New Orleans in 1862, was the Confederacy's premier cotton port and the leading destination in the Gulf of Mexico for confederate blockade runners, who faced the difficult task of slipping through the Mobile Bay naval blockade. Civil War efforts in the Confederacy relied on the export of cotton, shipped through the Port of Mobile to Europe by way of Havana. Importation of armaments, powder, salt, medicines, blankets, iron, rope, machinery, and other goods, including luxury items, did much to sustain Confederate Civil War strategies and morale. From January to August 1864, Mobile saw more activity from confederate blockade runners than any port in the Confederacy except Wilmington.

"Blockade-running had become an art, like card-playing and other games of chance, and many a fortune was made and perhaps as many lost. To run a vessel with any safety through the line of blockaders involved a conjuncture of various elements that sometimes required long waiting. The night must be moonless and the sky shrouded in clouds. The wind must blow a full sail breeze - better if more - out of the north and if the tide is ebbing through the outer channel, so much the better."
   -William Rix, Mobile merchant


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