The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948

THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LI OCTOBER, 1947 No. 2
rhe Coifederate oss aid Keapture
of alreston, 1862-1863
CHARLES C. CUMBERLAND
T HE outbreak of the American Civil War found the agri-
cultural Confederate States, from an economic and in-
dustrial point of view, decidedly inferior to the indus-
trial Union, and as a consequence foreign trade was the veritable
lifeblood of the "rebel" forces. The need during the entire
conflict was desperate, and, although the state of Texas played
only a small part in the military aspects of the struggle, it did
occupy a prominent place in the overall strategy. Galveston, as
the principal port on the Texas coast, was a particular gem, and
it is with that city, its capture and recapture, that this account
is to deal.
The blockading of enemy coasts is an old and venerable cus-
tom among warring nations and, in the final analysis, is quite
often the determining factor in the outcome of the struggle.
Although the long coastline of the Confederate States made the
application of a blockade somewhat difficult, the seceding states
were vulnerable nonetheless because of the lack of an effective
naval force to combat any attempt by the Union forces to
strangle foreign trade. A realization of this basic weakness was
evidenced soon after the outbreak of the "shooting" war, and on
April 19, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln declared a blockade
of all the southern ports and coastlines. The proclamation of a
blockade and the actual establishment of this mechanism of
economic warfare, however, are two very different things, and
under the rules of war at the time the closure of the ports had
to be actual and effective before it would be regarded as legal

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/. Accessed July 14, 2014.