The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Gulf ports never developed as major places of entry, and after
1862, they proved nearly useless. The capture of New Orleans denied
the South the use of its largest port and shippers were unable to shift
their trade. The lack of coastal rail connections east of Mobile, Ala-
bama, further complicated the shipment of heavy equipment and great
volumes of supplies.
During 1863 the Confederate government began to purchase vessels
and moved its operations to Wilmington, North Carolina. For the re-
mainder of the war this port would be preferred by blockade runners.
As the blockade became more effective, English shipbuilders began to
design and build vessels to outrun the Union warships. The Confederate
leaders meanwhile began to regulate imports and exports in an effort to
gain some control of the trade. Throughout the conflict, blockade run-
ning remained profitable despite the closure of most of the rebel ports
by capture, which allowed increasing numbers of Union vessels to
watch those still open.
Wise has deftly analyzed the contributions of blockade running to
the Confederacy and the individuals and companies connected with
the trade. The appendices, which make up one-third of the book,
are extremely valuable and contribute much to the work. The author,
however, failed to provide the "detailed study" (p. 5) that he promised.
He virtually ignored sailing vessels, that continued to carry cargoes
throughout the war, and he did not consider the extensive network of
blockade running in the interior waterways. Lifeline of the Confederacy is
an important contribution to Civil War historiography and will cer-
tainly stand as the major study on blockade running for many years.
U.S. Coast Guard History Office ROBERT M. BROWNING, JR.
Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History. By
Richard M. McMurry. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press, 1989. Pp. xvi+ 20o4. Preface, maps, tables, appendix, notes,
bibliography, index. $19.95.)
"Why was the Army of Northern Virginia so successful? Why was the
Army of Tennessee so often defeated?" (p. 9). Richard M. McMurry
provides some provocative answers to these and other questions in Two
Great Rebel Armies.
The ill-fated Army of Tennessee was plagued by vague and ever-
changing boundaries that encompassed a vast area penetrated by nu-
merous navigable waterways and the notorious "Kentucky bloc," which
asserted "that the vast majority of the people of Kentucky were panting
to join the Confederacy" (p. 12). Even Henry W. Halleck's arrival in
Washington hurt the Army of Tennessee because he began "a transfor-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed January 25, 2015.