The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 441
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for military supplies and civilian goods.
The story of the Matamoros trade, told so well by James W. Daddys-
man, details explicitly how large vessels from England and elsewhere
came to Matamoros to unload cargoes and take on cotton in the neutral
Mexican waters near Bagdad. Wagon trains from Matamoros carried
the imported goods primarily northward to San Antonio and Hous-
ton for distribution. The cotton came principally from the trans-
Mississippi area. Special quartermaster officers of the Confederate Cot-
ton Bureau arranged for wagon trains in deep East Texas and
The present reviewer found the material on the extent of the illegal
trade between Matamoros and New York to be especially interesting. A
federal investigation of the New York customhouse failed to stop the
exchange of Confederate cotton for northern goods through Mata-
moros. Most of the goods delivered through the Mexican port, how-
ever, came from England in British ships.
The United States navy sought to stop the trade by putting warships
at the mouth of the river after February, 1862. Between November,
1863, and July, 1864, the federals occupied the Texas side of the lower
Rio Grande, making it necessary for the Confederate wagons to cross
the river farther upstream. Naval and land efforts to block the trade
were not successful because the federals lacked the resources to do the
The author discusses the British reaction to United States efforts to
interdict the traffic. The British decided to acquiesce in the seizure
of their commercial vessels, not wanting an armed clash with the Unit-
ed States navy. The resolution of such matters, they said, must come
through the courts.
The book has six chapters: Chapter 1 provides the physical setting
(with a map) and history of the area. Chapter 2 notes the origins of the
trade. Chapter 3 covers the Confederate effort to protect the trade.
Chapter 4 tells succinctly the overland trade story. Chapter 5 presents
"The Trade at Sea." In chapter 6 comes the death of the trade and
of the Confederacy.
The Confederate collapse brought economic ruin to many in the
lower Rio Grande. Financial foundations, however, had been laid
for several Texans and Mexicans to survive the long conflict.
All in all, The Matamoros Trade is competently researched and
written. It includes necessary maps and illustrations and is a contribu-
tion to Civil War bibliography.
Stephen F. Austin State University
JAMES L. NICHOLS
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/507/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.