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The Civil War on the Water: The Union Blockade l Photos

U.S. Civil War 150th Anniversary

When President Abraham Lincoln declared a blockade of Confederate ports on April 19, 1861, the U.S. Navy consisted of 42 commissioned ships. Even more dire was the fact that only three of those ships were ready for immediate blockade duty. To the Confederacy and even to many in the Union the idea of the U.S. Navy successfully blockading over 3,500 miles of Confederate coastline and twelve major ports seemed laughable. However, as the Civil War progressed the Navy grew and the blockade tightened. Although never perfect, the blockade did slowly choke off overseas commerce to the Confederacy. When the war came to an end, the Union Navy had grown to 671 ships. Often overlooked compared to the massive land battles waged during the Civil War, the blockade played a vital role in the eventual Union victory.


Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...