Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 380
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 380
 
 
ships to ride out the gales at anchor, close to a hostile shore, made of this blockade an operation that for difficulty was probably without precedent: it was certainly the first time that the evaders of a blockade had the powerful help of steam. The eager desire to obtain cotton was another factor operating to the advantage of the blockade-runners as was likewise the proximity of friendly neutral ports. The effective work of the United States navy is measured by the number of captures and by the increasing difficulty of evading the blockade. Gradually port after port was practically closed until none were left but Charleston and Wilmington. Wilmington, owing to the peculiar configuration and character of the coast and the large island at the entrance of Cape Fear river, was the most difficult port of all to blockade and in 1863 and 1864 its trade with Nassau and Bermuda was large. On June 16, 1863, Fremantle, passing through Wilmington, counted “eight large steamers, all handsome, leaden-colored vessels, which ply their trade with the greatest regularity.” Blockade-running to and from port continued until the taking of Fort Fisher in January, 1865, but the risk of capture during the last six months of activity was great. Charleston remained open until Sherman’s northward march compelled its evacuation, but for a long while before this only the best-constructed steamers could run the blockade and the success even of these was rare. The work of the United States navy in the blockade was an affair of long patience unrelieved by the prospect of brilliant exploits; lacking the stimulus of open battle it required discipline and character only the more. But the reward to the country was great for the blockade played an important part in the final outcome of the war.  14
  The cotton crops were made by the negro slaves and one
 

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