Book Description

Campaign for the Confederate Coast
Blockading, Blockade Running and Related Endeavors During the American Civil War

The Federal blockade of the Confederate coast during the American Civil War (1861-1865) did not cause the ultimate Federal victory, but it contributed to that victory to a significant degree. The Federal blockade deterred much of the commerce that might have flowed into the Confederacy, but it also created a profit opportunity for those willing to accept the risk of running the blockade. Although blockade running sustained the Confederates’ ability to continue the battle for four years, the effect of this economic warfare substantially weakened the armies upon which the Confederate assertion of independence rested


Book Reviews

“Independent historian Gil Hahn has brought his enthusiasm for all things nautical to bear on how the Union sought to gain hegemony along the southern coastlines and the ways the Confederacy tried to overcome Federal blockading efforts and keep its commercial lifelines open… Two of Hahn’s most interesting chapters deal with planning and maintaining the blockade and the blockade-running tactics employed by enterprising captains engaged in an increasingly lucrative occupation.” — Gordon Berg, Civil War Times

“Written in popular fashion, [Campaign for the Confederate Coast] offers a rather unusually comprehensive summary of related topics and events that should appeal to a wide range of readers. Avid students of Civil War naval affairs will benefit from the collective reinforcement of their prior reading through Hahn’s able synthesis, and those new to the subject matter are exposed to an introductory history with remarkable range.” — Andrew Wagonhoffer, Civil War Books and Authors Blog

…Campaign for the Confederate Coast: Blockading, Blockade Running and Related Endeavors During the American Civil War clearly and cogently describes, from both Southern and Northern points of view, the dozens upon dozens economic, technology and military policy conditions and adaptations which created military outcomes of the war. Throughout, Hahn offers these discussions in a writing style which is both accessible and concise.” — Captain Rea Andrew Redd, Civil War Librarian

Breaking the mystique of the blockade has eluded scholars until the publication of Campaign for the Confederate Coast. Based on meticulous research, written in a lively prose, and judiciously argued, Gill Hahn had produced an immensely important book that illustrates the ways that the Federal Navy put the squeeze on the South by choking off the flow of essential goods for the waging of war. Hahn also does an impressive job of capturing how Confederate blockade runners were able to elude their Northern pursuers in dramatic operations that helped, in no small way, to prolonging the Civil War.” — Peter S. Carmichael, The Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College

As part of his advance praise of the work, historian Allen Guelzo opines that Hahn’s book should be regarded as the “single best survey” of the topic. In addition to providing an overview of the blockade and its effects, the study “embraces ship and weapons technology, coastal forfifications, charts and data on coastal sailing vessels, even sailors’ rations.” — Andrew Wagenhoffer, Editor, Civil War Books and Authors

More than a century and a half after its close, the Civil War’s naval story is still little known or appreciated, particularly those clandestine adventures of the blockade runners that dared everything to smuggle foreign goods and munitions into the Confederacy, and the constant efforts of Union fleets trying to close that trade and starve the South.  In Campaign for the Confederate Coast, Gil Hahn presents a strong argument for the centrality of this blockade war in determining the fate of the Confederacy, and the nation. — William C. Davis, author of The Greatest Fury: The Battle of New Orleans and the Rebirth of America

In his Campaign for the Confederate Coast, Gil Hahn tackles all the complicated legal, logistical, and strategic factors entailed in the blockade imposed by the U.S. Navy on the Confederate States of America.  Hahn ably covers such varied topics as the evolution of steam technology and ironclads, tactical developments in blockade-running, questions of supply, the effectiveness of Confederate efforts to counter a growing number of Federal ships, and the intricacies of international law.  Without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail, he skillfully summarizes the pertinent battles and campaigns, forgotten ships and international incidents, and the actions of naval and army officers and their civilian superiors.  In his final pages, he reviews statistics and inpidual testimony to assess the blockade’s role in the ultimate U.S. victory.  This succinct yet comprehensive volume deserves a place on the bookshelf of every Civil War enthusiast.  — William W. Bergen, Independent Civil War scholar based in Charlottesville, Virginia

Gil Hahn’s new survey of the Civil War on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts is more than just the conventional account of the U.S. Navy’s blockade of the Confederacy. It embraces ship and weapons technology, coastal fortifications. charts and data on coastal sailing vessels, even sailors’ rations. This is the single best survey of the conflict for the Confederacy’s coastlines on offer, and its conclusions will surprise both the skeptics and the advocates of the blockade’s effectiveness. — Allen C. Guelzo, Princeton University, author of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion