College of Arts and Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)


Steven E. Woodworth


Civil War, Union Navy, blockade, Confederate Navy, Confederate home front, Confederate war effort, southern railroads, shortages in the Confederacy




Historians have disagreed on the effects of the Union naval blockade on the states that formed the Confederacy during the United States’ Civil War. This research shows that the Union naval blockade caused a spiraling effect on both the Confederate home front and the Confederate war effort. The Confederacy developed new ordnance factories, machine shops, and sources of essential raw materials such as salt and copper. This growth was not adequate to compensate for the loss of imports from the Union naval blockade. The Confederate government could not meet the needs of its population. Because of the blockade by the Union navy, Southerners suffered from shortages of food, medicines, and clothing. These shortages slowly sapped civilian morale and hampered the Confederate war effort. The Confederate government had to rely on its railroad system to move both civilian goods and military materiel. The railroad system proved inadequate. The blockade robbed the Southern railroads of spare parts and replacement rails. It wore out under wartime conditions and created more problems for the civilian population and the war effort. Deprivation of necessities and hunger defeated the Southern population long before the Confederate armies surrendered in the Spring of 1865.

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