Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 379
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 379
 
 
Welsh semi-bituminous coal. Nassau was the most important neutral, and Charleston and Wilmington the most important Confederate, ports in this trade. The blockade-runner left Nassau at an hour that would bring her off Charleston or Wilmington at night and the running of the blockade was rarely attempted unless there was no moon. When near the blockading squadron all lights were put out, the engine-room hatchways and binnacle were covered with tarpaulin and the steamer made her way forward in utter darkness. No noise was permitted; necessary orders and reports of soundings were given in muffled voices; steam was blown off under water. Often the blockade-runners escaped without being seen; sometimes they were chased but escaped; sometimes the pursuit was so hard that they ran ashore or were captured. It was a keenly contested game between these and the blockaders, only to be played by those loving the sea.  13
  The tales of the blockade-runners are highly interesting, full as they are of the spice of adventure. Battling with the sea in overloaded craft, specially constructed to avoid other danger; feeling their way through the blockading squadron; now painfully making their port without regularly set lights, now detected, pursued and resorting to all manner of tricks to elude the pursuers; loving fog, darkness and mystery—they were cool, fearless, nervy men and their stories are highly romantic. Less thrilling the tale of the blockader. The blockade-runner chose his own time and had the excitement of the attempt, but the blockader must be ever vigilant throughout long periods of inaction. After days and nights of anxious watching, the emergency, lasting brief minutes, might come when least expected. The great extent of coast,—much of it having a double line with numerous inlets,—and the necessity for the blockading
 

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