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Blockade Runners in the Civil War: Topics in Chronicling America

During the American Civil War, stopping blockade runners smuggling guns and ammunition led to naval war between the states. This guide provides access to material related to “Blockade Runners” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic news


"Discovery of a Blockade Runner." July 16, 1898. The Jersey City News (Jersey City, NJ), Last Edition, Image 7. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Stealth, speed, a new moon and luck were all the steamers could hope for as they snuck along the southern coast in the dead of night. Smuggling vital supplies to the Confederacy, blockade runners knew their lives were on the line as soon as they left the port. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


January 18, 1862 A timeline of the early days of the blockade.
December 16, 1863 Angry Northern perspective on punishment of caught blockade runners.
January 9, 1864 U.S. Secretary of the Navy’s official report on blockade effectiveness.
July 21, 1864 The blockade is defied.
August 24, 1864 The business aspect of the blockade.
December 21, 1864 The North Carolinian Rebel Navy.
April 20, 1865 Statistics on Ships and Successes.
June 1, 1869 A veteran recounts his blockade running days.
February 4, 1886 The captures of the Connecticut.
December 18, 1895 Tales of stirring adventure on South Carolina’s coast.
February 25, 1903 Escapades and escapes of one daring steamer.
November 22, 1903 Fictional story on Civil War soldiers.
July 29, 1904 The capture of the Banshee.