Trade During the Civil War

By Emile Bautista

Trade was a very important part of the Civil War. Trade brought wealth that was needed to maintain the costs of the war.  Many battles happened on the sea because of Union blockades.        

The Confederacy’s economy was greatly based on trade and slave labor. They had big amounts of cotton that they could trade to England. The cotton was gathered and planted by enslaved people. The South used trade to make a lot of their wealth since they didn’t have mills like the North had.

The Union saw a strategy for defeating the South. If the Union could weaken the Confederacy’s economy by stopping cotton trade overseas the South would run out of money and supplies for the war. This very approach to the war is  like a siege on a country. The Confederates still needed supplies for the war so they created blockade runners. These ships were very succesful in getting past the blockades. Many people at first thought that blockades were unnecessary because the war wasn’t going to last very long, but they were wrong. Planning ahead was a major part of being more prepared for the enemy.

The Union and Confederacy fought many battles in the Ocean. To counter the Union blockades the Confederates started to use ironclads instead of the older wooden ships. The iron was very good for protecting the ships from cannon fire and ramming into and destroying wooden ships. The Union’s wooden ships were in for a surprise.

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