Guns for Cotton: England Arms the Confederacy

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Burd Street Press, 1996 - History - 86 pages
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Even before Fort Sumter was fired upon, the Confederate government began organizing a supply line to obtain military equipment from abroad. The operation was run by an unlikely handful of military experts and aristocratic Charleston financiers, whose goal was to import the military supplies the resource-poor South couldn't manufacture. Much of the supplies came from England, a country whose official neutrality masked a widespread sympathy for the South. Working hand-in-hand with Confederate agents, manufacturers and contractors in Liverpool and elsewhere provided vast amounts of military goods which were transported on British ships to ports in Bermuda and Nassau. There, the goods were exchanged for the Southern cotton that was desperately needed to sustain the English milling industry. Profit and patriotism came together to form one of the largest foreign supply operations in history. Despite the blockade and a government whose finances were in disarray, by the end of the war the South obtained some $200 million worth of foreign arms and equipment.

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The Confederate States in 1861
Blockade and Response
Organizing International Supply Operations

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About the author (1996)

Boaz is a student of the Revolutionary War from the British aspect. He is a member of the Company of Military Historians, the British Officers' Club of Philadelphia, the Royal Marines of 1775, and serves on the board of directors of the Brandywine Batlefield Park. In private life he is a vice president of an investment firm.

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