The wetter side of the Civil War

Last night I gave a talk about the Union Blockade of southern ports to a Civil War group in Delaware (Based on my book NASSAU, which was inspired by the ruins of the Royal Victoria Hotel we saw in Nassau on a vacation years ago). I expected this group to be unusually well informed in such matters, and they were. One even showed up with pages of information he had researched in preparation, so I was a little apprehensive that I would say something that would have them rolling their eyes and snickering. I had visions of someone saying “The average water depth outside Fort Sumpter was 18 feet, not 17!” or “The Blockade declaration was on a Tuesday, not a Wednesday!” or maybe “Admiral DuPont wasn’t 41 when the war broke out because his birthday wasn’t until August!”
But everyone was polite and interested. No one jumped to his or her feet with an outraged correction, and the questions were thoughtful, and, shall we say, occasionally challenging. Samples.
“How long did it take to build a Blockade Runner at the shipyards in Glasgow?” (My answer: I don’t know.)
“Did the Blockade Runners ever fire back at the Blockaders?” (My answer: Not unless they were suicidal.)
“Are the Royal Victoria Hotel ruins still standing in Nassau?” (This one I knew! My answer: Nope. The Bahamas Government tore it down to build a parking lot for the Ministry of Health. In the Bahamas, apparently, if it’s not about pirates, it’s not history.)
Anyway, it was a great time with some very informed folks.
I guess the moral to the story is that you can always tell a Civil War buff, but you can’t tell him much he doesn’t already know!blockade-runners

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