THE NAVY IN THE CIVIL WAR
Published 1883, 1885
THE BLOCKADE AND THE CRUISERS
JAMES RUSSEL SOLEY
PROFESSOR, U.S. NAVY
INSTRUCTIONS FROM FLAG-OFFICER GOLDSBOROUGH
TO OFFICERS COMMANDING BLOCKADING VESSELS.
officers commanding vessels employed on blockading service belonging to the
squadron under my command, are to be governed by the following general
directions in the discharge of their duties:
Duly notify neutrals of the declaration of the blockade, and give to it
otherwise all the publicity in your power.
The blockade must be strict and absolute, and only public armed vessels of
foreign powers are to be permitted to enter the ports which are placed in a
state of blockade.
Protect our commerce from the depredations of privateers, and, as a matter of
course, capture them and all other vessels of the enemy whenever you can do so
without being seduced away from your station.
A lawful maritime blockade requires the actual presence of an adequate force
stationed at the entrance of the port, sufficiently near to prevent
communication. The only exception to this rule arises out of the occasional
temporary absence of the blockading vessels, produced by accident, as in the
case of a storm, which does not suspend the legal operation of a blockade, and
to take advantage of such an accidental absence is a fraudulent attempt to break
the blockade, and will justify the application of penalties.
A neutral or foreign vessel, proceeding toward the entrance of a blockaded port,
is not to be captured or detained if she shall not have received previously from
one of the blockading squadron a special notification of the existence of the
blockade. This notification must be inserted in writing on the register and
muster-roll of the neutral vessel by the cruiser which meets her, and it should
contain the announcement, together with statements of the day and the latitude
and longitude in which it was made.
Until the ports are closed by proclamation (that is, declared to be no longer
ports of entry) the warning just mentioned is to be continued to vessels instead
of capturing at once, as will be the case when they come to be so closed.
Vessels leaving guarded insurgent ports without legal clearances are to be
seized and sent in for adjudication. If it be claimed that there is not an
effective blockade, and therefore that they are entitled to depart, still they
must not disregard our municipal laws and the requirements of the National
On the coast of North Carolina more particularly, there is an extensive scheme
of deliberately concerted measures to evade our vigilance and disregard our
laws. This must be broken up, and every effort is to be made to accomplish the
Vessels with contraband goods on board, approaching any of the blockaded ports.
or vessels that may have cleared for any of these ports, or be found, with a due
warning on their papers, hovering about any of them, are all to be seized and
sent in for adjudication.
L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH,
|Return to the main USNLP page|
|Return to the "Our Navy" table of contents -or- to Section II|
|Return to the NMLHA web site|
|Return to "On Deck!" table of contents|