Term of Award
Masters of Arts in History
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)
Department of History
Alan C. Downs
Committee Member 1
Donald A. Rakestraw
Committee Member 2
Charles P. Crouch
On April 19, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a blockade of the Confederacy that ultimately encompassed more than 3500 miles of coastline. As part of Lincoln's and General Winfield Scott's "Anaconda Plan" the blockade was designed to strangle the economic life out of the Confederacy, whose economy so heavily depended upon imports and exports. To handle this daunting task, the blockading fleet was originally divided into four components, the North and South Atlantic and East and West Gulf Blockading Squadrons. Of the four, the South Atlantic Squadron had one of te most difficult tasks. Covering a coastline stretching from the North Carolina/South Carolina border south to the mid-Atlantic region of Florida, this squadron was responsible for halting the flow of goods in and out of Charleston and Savannah. Samuel Francis DuPont, a career Navy officer who had served on the blockading board that helped establish the South Atlantic Squadron was given the responsibility of command.
During his tenure as commander of the squadron, DuPont successfully blockaded over two-thirds of the patrol area assigned to him. DuPont seized the Confederate harbor at Port Royal and there established the squadron's base of operations. From Port Royal DuPont, with the help of the Army, he quickly closed most of the coastline from South Carolina to Florida. Only the well-defended city of Charleston eluded him.
DuPont spent the remainder of his term as commander of the squadron attempting to take Charleston. Pressed by the Navy Department to employ a strategy in which he was not entirely comfortable, DuPont failed in his assignment and was ultimately dismissed. Although Charleston remained open until early 1865, DuPont's record as commander of the squadron is still impressive. His blockade was indeed effective and contributed to the ultimate defeat of the Confederacy.
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Winn, Bradley Michael, ""Absolute Necessity of Success" A History of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron under the Command of Rear-Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont, 1861-1863" (1997). Legacy ETDs. 16.