Friday, July 1, 2011

Blockade Runners, Get Ready

From The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume III

This entry is the Confederate secretary of war writing a letter to Charles Green of Savannah, a native British man, cotton merchant and ship owner, then living in Savannah.  He was going to help the Confederates secure muskets from England and transport them back to the states.  I wonder if he and his cohorts were ever successful in fulfilling this mission . He is mentioned a few times in the Official Records and so was a known Confederate friend.  But perhaps somebody knows the answer to this. . .

An interesting fact is that a few years later Charles Green offered the use of his house to General Sherman during Sherman's march to the sea in hopes of saving it and his cotton.  Sherman accepted his offer, and the elaborate gothic revival style mansion still stands today.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, July 1, 1861.
Mr. CHARLES GREEN, Savannah, Ga.

SIR: You are hereby associated with Captain Huse and Major Anderson, now in London, in the purchase of arms and munitions of war for this Government. On your arrival in London you will exhibit this communication to them, as it is necessary that they should know this fact without delay to secure co operation. By recent dispatches they have been directed to purchase 100,000 muskets or rifles, and it is of the utmost importance that speedy shipments be made. To this point some one of you should devote special attention.
In this connection it is proper to remark that Captain North, of the C. S. Navy, is now in Europe to purchase vessels for this Government, and it is probable that being a British subject you might secure the shipment under British colors.
In securing arms it is not the purpose of the Department to restrict you to any particular locality but to urge the commisssion to proceed wherever there is any probability of success. The necessities of the Government are such as to require the utmost expedition and industry on the part of its agents.

Special directions in the nature of instructions are purposely avoided, as the Department has confidence in the discretion of its agents and must leave them free to exercise their discretion under the necessities of their position. *
Very respectfully,

Secretary of War.

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Charles Green residence, while occupied by General Sherman, from Library of Congress Collection

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