Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on May 7, 2014

BlockadeRunningCoverSmallMy new book, Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast, will be released by the History Press on June 10. It’s available now for pre-order at the History Press, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. An e-book version should follow this summer. This short volume discusses blockade-running in the western Gulf of Mexico, with particular emphasis on the last year of the war, when Galveston became the last remaining port in Confederate hands in the region. Running the blockade under sail, life aboard the Union ships of the blockade, and the lure of prize money are also discussed. The book includes an epilogue that discusses some of the archaeological work done on runners over the last 40 years.

Blockade-running in this area has been an active interest of mine for nearly 20 years, and I’ve been privileged to contribute to the documentation of four different ships involved — the famous runners Denbigh and Will o’ the Wisp, as well as Union vessels U.S.S. Arkansas and U.S.S. Hatteras. Lots of folks have helped me along the way, and I’m grateful to all of them.


Update, May 8: My first book event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Bookstore in Houston, 2421 Bissonnet Street. (Just in time for Father’s Day, y’all!) Brazos Bookstore is a real gem, and even if you can’t come out on June 12, you owe yourself a treat.






28 Responses

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  1. M.D. Blough said, on May 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I just pre-ordered it on Amazon (your book qualifies for Amazon Prime). ☺

    • Andy Hall said, on May 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Margaret, thanks very much. I hope you enjoy it. As I recall, last time the books began shipping a little ahead of the official release date, so maybe it will arrive a bit early.

  2. Christopher Shelley said, on May 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    But is it at Powell’s? That’s the real question.

  3. Neil Hamilton said, on May 8, 2014 at 12:24 am


    I wish you nothing but the best in regards to your book. Looking forward to reading it.


  4. Foxessa said, on May 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Congratulations upon the almost-here-publication of your book! It surely is a fine one, distilling as it does 20 years of close study.

    Love, C.

    • Andy Hall said, on May 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks very much. It’s the first time I’ve written about people who are not only still around, but very much active in their discipline. I hope they’re still talking to me afterwards!

  5. Caleb McDaniel said, on May 9, 2014 at 7:20 am


  6. jfepperson said, on May 9, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Congratulations, Andy! Who has the movie rights? 😉

    • Andy Hall said, on May 9, 2014 at 11:29 am

      I hope John Goodman plays me.

      • H. E. Parmer said, on May 9, 2014 at 11:57 am

        “I’ll show you the life of the mind!”

        Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Congratulations, Andy! (And dang you, now there’s yet another book on my “To Buy” list.)

      • jfepperson said, on May 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

        True story: One of my former math colleagues wrote a monograph, and the contract had a clause about the film rights! In a math book? I understand using form contracts and all, but this was just bizarre.

        • H. E. Parmer said, on May 9, 2014 at 11:46 pm

          (With apologies to Tom Lehrer)

          You can’t discount the possibility some studio might want to buy up the rights to his monograph and re-title it “The Eternal Triangle” — with Gwyneth Paltrow playing the part of the hypotenuse.

  7. Jimmy Dick said, on May 9, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Congratulations on the book, Andy! I’ll put in the reading stack and mention it to students in my suggested reading section.

    • Andy Hall said, on May 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks, Jimmy. I hope it will be both a fun read and informative.

  8. Woodrowfan said, on May 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Way to go Andy! I look forward to reading it…

  9. Mike Rigsby said, on June 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I’m looking forward to reading your book when it is available and hope to come to your book signing in Galveston. Do you talk in your book about Capt. Dave McCluskey? He was a blockade runner in Galveston and was a colorful character. I’m interested as my wife is a McCluskey.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 6, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Dave McCluskey retaking the schooner Sting Ray from a Yankee boarding party is one of the better anecdotes in it. Maybe I can meet you on the 28th at the Galveston Book Shop downtown.

  10. Mike Rigsby said, on June 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    That’s a great story. I’ve been telling it to my kids and grandkids for years. I’m afraid that over the years, we’ve lost some details and maybe some of the truth so I am excited to see it in your book. Looking forward to seeing you on the 28th.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 6, 2014 at 9:24 am

      It’s a brief retelling, based mainly on the report of the Union ship that captured them. William Watson, in his blockade-running memoir, tells of meeting McCluskey and gives a longer account of it.

  11. Mike Rigsby said, on June 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I wondered where you heard that story. There’s not a lot of information out there about Capt. Dave. I read that story on the internet years ago and have never been able to find it again. We’re very glad you have it in your book.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

      I worked directly from the report of the Union ship, U.S.S. Kineo, because it was recorded at the time and most proximate to the event. Watson’s version was the one told him by McCluskey several months later, but Watson didn’t put it down for almost 30 years. There are minor differences in the telling, to be expected, but the basic story is the same.

  12. Mike Rigsby said, on June 7, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I’ve ordered your book and Watson’s book and look forward to reading them. I read part of Watson’s book online and his version of the Sting Ray story is 10X better than what we knew about it. My wife and I are looking forward to meeting you on the 28th. I think several McCluskey family members will be there as they are all interested in the research you’ve done on Capt. Dave.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 9, 2014 at 11:33 am

      I hope you’ll enjoy it, and get a better sense of what was going on then. Do keep in mind, though, that Captain Dave was not a specific focus of my research.

  13. Mike Rigsby said, on June 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks. I understand and look forward to reading what you’ve written about him specifically and about the blockade runners in general. Good luck with the book. I know you’re going to sell a stack of them just to our family. Everybody is wanting a signed copy.

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