Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Ivanhoe, Blockade-Runner from the Civil War

The Ivanhoe
by Abagail Eldan

A Civil War relic was recently uncovered in Mobile Bay, near Dauphin Island.

During the War, the Union blockade extended over 3500 miles along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines. Ships were built, mainly in British shipyards, to slip through the blockade undetected. The ships, aptly named blockade-runners, did this by their maneuverability and speed and usually outran the Union ships.

One such blockade-runner was not so successful. The Ivanhoe, built in Scotland in May of 1864, sank on its maiden voyage when it tried to enter Mobile Bay. Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, controlled by the Confederates, normally kept most blockade runners safe with their canons although that was not the case for the Ivanhoe.

One of the canons, still visible on Dauphin Island.
 Picture by James Willamor

 Inbound ships usually brought badly needed supplies and mail to the Confederacy, as well as most of the guns. Some blockade runners made many successful runs, while many others were either captured or destroyed. Up to eighty percent successfully ran the blockade although the Union Navy captured more than 1,100 blockade runners and destroyed or run aground another 355 vessels.

And one of these was the Ivanhoe.

By Edibobb - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10355117

Fort Gaines sits on the east end of Dauphin Island, only feet from the Gulf of Mexico and is subjected to erosion from hurricanes, such as Hurricane Michael. When Michael approached the Florida Panhandle on October tenth, making landfall at Mexico Beach, it made history as the strongest storm to ever hit that area. 

One of the byproducts of the storm was the removal of the sand from the Ivanhoe. For those who snorkel and can brave the cooler December waters, it's an interesting sight. This is a recent photograph:
Image courtesy of Capt. Dreas Andreasen.

And this is what the Ivanhoe would have originally looked like.

For more information and other pictures, check out this article

I am one of the Brokken Road Romances' authors. Brokken Road Romances is a series about a town in east Texas in which the ladies advertise for men to revitalize Brokken. Most of the men served in the War, some fought for the Union and others for the Confederacy. 

Perhaps the uncovering of the Ivanhoe might be the catalyst for a new storyline. Ideas surround us. It's up to the writer to grasp one and grapple it into a book!

Please visit me over on Facebook:
or on my blog.

And here's my latest book for the series:

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