Tuesday, November 24, 2015
The Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner by William Watson
While we were in Gettysburg, someone mentioned William Watson's book, "The Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner" to us. This is probably my favorite book written by an actual participant in the Civil War.
Watson actually served as a soldier for the Confederacy, but he was injured. After that, he got a boat, and started trying to get items in to southern areas.
I do get the vibe that Watson was an honest person, trying to conduct business in an honest way- well, at least as honest as a blockade runner can be. He encounters people who he can trust, and some that he can't. He hires a captain early on to handle his boat, and that captain ends up being a very bad employee. He deals with co-owners of his ship and cargo who, at times have unrealistic expectations. He also frequently deals with Yankee ships that are out to get him!
Actually reading about William Watson's business dealings is a fun part of the book. Getting and selling cotton, hiring crew, etc. all become interesting topics. Navigating the sea and avoiding other boats is exciting too, but really all of his actions require strategy!
Cotton, which was very much in demand at that time, almost becomes a character in the book. At one point, cotton pretty much sinks his ship!
This is a fun to read book from an era that I can't get enough of. The characters and events are vivid and interesting (there are some great stories involving a priest, a lottery, and more). I would love to see this book get movie treatment, but I doubt that will ever happen.