Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner - Captain William Watson Book from The Roland Dressler Collection

Some books bring history alive!

This book is one of my favorites...from the Cotton Kingdom era when Galveston was the Wallstreet of the South



Captain William Watson

324 pages

Original was previously published in 1892

This book was copyright 2001

ISBN: 1-58544-152-X

Texas A&M University Press - College Station

William Watson Spent two years evading Union gunboats and dealing with the "sharpers" who fed off the msfortune of the Civil War.

In 1892, using log books , personal papers, and business memoranda, he sought to write a "plain, blunt" account of "events just as they happened."

Instead, he wrote a classic adventure tale whose careful description of seafaring in the 1860s gives us a glimpse into a world now closed to us.

Watson shares his story with his ship, the Rob Roy, and peoples his account with the good, the bad, and the unlucky.

He takes his reader from Havanna to Galveston, braving gales and a hurricane, and surviving plots against his ship and his life.

Through it all, he maintains his honor and guards his profits.

For the reader who wants to ply the Gulf of Mexico under sail, play the lottery in Havanna, and visit Texas when it was "a new country," Watson is the perfect guide to run the blockade that time imposes on prosperity.

A British subject, William Watson lived and worked in the South prior to the outbreak of war in 1861.

Although he opposed secession, he served with the Confederate Army.
Wounded at the Battle of Corinth and subsequently declared unfit for further service , he found his way to New Orleans and blockade running.

He recounted his service with the Confederacy in LIFE IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY

This is a true-life adventure story.

The author does not attempt to tell a story of daring exploits - rather, he gives a factual accounting of his experiences as the owner-captain of a private Confederate blockade runner operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

However, this factual account is all the more captivating because it is real.

What makes this story unique is that this is not a story about one of the big fast steam ships running the blockade in and out of the major ports on the Atlantic coast, this is a story about a relatively small, shallow draft sailing schooner using stealth and its ability to go into shallow waters to sneak past the Union ships in the backwaters of the Gulf.

The other aspect of the story that really sticks out is that the vast majority of the true threats and dangers to both the captain and his little boat take place on land not at sea.

From corrupt public officials and conniving business partners to dishonest and dangerous crew members you can't help but worry for the man every time he steps ashore.

Highly Recommended Reading !!!

A must have for anyone interested in Texas history & culture

Roland Dressler

Cell: 409.750.3688

You can send mail to me at:

Roland Dressler

P.O. Box 16214

Galveston, Texas, 77552