Blockade by Becky Brown
Symbolizing the Union's Strategy
Major General Scott as a War Hero
The Union Army's General-in-Chief was Winfield Scott, who had served with glory in the Mexican-American War about a dozen years earlier. Since then, he'd lost a Presidential election to Franklin Pierce and grown old and ill.
In the spring of 1861 Scott was 73 years old. A Virginian who had served under every President since Jefferson, Scott refused to join the Rebels as had Colonel Robert E. Lee and others.
In May, Scott realized his Army would not be fighting a 30-day War and suggested a strategy to surround the Confederacy at sea and on the Mississippi River, squeezing its economic life by occupying strategic ports. The press, always ready to lampoon "Old Fuss and Feathers," derided the blockade as the "Anaconda Plan". Scott, too old to ride a horse, was soon replaced, but his blockade tactic remained an effective Union goal.
Parthenia Antoinette Hague wrote extensively about the effects of the blockade. Her 1888 memoir A Blockaded Family: Life in Southern Alabama During the Civil War is a comprehensive account of shortages and substitutes. Here she writes about making homemade shoes as the years went by and the South was deprived of materials and manufactured goods:
"Our shoes, particularly those of women and children, were made of cloth, or knit. Some one had learned to knit slippers, and it was not long before most of the women of our settlement had a pair of slippers on the knitting needles. They were knit of our homespun thread, either cotton or wool, which was, for slippers, generally dyed a dark brown, gray, or black. When taken off the needles, the slippers or shoes were lined with cloth of suitable texture. The upper edges were bound with strips of cloth, of color to blend with the hue of the knit work. A rosette was formed of some stray bits of ribbon, or scraps of fine bits of merino or silk, and placed on the uppers of the slippers; then they were ready for the soles....
Sometimes we put on the soles ourselves by taking wornout shoes, whose soles were thought sufficiently strong to carry another pair of uppers, ripping the soles off, placing them in warm water to make them more pliable and to make it easier to pick out all the old stitches, and then in the same perforations stitching our knit slippers or cloth-made shoes."
Cutting an 8" Finished Block
Use scraps of white prints (shirtings) to echo the idea of using up the smallest pieces.
A Cut 1 medium and 1 dark square 5-1/4". Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 cuts.
You need 4 medium and 4 dark triangles.
B Cut 1 dark, 1 medium and 6 light squares 2-7/8". You might want to make the light triangles scrappy. Cut each into 2 triangles with 1 cut.
You need 2 dark, 2 medium and 12 light triangles.
Blockade (BlockBase #1212) has been redrawn from the design of that name published in the Kansas City Star in 1938.
Read A Blockaded Family: Life in Southern Alabama During the Civil War at Google Books by clicking here: