View Full Version : The Blockade Runners' other business

Emmanuel Dabney
02-17-2007, 11:17 AM
While we celebrate and those who can support the saving of the McRae papers, I was doing a little searching in the Richmond Daily Dispatch (http://dlxs.richmond.edu/d/ddr/) to uncover the other valuable cargo being run through the blockade. That which had little military importance but in many cargoes mor could be found for the dry goods store or groceries than would benefit any of the armies.

A couple of such examples to be found below:

(From the Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 24, 1862)
Cargo sale in Charleston — the War prices.
A cargo of imported goods was sold in Charleston, Friday. Liverpool salt, in four bushel sacks sold at $46@47.50 per sack, and Rio coffee at $1.05@1.35 per pound. As a great many of the articles sold will most likely soon be in Richmond for disposal again, an opportunity to compare the prices with those paid at the cargo sale is desirable. We give a list of the chief articles:

Black pepper, 82 to 90 cents per pound; cloves 13 cents per pound; mace 42 cents per pound; Cognac brandy, in quart bottle cases, $22 to $30.50 per dozen; brandy, in quarter casks, dark $7 per gallon, pale $8.75 per gallon; superior English sperm candles, No. 6, $2 per pound; Hale's sperm candles, No. 6, $1.70 per pound, No. 8, $1.75 per pound; arrow root, 33 cents per pound; claret, $1.50 to $1.90 per gallon; refined sugar, 70 cents per pound; tar oil, 43 cents per gallon; Champagne, $39 per dozen; absynthe, $17 per dozen; spirits of wine, $10.50 per dozen; hoop iron, assorted, 8 to 13¼ cents per pound; English calf skins, $100 to $115 per dozen; enameled goat skins, $31 to $39 per dozen; grained shoulders, $1 per pound, white sheep skins, $30 per dozen, patent calf skins, $48 per dozen; French calf skins, $162.50 to $165 per dozen; calf kid skins, $100 per dozen; satin calf. French, $84 per dozen; men's Blucher's, $4.62½ to $7 per pair; men's bootees, $6 to $7.50 per pair; men's Balmoral shoes, $11 to $11.75 per pair; youth's Balmorals, $7 per pair; men's grained shooting boots, $20 per pair; men's grained Napoleon boots, $25 per pair; men's Wellington boots, $10.37 to $11.50 per pair.

Men's Congress boots, $14 per pair; men's gaiters, $10.50 per pair; ladies' Congress boots, $9.25 to $10 per pair; ladies' Balmoral boots, $7.50 per pair; misses' gaiters, $3.25 to $3.75 per pair; misses' pegged boots, $3.75 per pair; ladies' slippers, $2.25 per pair; carpet slippers, $1.62½ to $1.95 per pair; girls' lace boots, $2.25 per pair; girls' Balmorals, $3.35 to $4.50 per pair; girls' kid boots, $3.62½ per pair; wrapping paper, imperial brown, single and double, $2.50 to $7.50 per ream; imperial writing paper, $10 to $11.75 per ream; copying paper, $5.50 per ream; cream laid folio post, $27 to $29 per ream; pink blotting paper, $2.75 to $5 per ream; book printing paper, $10 to $14 per ream.

Foolscap paper, various, $16 to $33 per ream; letter paper, various, $18 to $25 per ream; envelopes, yellow, various sizes, $10.50 to $24 per thousand; white envelopes, $14 to 50 per thousand; blue laid note paper, $10.50 to $13.50 per ream; ladies' black silk gloves, $10 to $12 per dozen; ladies fine Lisle gloves, $4.25 to $6 per dozen; men's white military gloves, $7.75 per dozen; gents' mixed silk gloves, $6.75 to $10 per dozen; ladies' colored kid gloves, $12 to $16 per dozen; white cotton hose, $4.50 to $9.50 per dozen.

Gents' shirts, $55 per dozen; west end collars, $4.50 per dozen; hoop skirts, $6.25 each; hoop skirts, colored, ten springs, $8 each; dressing combs,$3.75 to $5.75 per dozen; grass cloth sacks, $3 each; tweed sacks, $5.50 each; black alpaca coats, $2.80 to $3.62½ each; men's mixed drill trowsers, $3.95 to $5.25 each; tweed pants, $6.50 to $10 per pair; fancy doe trowsers, $10.50 to $12 per pair; children's fancy suits, $2.50 to $4.75 per suit; men's suits, tweed, $21 to $40 per suit; boys' suits, tweed, $9.50 to $16.50 per suit; pilot cloth, $3.25 to $4.25 per yard; black doeskin, $3.25 to $3.30 per yard; fancy tweeds, $3.90 per yard.

Black broadcloth $6.25 to $10.50 per yard; blue broadcloth $10 per yard; bleached huckaback toweling, 56 to 60 cents per yard; 78 bleached English shirting, 33 cents per yard; imperial bleached English shirting, 72½ cents per yard; fancy dress calicoes, 67½ cents per yard; 4-4 English prints, light ground, 60 to 60½ cents per yard; 7 8 black and white prints, 66 to 70 cents per yard; 78 state prints, 60 cents per yard; 78 black and fancy prints, 65 cents per yard; 78 madder prints, 54 to 60 cents per yard; 4-4 madder prints, 68 cents per yard; bone buttons, $1.50 per great gross; black lasting buttons, 60 cents per small gross; chickory 17 cents per pound; sulphur, 23 cents per pound.

Alum, 36 cents per pound; black lasting coat buttons, $1.55 to $1.75 per gross; hooks and eyes, $1 to $1.15 per great gross; military cloth caps and covers, $1.60 to $1.90 for each cap; oil skin caps, 87½ cents each; officers' caps, gilt bands and covers, $3 each; boys' glazed caps, 65 cents each; men's felt hats, $6.50 each.

(From Richmond Daily Dispatch, March 4, 1864)
Blockade Goods.
--Just received at Belvin's Block Shoe Store on 12th street, opposite Bank street, 300 pairs of Ladies' French and English Congress Galters, made of calf, kid and cloth; 200 pairs of Misses' Kid Congress Gaiters; 200 pairs of Boys', from No. 7 to 13; 200 pairs of Children's Balmorals, Ankle Ties, and a lot of fancy colors; 200 Hoop Skirts, late styles; 500 French Corsets, Corset Springs, Laces, Ladies' Black Silk and Kid Gloves, small sizes; Sewing Silk, Parlor Playing Cards; one set of beautiful Pearls, price $3,500. With a large selection of our own make of Shoes for ladies and gentlemen, of most superior quality. One case of Napoleon Cavalry Boots, the finest we ever saw Men's and Women's Cearse Shoes; 20 doz. fine French Calf Skins; 20 doz. Morocco Skins; 500 yards English Elastic Goring; 211 doz fine blk, Neck Ties.

Darby, Read & Gentry,

Shoe Manufacturers.

(From Richmond Daily Dispatch October 10, 1864)
Blockade! Blockade!!
Belvin's Block shoe Store.
We have lately received from Wilmington and Baltimore a large selection of Shoes, and now have the largest stock in the South.

300 pairs of Ladies' French and English Gaiters,
200 pairs of superior Morocco Bootees,
300 pairs of Misses' Leather Shoes, with other kinds and qualities.
300 pairs of Gentlemen's Calfskin Gaiters. This is decidedly the best Shoe imported.
200 pairs of Boys' low quarter English Shoes,
300 pairs of Army and Servants' Shoes; with a large assortment of
Neckties, Drawers, Undershirts,
Men's Felt Hats and Kid Gloves,
Shoe and other Laces,
Handkerchiefs, Black Thread,
Eyelets, Machine Silk,
Hoop Skirts, Correct Springs,
Matches, French Calfskins, 6c., &c.

I thought this would make a nice balance to imported goods in the South during the war contrasting with McRae's purchases for the Confederate troops.

02-18-2007, 11:47 AM

I thought it was interesting that the Richmond store listed the following together:

"300 pairs of Army and Servants' Shoes"

Kind of puts a little damper on the amount of civilians running around wearing army brogans... Just an interesting observation.

Emmanuel Dabney
02-18-2007, 12:43 PM
Agreed, Chris. A pet peeve of mine being citizens with army shoes. Of course just because it is coming in doesn't mean everyone is able to buy it, but the fact that it is still coming in means there is a demand for it and SOMEONE is buying it.

I am going to be updating an article I wrote for Citizens Companion (then in the hands of the great Susan Hughes) hopefully this spring/summer for a new article for CW Historian. Let me cross my fingers for that to happen.

02-18-2007, 05:38 PM
One set of pearls for $3,500.00? That must have been one nice set of pearls. I wonder if it was a set meaning necklace, earrings, and bracelet? Even still, thats pretty expensive.

-Aaron Meredith