The Blockade on the “Connecticut Plan”
Title: The Blockade on the “Connecticut Plan”
Creator: Currier & Ives
Description: The artist ridicules the government’s early efforts to overhaul and augment a somewhat outdated Union fleet to blockade Southern ports and effectively defend against Confederate privateers and blockade-runners. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles of Connecticut is disparaged as two Union vessels–essentially wooden washtubs armed with small cannons–try to block the path of a sleek Confederate steamer, the “Nashville.” The first Union vessel, the “Cambridge” (left), has a stove on which a large kettle boils. Its captain addresses the “Nashville’s” crew, “Ship ahoy! Heave to, and surrender!! Don’t you see that the Department’ have bought and fitted up this magnificent vessel, on purpose to catch you?” One Confederate crewman responds, “I don’t see it! Nary a catch!!” Another thumbs his nose. A Union sailor laments, “The only way to capture that Ship, is to get Morgan to buy her.” The sailor is most likely talking about Junius Spencer Morgan, a wealthy banker and supporter of the Union effort. The captain of the second Union vessel, the “Gemsbok,” also calls out to the “Nashville.” He warns, “If you don’t stop, we have instructions to come to anchor, and write the Secretary for further orders.” To which comes the response, “Give our compliments to the Secretary, and tell him, he shall certainly hear from us by every Northern vessel that we meet.” An exchange occurs between two of the “Gemsbok’s “dispirited crewmen: “Well Shipmate we’ve done our duty; We were put in this old tub to Watch and we have Watched.” “Shiver my timbers my hearty! but it would have been a darned sight better to have put us in a decent Ship and sent us here to “catch.”” Both ships fire their miniature cannon at the “Nashville.