- The Blockade Runner Denbigh and the Union Navy: Including Glover’s Analysis of the West Gulf Blockade and Archival Materials and Notes by Robert W. Glover, J. Barto Arnold III
This tome represents the seventh work in a series from the Texas A&M University Institute of Nautical Archaeology. The Blockade Runner Denbigh and the Union Navy is divided into two parts. Part one is the complete republication of Robert W. Glover’s 1974 doctoral thesis and part two includes analysis by J. Barto Arnold III and myriad reprinted pertinent letters, ledgers, checks and other archival documentation that Arnold and the project deemed significant for this volume. The initial portion of this book is of little significance, considering Robert Browning’s masterful and preeminent work Lincoln’s Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War (University Alabama Press, 2015). The publishers do note that both books were published in the same year, thus providing an explanation for the vast overlap of information disseminated to readers.
The author’s explanation for this volume in the ongoing series is to ask the question, “What were the Union blockaders up to?” (117). The subject is addressed “by showing examples of memoirs, official reports, and the files generated by the requirements of prize law when a capture was made” (117). Arnold concludes this large sized paperback by stating the “Denbigh’s documents showed how the blockading ships at Galveston, the prize court in New Orleans, and the Washington officials of the Treasury and Navy Departments processed a prize and paid the prize money to each individual sailor entitled to a share” (433). This work was difficult to assess as it is not meant to stand alone. Rather, it is an ongoing investigation about one ship in the nautical realm of the American Civil War. From this perspective, the book’s strength is that it is an addition to an ever-evolving examination of all facets surrounding the Denbigh. However, for the reader who seeks a single volume of the West Coast Gulf Blockading Squadron, Browning’s superb offering provides readers with meticulous research balanced with flowing prose. [End Page 515]