Cotton and the blockade of Southern ports

official document
Copy extract from the Custom Bill of Entry, Liverpool B Bills, 23rd May 1859, showing cotton imports. Archive reference C/BE/Liverpool1859

Once the war started the Union Navy blockaded Southern ports, attempting to stop the export of cotton. This Customs Bill of Entry for 1859 shows the large amount of, predominantly American, cotton that entered the port of Liverpool before the war. The Maritime Archives and Library display also includes a Bill of Entry from the same date in 1863, which shows a large drop in volume caused by the blockade.

The cotton that was being imported into Liverpool in 1863 was coming from other sources, such as the East Indies, China or Egypt. In 1863 Fraser, Trenholm and Co managed to import a small amount of cotton from the West Indies, their route for Southern blockade-run cotton.

Find out more about Liverpool and the American Civil War

This Maritime Archives and Library display is part of National Museums Liverpool's programme to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War|. From 2011-2015 there is a series of displays and a gallery trail highlighting Liverpool's involvement in the war; through the collections of Merseyside Maritime Museum|Maritime Archives and Library| and the International Slavery Museum|.

Liverpool and the American Civil War|