Searching for the Schooner Rob Roy: An Historical Archaeological Analysis of a Civil War Blockade Runner
The American Civil War spanned four years of bloody fratricide that divided the country. During those years, President Lincoln declared a blockade on all Southern ports hoping to cut supplies to the Confederacy in an attempt to shorten the conflict. As a result, blockade running became a lucrative career, and several captains, who held no allegiance to the Union or Confederacy, took advantage of the potential profits. One such captain, William Watson, successfully ran the blockade from 1863 to 1865 with the assistance of the eight-man crew on the centerboard schooner Rob Roy. On 2 March 1865, Rob Roy was intentionally run aground and burned in Deadman’s Bay off the coast of Florida to avoid capture. This thesis seeks to contribute to the overall understanding of blockade running in the Gulf of Mexico during the American Civil War by looking at the political, economic, and social relationships between people interacting with Rob Roy by completing a historical, archaeological analysis of sail versus steam in the Gulf of Mexico. If found during the search, the theoretical concept of agency and artifact biography would have been utilized to understand the interactions between people and Rob Roy. Artifact biography studies recognize the undeniable relationship between people and objects and the vital role an object plays in understanding the cultural past of humans. This thesis utilizes both primary and secondary historical sources to analyze the unique role Rob Roy played in the American Civil War while comparing its success to other blockade runners of the Gulf of Mexico. The archaeological fieldwork conducted for this research provided additional information that contributed to the overall understanding of social interactions in ports along the Gulf Coast. Ultimately, the main question is, “what contribution does the study of one blockade runner have on the general understanding of the interaction of ports in the Gulf of Mexico during the American Civil War?”
Bernard, Samantha. (June 2020). Searching for the Schooner Rob Roy: An Historical Archaeological Analysis of a Civil War Blockade Runner (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/8564.)
Bernard, Samantha. Searching for the Schooner Rob Roy: An Historical Archaeological Analysis of a Civil War Blockade Runner. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, June 2020. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/8564. September 28, 2020.
Bernard, Samantha, “Searching for the Schooner Rob Roy: An Historical Archaeological Analysis of a Civil War Blockade Runner” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, June 2020).
Bernard, Samantha. Searching for the Schooner Rob Roy: An Historical Archaeological Analysis of a Civil War Blockade Runner [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; June 2020.
East Carolina University