Steam-powered blockade-runners, usually British, made 1,300 attempts to enter Southern ports with vital supplies during the Civil War. More than 1,000 of the trips succeeded.
The most successful vessels were specially built for the trade—stealthy, steam-powered, shallow-draft, low-profile, camouflaged gray phantoms.
Yet entering the cape fear below Wilmington was not easy. U.S. navy blockaders, dangerous coastal waters, and shoals thwarted many attempts. Wrecks of 34 blockade-runners remain underwater around the greater Wilmington coastal area.