Thomas Haines Dudley

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Thomas Haines Dudley was consul of the United States of America in Liverpool during the American Civil War. He was instrumental in leading efforts by the Federal Government to prevent British involvement in the war, and in particular in preventing blockade runners from Liverpool, such as the CSS Alabama, from assisting the Confederate war effort.

American Civil War[edit]

During the American Civil War (1861–65), consul Dudley made strenuous efforts to prevent ships from Liverpool from breaking the United States Navy blockade of Confederate ports.[1][2] Great Britain remained officially neutral throughout the war but there were many Confederate sympathisers in Liverpool.[3] The commerce raider CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead in Merseyside in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company.[4] She was eventually sunk by the USS Kearsarge in 1864.[5][6]

Dudley wished to retire after the war and return to his law practice in New Jersey, but such was his knowledge of Confederate assets in Liverpool that he stayed on as consul, seizing Confederate ships and returning the proceeds of sale to the victorious United States Government.[7] Relations between Britain and the United States were tense after the war, in part because of the role of Liverpool blockade runners and the widespread perception in America that Britain had been sympathetic to the defeated Confederacy. The claims arising out of these disputes, especially the Alabama Claims, would not be settled until the 1871 Treaty of Washington.[8]



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