This Confederate Blockade Runner Was Built In Scotland But Never Made It To The War

The Confederacy during the American Civil War came tantalizingly close to having its own ship for delivering supplies to Southern ports blockaded by the U.S. Navy.

The Iona I was a paddle steamer, named for the tiny Scottish holy island of Iona. The abbey on Iona is one of the oldest and most significant religious centers in Western Europe.  Scotland was started  used on the Glasgow, Scotland to the Highlands as a passenger ship, sank after a collision on the Clyde River with another ship in 1862 before the Confederacy took possession.

The Clyde river in Scotland was for a long time one of the most important ship-building centers for Britain. The Iona was built on the Clyde. It began its life as a passenger ship taking travelers from Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands.

The American Civil War was ongoing from 1861 – 1865. In ’62, Confederate agents bought the ship, for use as a blockade runner. Iona I left Glasgow, headed for the American Civil War, but she collided with another ship and sank in the Clyde, where she lies to this day.

The Scottish government has marked her location as a Marine Protected Area since the ship is of national importance as a historic site. The government hopes the MPA designation in conjunction with a community-led process will not only continue protection of the marine environment but will also increase tourism, education, research, and recreation in addition to assisting local communities to protect seabirds which include the threatened Atlantic puffin, BBC News reported.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE