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for Combs, Edwin L., III
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During the Civil War, Confederate attempts to build ironclads in Wilmington failed because of shortages in skilled labor and materials needed for construction. The Wilmington facilities were more than acceptable for ironclad construction but shortages in oakum, seasoned timber, and metal plate as well as the necessary woodworkers and metalworkers, doomed Confederate efforts.
This article looks at the unique problems encountered by commercial interests in coastal North Carolina during the 18th century utilizing data contained in 1768-1772 British customs returns. This data was overlooked by historian Charles Christopher Crittenden in his 1936 article, 'Commerce of North Carolina, 1763-1789,' leading Combs to challenge Crittenden's conclusions and place his focus on the delicate balance between maritime trade, mercantilism, and economic development.