As the war progressed, and the U.S. Navy blockade along the SE Atlantic Coast tightened around many of the main ports of entry in northeast Florida (Fernandina, Jacksonville and St. Augustine), blockade runners began to make use of more remote entry points in Florida to the south along the coast. Mosquito Inlet (now Ponce de Leon Inlet), along the Florida coast north of Cape Canaveral, became an important entrance point for runners. The inlet and Mosquito Lagoon were deep enough to accommodate larger steamers and schooners. The community of New Smyrna was located south of the Inlet along the Mosquito Lagoon. Runners would enter the inlet and dock at New Smyrna, or hide along the mangrove shoreline of the lagoon and offload their cargo. Wagons would transport the cargo overland to the St. Johns River, where it would be loaded on river steamers for transport to other offload points fortransfer to railroad stations and further distribution. George Buker indicates that this was known as “running the inner blockade.” Mosquito Inlet was the dividing point between the operating sectors of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (to the north) and the East Gulf Blockading Squadron (to the south), so ships of both squadrons participated in actions in this region.
Steamer at a dock near New Smyrna, Florida, after the war. This gives an idea of what a blockade runner offloading supplies may have looked like. Source: Florida State Archives.