In the first days when the South controlled some of the canal
Boats were forced to do as they were told
Even if they were for the Union
Or if the owners had goods to be sold.
From April until June of 1861
The Confederates were placed at Harpers Ferry
Where they took control of at least two personal boats
And what they did made the others very wary.
The South used the boats to block the passage of others
Insisting that to pass they needed permission.
Without the say so of the Confederates
Forced those on the water to come to a tough decision.
If they could not pass unmolested
The only thing they could do was refuse to send shipments.
And so they ceased making a living for the time that the South
Created a problem that was a real detriment.
The Confederates control lasted roughly six weeks
And for that time the boatmen refused to take part
Of moving goods along the waterway.
When the Union returned, again commerce could start.