Throughout the war, the Union blockade of the Southern coastline from the Chesapeake Bay to the Rio Grande River in Texas grew stronger.
In the early days of January 1864 the Union blockade was tighter than ever, with numerous blockade runners captured by the Federals. For instance, on Monday, January 11, 1863 two blockade runners were captured off Florida, and two others were burned off Lockwood’s Folly Inlet, North Carolina. But on occasion Union blockading ships would, particularly during pursuit of a blockade runner, sometimes run aground with disastrous results.
Such was the case for the USS Iron Age when she ran aground while attempting to refloat an abandoned Confederate blockade runner in Lockwood’s Folly Inlet. Under enemy land bombardment, the U.S. Navy abandoned the Iron Age, destroying her by burning.