Nassau, New ProvidenceThe Illustrated London News, vol. 44, no. 1253, p. 366.
April 16, 1864
With reference to the annexed Engraving of the capital of the Bahamas, our Special Artist and Correspondent writes as follows:--"Nassau at the present moment is a point of very great interest indeed, being the head-quarters of the Anglo-Confederate blockade-runners; and at no time, I presume, has its harbour shown so much activity as now. The enterprise of British merchants has lined its quays with long light-coloured, rakish-looking steamers, discharging their rich freights of cotton that have run the gauntlet through the Federal cruisers off Wilmington. The voyage from the Confederate States to Nassau averages about fifty hours; but then these fifty hours are fraught with an excitement that a voyage of fifty days would fail in producing. From the time of leaving Cape Fear River, Wilmington, to the time of sighting Nassau and getting into British waters, these adventurous craft are never safe from being overhauled by a Northern man-of-war. Many a feat of heroism has been displayed by the plucky Englishmen who command them, and I have known instances of a vessel being chased and fired into for an entire day, and the only answer given in reply was to display the British ensign more proudly than ever. Of course the owners of these ships are, strictly speaking, violating the neutrality which her Majesty's Government has proclaimed; but, for all that, we Englishmen may well be proud of the spirit of enterprise shown by our countrymen, who set at defiance the guns of the Federalists, and turn a blockaded harbour into an open port. Nassau is the point whence most of the blockaders start with the cargoes destined for the Southern Confederacy, and it is here that they return with their bales of Sea Island and Upland cotton which they have obtained in exchange for the rifles, blankets, and shoes so much needed by the Southern soldier. The climate of the Bahamas, of which New Providence is one of the group, is almost tropical; and pleasant, indeed, to your Correspondent was the change from the wintry weather which he had experienced on the banks of the Rapidan. Oranges, shaddocks, bananas, cocoanuts [sic] , pineapples and many other varieties of fruit abound, and lovely to the eye is the diversity of foliage in which the charming bungalow residences are embedded. The people of the place, led by their popular Governor and his lady, are the most hospitable I have ever met; and the officers of the 1st West India Regiment, stationed at Nassau, are the best set of men it has been my chance to fall in with on a foreign station."