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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Bahama

 

(ScBark: t. 888 [1,530; 716]; 226'; b. 29'2"; dph. 20'8"; dr. 16-19')

 

Bahama of London was a "very fast," iron bark-rigged propeller built fn the Pearse yard at Stockton-on-Tees in 1862—in one month—most modern in design and near-sister to Bermuda. Acquired by the Confederacy as a new ship, late the following year she became tender to CSS Alabama (q.v.). The U.S. Consul at London wrote, 24 February 1863, that she had sailed the 21st in ballast with a crew of 34, "double the number required for working the vessel. Her clearance was for Hong Kong, but I understand she goes to meet theAlabama. Cunard, Wilson & Co., the same house that cleared her before, cleared her this time. Her captain is W. Rowe. She is bound on mischief and should be captured wherever found."

 

Bahama had already been transporting munitions for the Confederate Government for nearly a year. Her first load, under Capt. Eugene L. Tessier, formerly of Bermuda, was "a large and valuable cargo of cannons and small arms" from Hamburg, 27 March 1862, to Nassau via Funchal, for the U.S. Minister in Brussels was so interested in Bahama and her million-dollar load, "the most valuable cargo yet shipped by the rebels," that he drew a priceless sketch of the ship, thus preserved to this day in official records with a description, in unaccustomed detail, of "a new screw steamer of about a thousand tons measurement, painted black, with a narrow red stripe around her waist; yellowish-gray below the waterline; yellow houses and boats; much gilt and filigree work about her bows and stern; upper half of her chimney red, lower half black; name gilded on light blue ground on each bow and upon her stern; roofs of her houses rounded and painted white; three masts, two of them square-rigged, carrying topgallant sails; heads and yards painted black; five boats in sight." The consul in Hamburg also reported her to Secretary Seward.