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 New Providence, one of the Bahamas, and it is the chief town and capital of the group. All of the islands are surrounded by coralreefs and shoals, through which are channels, more or less intricate. The distance from Charleston to Nassau is about 500 miles, and from Wilmington about 550. Practically they were equi-distant; for blockade-runners bound for either port, in order to evade the cruisers lying in wait off Abaco, were compelled to give that headland a wide berth by keeping well to the eastward. The wharves of Nassau were piled high with cotton during the war, and huge warehouses were stored full of supplies for the Confederacy. At times the harbor was crowded with lead-colored, short-masted, rakish-looking steamers; the streets alive with the bustle and activity of the day, swarmed with drunken revellers at night. Almost every nationality on earth was represented there, the higher wages ashore and afloat tempting adventurers of the baser sort, and the prospect of enormous profits offering equally strong inducements to capitalists of a speculative turn. Monthly wages of a sailor on board a blockade-runner was $100 in gold, and $50 a bounty at the end of a successful trip; and this, under favorable circumstances, would be accomplished in seven days.
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