Letterbook of Charles K Prioleau, 1862-1865

handwritten letter in a book
Archive reference B/FT/8/1

Charles K Prioleau was a senior partner of Liverpool merchants and bankers Fraser, Trenholm and Co. His letterbook covering the period 1862-1865 contains copy letters to many leading Confederates, with references to blockade running.

Fraser, Trenholm and Company had strong links with the South, especially Charleston, South Carolina. They ran a number of ships through the Union blockade of the Southern ports.

The use of British ports, such as Nassau in the Bahamas, and British registered vessels, allowed goods, once out of Southern ports and vessels, to be legally transported and sold. The United States Government sought to prevent this, while the British Government tried to protect the legal rights of their merchants and ship owners and maintain political neutrality.

Transcript of letter shown on this page:

"Nassau Mail
Liverpool July 1 1862

Mr C H Moïse, Charleston,
Dear Sir,
I have to acknowledge receipt of yours of 24 Mar & 16 Apl (duplicate) enclosing cheque for £12 and order for 1 half chests tea which I will attend to with pleasure and ship the tea by the first opportunity.

Since the capture of the Bermuda [a ship] however we have suspended all shipments to Nassau and shall not resume them until we can get some sort of assurance from this Govt that British vessels sailing between British ports without any intentions of violating the blockade will be protected: at present the decision seems to be the other way.
Yours respectfully
C K Prioleau"

Find out more about Liverpool and the American Civil War

This Maritime Archives and Library display is part of National Museums Liverpool's programme to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. From 2011-2015 there is a series of displays and a gallery trail highlighting Liverpool's involvement in the war; through the collections of Merseyside Maritime MuseumMaritime Archives and Library and the International Slavery Museum.

Liverpool and the American Civil War