1492 – The Roots of America
Christopher Columbus’ Spanish-financed expedition landed on what is now The Bahamas. This discovery attracted the attention of Europe to the riches available in the New World, inspiring France, Portugal, Spain, England, and the Dutch to send explorers. Without this successful expedition, the history of the founding of North America would be completely different.
A blockade-running ship, Theodora, left Charleston under the command of Captain Thomas Lockwood. On board were the two Confederate European representative, James Mason and John Slidell. The ship was owned by a syndicate headed by F. T. Porcher. George A. Trenholm, officer for Fraser, Trenholm and Company, put up half the money to supply the ship for voyage, in return for a handsome profit. Mason and Slidell were taken to Havana, Cuba to catch passage to England. They were captured by the USS San Jancinto and arrested.
She was built as Carolina at Greenpoint, N.Y., in 1852 for service as a coastal packet out of Charleston, S.C., occasionally crossing to Havana, Cuba. Upon outbreak of Civil War she was strengthened and refitted as the Gordon, under Capt. T. J. Lockwood, and placed in commission as a privateer at Charleston on 15 July 1861.