1. First the science of time must be addressed. In the 1860s there were no time zones, all time was relative to mean local time, except for vessels at sea. Vessels at sea recorded their logs by the mean local time from the port from where the set sail on their journey.
So the time of a ship’s log leaving New York City would be twenty-four minutes earlier than the recorded time at Charleston Harbor when it arrived there...For example;
In 1861 when it was 12 o’clock noon in New York, New York the actual time in Charleston, South Carolina would be 11:36 o’clock in the morning.
2. The speed and amount of time for the USMS Nashville to travel from New York City to Charleston was recorded in detail due to contracts between the United States Government and the company that owned the USMS Nashville, Spofford and Tileston, to deliver the mails. That contract stated that the mail must be delivered within 60 hours of leaving port or be in breach of contract. The average travel time between New York and Charleston by steam ship, especially this type of steam ship, was fifty-five hours.
3. The New York Times and New York Daily Tribune reported that the Nashville left that port on April 9, 1861 at 7 a.m. (6:36 a.m. Charleston time), with an average time of 55 hours, the USMS Nashville should have made Charleston by April 11, 1861 at 12:36 p.m. in the afternoon, and by contract, no later than 5:36 p.m., on the evening of the same day ( both Charleston time).
4. Given the weather, which was bad, and not unusual for that time of year, the USMS Nashville could have arrived about the same time as the U.S.S. Harriet Lane, which was reported off Charleston just before dark on the 11th- The sun set on the 11th of April, 1861, Charleston time at about 6:22 o’clock p.m.
5. As for the cargo of the USMS Nashville that day the Charleston Mercury newspaper reported that when the ship finally made port on the 14th of April- due to being held up by the bombardment- the following passengers disembarked.
C S Webster
A F Rudler
Miss E Barney
M L Graves
Dr. E S Adler
Wm Appleton and servant
P O’Conner and lady
E A Leland
This list must be the first class passengers because the normal number of passengers for this ship was somewhere between forty and sixty.