Crossing the Atlantic


…you could cross the Atlantic in a month in the Age of Sail?

I read that Columbus took two months, and then again six weeks. Of course, he crossed the Atlantic more than once. The average trip was probably six weeks in the eighteenth century. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, sailings of three to five weeks were reported. It all depended, of course, on the weather, the wind, the ship, the presence of war or peace, and the skill of the captain.

In Duke in Name Only (out in April) I had to assume Phillip got from England to Cape Giradeau, Missouri, by way of Philadelphia and Charleston between early June and mid-November. Whew. I spent an afternoon checking on the various segments of the trip. I’m confident of my numbers because a) much of it was down river with the current and b) the National Road had opened from Baltimore to the Ohio River.

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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