ARTICLE: Winsboro and Knetsch on the ‘Saltwater Railroad’


Irvin D. S. Winsboro, and Joe Knetsch. “Florida Slaves, the ‘Saltwater Railroad’ to the Bahamas, and Anglo-American Diplomacy.” Journal of Southern History 79, no. 1 (February 2013): 51–78.


A case study is presented on what is referred to as the saltwater railroad, or the escape route used by U.S. fugitive slaves from St. Augustine, Florida to Nassau in the British Bahamas during the late 1830s and early 1840s. An overview of the diplomacy between the U.S. and Great Britain over fugitive slaves in the Bahamas, including the U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Florida Joseph B. Browne’s diplomatic efforts, is provided.

Image Credit: Colored painting; African town in foreground. Fort was founded by the Dutch in 1612; renamed Fort Nassau in 1637. See A. W. Lawrence, Trade Castles and Forts of West Africa (1964), pp. 242-44. (Slide, courtesy Merrick Posnansky, from the original in the British Library.) [D001] as shown on, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)

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