One late September day in 1863 the Russian frigate Osliabia under the command of Captain Bourtakoff steamed into New York Harbor. The city authorities gave it the customary cordial welcome accorded to a man-of-war of a friendly nation paying a visit.
A few days later a Russian cruiser squadron commanded by Real Admiral Lessofsky and consisting of the frigates Alexander Nevsky (flagship), Peresvet, the corvets Variag and Vitiaz and the clipper Almaz cast anchor in New York Bay. This was a signal for the City Fathers to give the Russians a rousing reception. To quote the New York Daily Tribune of October 2, 1863, we hear that: