The Wanderer

The Wanderer

The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails

Book - 2006
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On Nov. 28, 1858, a ship called the "Wanderer" slipped silently into a coastal channel and unloaded its cargo of over 400 African slaves onto Jekyll Island, Georgia, thirty eight years after the African slave trade had been made illegal. It was the last ship ever to bring a cargo of African slaves to American soil.
Built in 1856, the "Wanderer" began life as a luxury racing yacht, flying the pennant of the New York Yacht Club and cited as the successor to the famous yacht "America." But within a year of its creation, the Wanderer was secretly converted into a slave ship, and, with the New York Yacht Club pennant still flying above as a diversion, sailed off to Africa. The Wanderer's mission was meant to be more than a slaving venture, however. It was designed by its radical conspirators to defy the federal government and speed the nation's descent into civil war.
The "New York Times" first reported the story as a hoax; however, as groups of Africans began to appear in the small towns surrounding Savannah, the story of the "Wanderer" began to leak out; igniting a fire of protest and debate that made headlines throughout the nation and across the Atlantic.
As the story shifts between Savannah, Jekyll Island, the Congo River, London, and New York City, the "Wanderer's" tale is played out in heated Southern courtrooms, the offices of the "New York Times, " The White House, the slave markets of Africa and some of the most charming homes Southern royalty had to offer. In a gripping account of the high seas and the high life in New York and Savannah, Erik Calonius brings to light one of the most important and little remembered stories of the Civil War period.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312343477
Branch Call Number: 973.711
Characteristics: xiv, 298 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map, ports. ; 24 cm.


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Nov 16, 2015

As a history buff it's a rare event when I encounter a researched work that actually changes my viewpoint on a particular subject. I'd never heard of the Wanderer and the events recounted here. But the entire affair adds an important side to the events leading to the Civil War. Excellent piece of work.

May 25, 2007

In 1858, a converted luxury yacht named the Wanderer unloaded a cargo of 400 African slaves on the coast of Georgia, 38 years after the importation of slaves had been made illegal. Calonius recounts the ship's voyage to Africa and back, and the highly publicized trial when the truth became known. Photos of the key players and plans of the ship are included. Written in a fast-paced style more reminiscent of thrillers than history books, the highly accessible text digs deep into the motivations for the Civil War and illuminates some of the darkest corners of our nation's past.


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