The Wanderer The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails
By Erik Calonius
Paperback, 298 pp
From the Publisher:
On November 28, 1858, a ship called the Wanderer slipped silently into a coastal channel and unloaded a cargo of over four hundred African slaves onto Jekyll Island, Georgia, fifty 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.
The Wanderer began life as a luxury racing yacht, but within a year was secretly converted into a slave ship, and - using the pennant of the New York Yacht Club as a diversion - sailed off to Africa. More than a slaving venture, her journey defied the federal government and hurried the nation's descent into civil war. The New York Times first reported the story as a hoax; as groups of Africans began to appear in the small towns surrounding Savannah, however, 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 from New York City to Charleston, to the Congo River, Jekyll Island, and finally Savannah, the Wanderer's tale is played out in the slave markets of Africa, the offices of the New York Times, heated Southern courtrooms, the White House, and some of the most charming homes Southern aristocracy 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.
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