Slave deck, Bark Wildfire


IN 1860, Charles Lamar was brought to trial for illegally taking possession of the Africans after they landed on Jekyll Island.  It was a futile attempt at justice.  Due to Lamar's power and influence, witnesses offered little testimony against him.  The trial was dismissed on May 20, 1860.


During the Civil War Lamar served as a Colonel in the 61st Georgia Infantry.  He later became a blockade runner and was quite successfull until Sherman's capture of Savannah in 1864. Charles then joined the 25th, Regiment, Georgia Cavalry.


On April 16, 1865, eight days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Colonel Charles Lamar was killed in a battle outside of Columbus, Georgia.  His body was returned to Savannah and interred at Laurel Grove Cemetery.


The press' fascination with the yacht Wanderer continued after the trial.  In December of 1859, The New York Times ran an article stating : "As the vessel is the wonder of the day. . . Everything relating to her must be of interest.  We propose  therefore, to keep the run of her until some other wonder, more wonderful, shall throw her into the shade."  The Times continued to "keep a run of her" until the Wanderer sank in a gale on the eastern coast of Cuba in 1871.



(Image: "The Slave Deck on the Bark Wildfire," Harper's Weekly, 1860, *image reference: E027)


THE ILLEGAL slave trade continued in Africa after the Wanderer's departure from its shore.  In 1859, this description was sent from the Congo Coast:


"They sail cautiously yet boldly in, anchor, and in two or three hours are filled with negroes, who are carried off to them in canoes. . . They are carried aboard, stowed in a sitting posture, with the knees drawn up so closely that they can scarcely breathe, much less move.  Now their suffering becomes dreadful - horrible, indeed human language is incapable of describing or imagination of sketching even the faint outline of a dimly floating fancy of what their condition is - homesick, seasick, half-starved, naked, crying for air, for water, the strong killing the weak or dying in order to make room, the hold becomes a perfect charnel house of death and misery - a misery and anguish only conceivable by those who have endured it."

- Congo Coast, 1859 


In 1859, due to resurgence in the slave trade, President Buchanan called for greater Navy surveillance and four steamers were stationed around Cuba to intercept slave ships.  The increase in patrols worked.  Between 1859 and 1860 seven slavers were seized, including the slave ship Wildfire highly publicized in Harper's Weekly.


James Wayne remained on the Supreme Court during the Civil War giving his allegiance to the restoration of the Union.  Disloyalty to the South meant being deemed a traitor and Wayne's property in Savannah was seized by the Confederacy.  He died while serving as a Supreme Court Justice on July 5, 1867.