The importation of slaves to the United States was outlawed in 1808, but the law didn't completely prevent people from profiting from slave trade. The Wanderer was built in 1857, and in 1858 it was outfitted for hauling slaves. The ship was inspected as it was leaving New York, but there was no conclusive evidence that it was to be a slave ship, so it was allowed to pass. It sailed to Africa where 500 (some sources say 600) slaves were loaded on the ship. Many of the slaves died on the six-week journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The Wanderer reached Jekyll Island, Georgia on November 28, 1858 and delivered 460-490 slaves.
During the American Civil War the ship was seized by Union troops and used for the Naval blockade of the Confederate States of America.
For many years, a hotel on Jekyll Island was named The Wanderer.
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