History and Ships Package
Savannah, Georgia, USA
- Hop on, hop off: No need to worry about transportation. Trolleys come by every 20 minutes, so you can get on and off where you like.
- Massie Heritage Center: It got its start as Savannah's first public school in 1856, only briefly stopping operations for use as a Union hospital during the Civil War. In 1977, it became a teaching museum, with exhibits on Savannah's history, architecture, and preservation movement.
- Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum: History is brought to life through a collection of model ships, paintings, and maritime antiques on display at the William Scarbrough House.
About this Savannah, Georgia tour
It was the original mega yacht, built in 1857, for New Orleans sugar baron Colonel John Johnson. The Wanderer was luxurious, sleek, and designed to be one of the fastest ships of its day, reaching speeds of up to 20 knots. But its second owner, William C. Corrie, would use that speed in another way, converting it into what would be the last slave ship to the U.S.
Corrie was opposed to the restrictions placed on importing slaves from Africa, so he partnered with Charles Augustus Lamar, a wealthy cotton planter, to refit the hold of the Wanderer and to head to Africa to bring back new slaves. They found them in what's now Angola, taking on 487 slaves; nearly 80 of whom didn't survive the six-week return voyage across the Atlantic. The remaining 409 slaves were dispersed along the South, including Savannah. Northerners were outraged, Southerners, not so much.
The Wanderer was seized as a slave-trading vessel by the U.S. government. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, it was put into service with the U.S. Navy, where it served as a gunboat, a tender, and a hospital ship. After the war, it was sold to a mercantile company, and was lost off the coast of Cuba in 1871. See a miniature doppelganger at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum.
A slave to the truth
After the arrival of the 409 Wanderer slaves, there were rumors about more slave-ship landings across the South, so President Buchanan sent in a spy to uncover the truth. Benjamin Slocum spent two months undercover, speaking with slave traders, plantation owners, and other locals. In his final report, he concluded that the rumors were false, either fabricated for political effect or to feed the media's gossip columns.
Please make your way to 234 Martin Luther King Blvd, Savannah, Georgia 31401.
Trolley departs from boarding locations approximately every 20 minutes.
Massie Heritage Museum: Tours last approximately 45 minutes.Closed Major Holidays and St. Patrick's Day. Ships of the Sea Museum: Museum is open Tuesday - Sundays.
Expect a moderate amount of walking. Trolleys are not wheelchair accessible. At the Ships of the Sea Museum, the basement level is accessible with a portable ramp.
Bus Tour, Cultural, Family Friendly, Tickets
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages. Children 3 years of age and younger participate free of charge.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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