Major Anderson (1861)
Major Anderson site taken by Suzze Johnson from her power parachute in the summer of 2013
Major Anderson's lumber port
Aft end of Major Anderson's centerboard trunk and remaining deck beams
By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)

After salvage, the Major Anderson's wreck site remained forgotten until her discovery in May 2013 by ultralight pilots. Although an attraction for Point Beach State Forest visitors, she remains lightly visited by kayakers, divers and snorkelers today. Located 4 miles North of two Rivers, Wisconsin, in Lake Michigan, the barkentine Major Anderson lies on the lakebed in 3 to 10 feet of water. Although her rigging and deck machinery were salvaged, her lower hull remains intact and well preserved under an estimated ten feet of sand.

A dive guide for this vessel is available for purchase.
Service History

Named for Major Robert Anderson, commander of Union forces that held Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina at what marked the beginning of the Civil War, the majestic looking Major Anderson flew an American flag high from her mainmast and carried a “well executed” painting of Fort Sumter adorning her entire stern. The barkentine hauled various bulk cargoes on the upper Great Lakes for the duration of her career.
Final Voyage

Strong winds, extreme heat, and dry conditions, fueled forest fires across the region (Great Chicago Fire and Peshtigo Fire), as a result, dense smoke hung over Lake Michigan. Paired with heavy gale conditions at 2AM on 7 October 1871 Captain John C. Sullivan became disoriented, made an error in navigation, and ran the Major Anderson ashore near the mouth of Molash Creek. Both of the vessel’s small boats were damaged in the accident so when orders were given to abandon ship, the crew was forced to swim ashore.
Confirmed Location     Unconfirmed location
© 2018 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society