Photos: Burnt Wreck May Be Last Known Ship to Carry Slaves to US

From above

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

A burnt wreck found near Mobile, Alabama, may be the long-lost Clotilda, the last known ship to bring slaves to the United States.

This bird's-eye view shows the old ship's current state. The white boat next to it is 22 feet (6.7 meters) long, which is small compared with the 124-foot (38 m) wreck. [Read more about the Clotilda here]

Tree trunk

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

The main structural component of the bow, known as the boat's stem, was fashioned out of a quarter of a tree trunk, likely from a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), according to Ben Raines, a reporter for AL.com, who found and reported on the wreck.

Burnt plank

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

This burnt plank was probably a deck beam or a part of the deck. The plank is flat on the other side.

Metal plate

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

This image shows a chain plate - a metal plate that fastens a shroud to the hull of a sailboat - from the shipwreck. This particular chain plate is typical of vessels built in the mid-1800s. The fire might have helped preserve it, as fire can harden wrought iron and keep it from rusting.

Original license

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

The original 1855 license for the Clotilda. Five years later, it sailed to Africa to pick up human cargo.

Boat bones

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

Giant timbers are evident in the vessel's starboard (right) side, and you can see the outer planking lying adjacent to it. The rope is a modern one that washed up on the wreck.

Wood and iron

Possible Clotilda remains

(Image credit: Ben Raines/BRaines@al.com)

This view shows the side of the ship. The outer planking is 4 inches (10 centimeters) thick. It was held together with the inner planking (on the right) with large iron drift pins.

[Read more about the Clotilda here]