Moonlight (1874)
Moonlight under full sail
Wreck site plan
By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)
Service History

"The Moonlight was principally in the grain, coal, and ore trade and was a familiar sight in Milwaukee. Many old-timers consider the Moonlight the queen of the lakes schooners in her day. Many remember her famous race with the Porter from Buffalo to Milwaukee. About the fall of 1888 the Moonlight was used as a barge and was towed. On September 29, 1895 she stranded in a gale while in tow of the steamer Charles J. Kershaw." "She was of a new,larger class of schooners that signaled the beginning of the golden age of sail on the Lakes. The Moonlight achieved fame and recognition across the lakes as a beautiful sailing ship with fine lines and exceptional speed. .. The Moonlight even saw service on the Atlantic...She served as the inspiration for the modern replica ship Denis Sullivan..."
Final Voyage

"...the venerable old schooner Moonlight ended her days on September 1903. She had come up the lakes under the tow of the Volunteer for a load of iron ore at Ashland, Wisconsin. The wind had been blowing hard for two days... and the two ships departed during a lull in the storm... As the vessels approached Michigan Island in the Apostle Island group, Captain Campbell signaled the Volunteer that he was taking on water. An attempt was made to start the steam pumps , but steam could not be raised quickly enough as the pounding waves conspired to loosen her seams. The Moonlight began to settle rapidly and Captain Campbell signaled the Volunteer to come alongside. With great effort, all the men on board the Moonlight were able to jump to the Volunteer. The Moonlight proved a total loss at $9,000 with her ore valued at $6,000."

"The wreck of the schooner barge Moonlight lies in 240 feet of water seven miles east of Michigan Island near the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior. The hull is broken up, but large hull structures remain intact...None of the numerous artifacts on the site have been disturbed. Due to its extreme depth, the entire wreck site has not been explored by divers.
© 2018 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society