On 25 June 1899, the tug Satisfaction
was towing the schooner barge Tracy J. Bronson
from Chicago, Illinois to East Jordan, Michigan to receive a cargo of elm lumber aboard the barge. The tugboat was then going to haul the lumber laden Bronson
to Buffalo, New York. While the Satisfaction
was steaming north of Sheboygan, Wisconsin flames were discovered in the tugs pilothouse. The fire apparently started around the boiler and the flames spread rapidly. The crew managed to escape aboard the ship's yawl and some sheltered aboard the Bronson
. The Goodrich Line steamer Georgia
attempted to reach the burning tug when its boiler exploded. The Steamer Olympia
while bound from Erie to Sheboygan attempted to tow what was left of the still burning tug and the Satisfaction
sank while in tow. The tug Sheboygan
was later dispatched to take the barge Bronson
into tow. The crew of the Satisfaction
made it to shore in Sheboygan without injury. Prior to the fire, the Satisfaction
had sunk in the Chicago River after the alleged carelessness of a night watchmen who had left the tug for the night with the injector still working.
The remains of the Satisfaction
lay in just over 100 feet of water. The ship’s hull is broken and rests on its port side. The stempost lays in the sand with most of the ship’s outer hull planking sprung from the knighthead. The tug’s machinery remains on the site and consists of a firebox boiler with smokestack and a single cylinder steam engine that remains connected to the propeller shaft. Following the propeller shaft aft, we found a thrust bearing, couplers and finally the propeller. Only one blade of the propeller is visible. The ship’s rudder also lies under the debris. Most notable are a pair of robust towing bitts that Satisfaction
used for rescuing and towing other vessels. The bitts remain connected to the stern deck that is upside down in the sand. Evidence of the fire which caused its sinking can be found throughout the wreck.