Wednesday, September 2, 2015


2 September 2015: Wow! I can't believe it's September already! Where has the summer gone! The good news is that here in the Northeast we still  have at least a couple of month months of playing with boats! And speaking of boats (that's what this blog portends to do, at any rate!) today's post is about a Confederate Ironclad which was found during a dredging project in the Savanah River last year and has been being systematically raised by the Navy.

CSS Georgia was anchored in the river as a "floating battery" due to its inability to navigate the tidal waters of Georgia's Savannah River.

CSS Georgia

When she was built, the intent was to add to the South's ironclad fleet - think CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack), but she was built so stoutly that he weight precluded her getting over the sand bars in the river and out to sea. So she was relegated to the status of floating battery, designed to prevent ships (Union) from approaching Savannah from the sea. When William T Sherman got to the city after his "march to the sea" from Atlanta, she was sunk to prevent the Union forces from capturing her.

The hulk was found during a project to deepen the Savannah River and officials determined to remove unexploded ordinance and cannon along with other artifacts. Now they are recovering her armor plating in 10,000 pound chunks measuring some 4 feet X 24 feet (Yeah! That's heavy and answers why she became a floating battery!)

The ship was built by subscription managed by the Ladies Gunboat Society (merchants' wives and other like-minded ladies) who raised the funds necessary o construct the ship. She was completed in 1862 and spent only three years afloat before General Sherman threatened the city.

Salvors have raised 132 unexploded shells, four cannons, the propeller, boiler, and other parts so far. Their goal is to get enough of the vessel up to reconstruct it and determine building methods of the period.

As the project continues, I will report further developments.

So, until next time,
                                     Fair Winds,
                                         Old Salt

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