The deepening of the shipping channel in Savannah, Georgia, won't be dredging up just mud and sand. It will be raising up a link to the past: an ironclad that protected the city during the Civil War until the vessel met its undignified demise.
For about the next nine months, divers will be working to bring up the CSS Georgia, piece by rusted piece, from nearly 40 feet down in the Savannah River. The $706 million harbor deepening officially began Thursday with speeches and the firing of an old cannon at Old Fort Jackson near the wreck site.
The removal of the CSS Georgia is necessary for the state and federal project, which will see the channel go from 42 to 47 feet so massive cargo container ships can use the port without relying on the tide. While some material from the Confederate vessel was recovered after the war, four artillery pieces, parts of the propeller and propulsion system, a boiler and two casemates, which housed the artillery pieces, remain in the swift, dark waters. One of the casemates is huge: 68 feet by 24 feet.
"She is really in large sections scattered throughout the bottom down there," Julie Morgan, archaeologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, told CNN. The CSS Georgia didn't have enough power to maneuver and effectively trade artillery rounds with any enemy vessels that might approach from the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, the vessel became a stationary floating battery, bristling with artillery pieces.
CWL: From a quick internet search it appears that the CSS Savannah and the CSS Georgia are the same vessel. The first CSS Georgia was a floating artillery platform stationed for a time at Elba Island, then at Fort James Jackson. The first remnant of the ship was brought up from the bottom of the harbor on November 11, 2013.
Full Text Continued: CNN, January 30, 2015
Image Source: Deseret News