In Savannah, Georgia, one of the busiest ports on the Atlantic for container vessels, government officials are attempting to deepen the waterway connecting the port to the Atlantic. There is a significant obstacle to their plan, the remains of the CSS Georgia, an armored gunboat that was scuttled by Confederate forces to avoid capture by William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union army when he captured the city in December 1864. Currently, the vessel is on the National Register of Historic Places and dredging is prohibited within fifty feet of the wreckage.
In order to allow for the port expansion, the Army Corps of Engineers is going to raise and salvage the remains of the Georgia. Currently, two large pieces of the armor, as well as cannons, parts of the engines, and a propeller. The Corps notes that caution will be in order, as munitions are present and may still be active. The wreckage is important, as the war was the beginning of the age of iron-hulled vessels and was a fine example of what the South could do, despite a lack of industrial base. It will also represent what went wrong for the Confederacy during the late war.
This will be a wonderful opportunity for preserving another part of Civil War history, as only a few other naval vessels from the period have been preserved, including the USS Cairo, which sank in the Yazoo River in Mississippi, soon before the Vicksburg Campaign, which I have visited a couple time and is well worth seeing.
Information courtesy of Associated Press.