CSS Georgia (1863)

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For the unarmored screw steamer, see CSS Georgia (1862).
CSS Georgia
Career
Name: Georgia
Laid down: 1862
Launched: 1863
Commissioned: 1863
Decommissioned: December 21, 1864
Fate: Destroyed to prevent capture. Currently undergoing salvage.
General characteristics
Length: 250 ft (76 m)
Beam: 60 ft (18 m)
Complement: 200 officers and men
Armament: 4 to 9 heavy cannons

CSS Georgia, also known as State of Georgia and Ladies' Ram, was built in Savannah, Georgia in 1862 and was originally designed to be an ironclad warship.[1] Funding in the amount of $115,000 for her construction was provided by the Ladies' Gunboat Association.[2]

Placed under command of Lieutenant Washington Gwathmey, CSN, she was employed in defending the river channels below Savannah, training her cannons against the Union advance.[2] It is believed she lacked effective locomotive power for offensive engagement and was subsequently anchored in the Savannah River, protecting both Savannah and Fort Jackson as a floating battery rather than her intended design as an ironclad warship.[1] The Georgia had only been in operation for 20 months when Sherman's March to the Sea ended in Savannah on December 21, 1864; on that day the Confederates chose to scuttle her rather than abandon the ship to the Union. During her service history Georgia is said to have never fired a shot in combat,[1] though it is claimed that she did fire at a small boat of Yankees coming up river.[citation needed]

In 1866 the sunken ship was stripped of rail-road iron and the wooden hull destroyed by underwater charges,[citation needed] the remains then lying unknown for more than 100 years. It was during a dredging operation in 1968 that the wreck site was discovered.[1] As dredging continued over the years, the site was avoided, though accidental impacts from dredging equipment and anchors intended to mark the site location may have damaged the ironclad.[1] By 1992, all that remained of Georgia were portions of her forward and aft casemates and remnants of her engines, including boilers, shafts, propellers and condensers.[2] Several cannon were found near the wreck as well, along with assorted ordnance.[2]

By May 2012 the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had budgeted $14 million to raise the remains of the ironclad in order to accommodate further dredging of the river.[3] Archeologists working for the USACE Savannah District, aided by teams from the United States Navy, retrieved a 64-square foot section of Georgia from the bottom of the Savannah River on November 12, 2013.[4]

The remains are being recovered over a nine month salvage operation in 2015, as part of an initiative to upgrade waterway access for deep sea vessels, which requires dredging to 47 feet. By April 2015, USACE, with archaeologists from Texas A&M University, had recovered over 1000 artefacts from the wreck.[5] The removal of ordnance and the lifting of the major remains of the casemates and machinery is scheduled for June-July 2015.[6]

In the 1980s it was alleged that a photograph of the Georgia had survived, the only one known, and a photograph of the alleged picture was circulated, fueling debate as to its authenticity,[7] but on April 13, 2015, John Potter confessed to have faked the framed image himself.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Watts, Gordon P; James Jr, Stephen R. (February 2007). "In Situ Archaeological Evaluation of the CSS Georgia Savannah Harbor, Georgia" (PDF). Final Grant Report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Anuskiewicz, Richard J; Garrison, Ervan G. (1992). "Underwater archaeology by braille: Survey methodology and site characterization modeling in a blackwater environment - A study of a scuttled confederate ironclad, CSS Georgia.". In: Cahoon, LB. (ed.) Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences Twelfth Annual Scientific Diving Symposium "Diving for Science 1992". Held September 24–27, 1992 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC. (American Academy of Underwater Sciences). Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ Russ Bynum (May 5, 2012). "Civil War shipwreck in the way of Ga. port project". Associated Press. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ Rodriguez, Raquel (November 13, 2013). "A Piece Of Civil War History Raised From The Savannah River". WSAV-TV. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ "New artifacts reveal more about Civil War life". Balancing the Basin. USACE, Savannah District. April 30, 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Brown, Heather (May 15, 2015). "MDSU-2 Prepares for Historic Dive". America's Navy. US Navy. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  7. ^ article
  8. ^ Only known photo of Civil War ironclad the CSS Georgia is a FAKE: Man admits picture was a teenage hoax featuring a 2ft model

External links[edit]

USACE Savannah CSS Georgia project website

Coordinates: 32°5′5″N 81°2′9″W / 32.08472°N 81.03583°W / 32.08472; -81.03583 This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.