SAVANNAH — Divers scanning the Savannah River recovered part of a Civil War Confederate ironclad ship earlier this week.
U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews retrieved the 64 square-foot top portion of the CSS Georgia on Tuesday. The section, known as the casemate, was a protective shell that covered the ship and could be seen from above water.
The ship was recovered ahead of the planned expansion of the Savannah harbor, which is awaiting congressional funding, officials said.
The recovered portion of the ship will be taken to Texas A&M University, Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist Julie Morgan told the Savannah Morning News.
“Tuesday’s retrieval will play a major role in creating a research design to effectively remove the CSS Georgia before expanding the shipping channel along this stretch of the Savannah River,” Morgan said. “It took a dedicated team working in some very tough conditions to bring this piece to the surface.”
Portions of the ship sit near Fort Jackson and archaeologist Stephen James told WSAV-TV that the ship was built in 1862.
“She was underpowered so she basically sat out opposite Fort Jackson as a gun battery, between the fort and the iron clad ram, she protected the city from Union naval forces,” James told the station. “It never fired a shot. When Sherman’s army took the city she was scuttled just before the city was taken and abandoned.”
Julie Morgan, a staff archeologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, stands next to a 5,000-pound piece of the CSS Georgia, a Civil War ironclad scuttled in the Savannah River in 1864. Removing the remains of the CSS Georgia is an environmental mitigation feature as part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, a plan to deepen the Savannah shipping channel from 42 feet to 47 feet. (AP Photo/US Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, Jason O’Kane)×