Tags: civil war | shipwreck | oak island | blockade | runner

Civil War Shipwreck Off Oak Island a Rebel Blockade Runner?

Image: Civil War Shipwreck Off Oak Island a Rebel Blockade Runner?

Image of remains of iron-hulled steamer found off North Carolina. (Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 09:07 AM

A Civil War-era shipwreck off the coast of Oak Island in North Carolina is set to be explored by underwater archeologists on Wednesday, and many expect them to confirm that the vessel was a Confederate blockade runner.

CNN reported that the ship could be either the Agnes E. Fry, Spunkie, or Georgianna McCaw, all of which went down near each other during the war.

"It is the right location to be one of these three," said underwater archaeologist Billy Ray Morris, Deputy State Archaeologist-Underwater and Director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch.

The boats, Morris explained, were iron-hulled steamers that sought to circumvent the Union blockade, keeping vital and lucrative trading lines open.

"They were the equivalent of a cigarette boat. They were wickedly fast," said Morris. "They had the most sophisticated engines that England could put out."

"If you made one complete round trip, you paid for your ship," he added.

The shipwreck was discovered on Feb. 27 via sonar technology about 18 to 20 feet below the ocean's surface.

"The preservation of this vessel is astounding," said Morris. "You can see that in the sonar image."

Based on the length of the vessel, it is most likely to be the Agnes E. Fry, which was built in Scotland in 1864, and originally named the Fox. It was renamed, however, by a blockade runner as a tribute to his wife.

Records show that the vessel did some business in Havana, Cuba, and possibly other Caribbean ports.

The Agnes E. Fry and two other runners were key in keeping the Confederacy's Fort Fisher open and trading for a time, however, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources explained that the fort eventually fell in January 1865. That, in turn, led to the fall of Wilmington.

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A Civil War-era shipwreck off the coast of Oak Island in North Carolina is set to be explored by underwater archeologists on Wednesday, and many expect them to confirm that the vessel was a Confederate blockade runner.
civil war, shipwreck, oak island, blockade, runner
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2016-07-08
Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 09:07 AM
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