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CSS Georgia (ironclad)
CSS Georgia ironclad
Career Naval ensign of the Confederate States of America (1863–1865).svg
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

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

Commanded by Lieutenant Washington Gwathmey, CSN, the new warship was employed to defend the river channels below Savannah, using her cannons to prevent a Union advance on the city from the sea.[2] When her steam engines turned out to lack sufficient power for offensive use, the Georgia was anchored in the Savannah River as a floating battery, protecting both the city and Fort Jackson.[1] The Georgia had been in service about 20 months, when Sherman's March to the Sea captured Savannah by land on December 21, 1864. Her Confederate crew scuttled the ship rather allow her to be captured and used against the South. The Georgia is thought never to have fired a shot in combat,[1] although there is a story that she once fired on Union boats that were attempting to approach the city by the river.[citation needed]

In 1866 the ship's railroad iron armor was salvaged, and the wooden hull was shattered by the underwater charges used to remove it.[citation needed] The wreck was then left alone and forgotten. In 1968 the Georgia was rediscovered during a dredging operation of the Savannah River.[1] The wreck was left untouched, although accidental impacts from dredging equipment and the anchors marking the site location may have damaged what remained.[1] By 1992, all that was survived were portions of her forward and aft casemates and parts of her engines, including the boilers, shafts, propellers, and condensers.[2] Several of her cannon were located nearby, along with assorted ordnance.[2]

In May 2012 the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) budgeted $14 million to raise the remains of the ironclad to allow for further dredging.[3] Archeologists working for the USACE Savannah District, assisted by teams from the United States Navy, raised a 64-square-foot section of the Georgia on November 12, 2013.[4]

Further relics are being recovered during an on-going nine-month salvage operation in 2015, as an initiative to upgrade waterway access for deep sea vessels requires its dredging to 47 feet. As of April 2015, USACE, with archaeologists from Texas A&M University, had recovered over 1000 artifacts.[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 a photograph was discovered that allegedly shows the Georgia,[7] but on April 13, 2015, a man named John Potter confessed to have faked it.[8]

The Georgia was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 (#86003746).

Artifacts recovered in 2015Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Watts, Gordon P; James Jr, Stephen R. (February 2007). "In Situ Archaeological Evaluation of the CSS Georgia Savannah Harbor, Georgia". Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 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.". 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". 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". USACE, Savannah District. April 30, 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  6. Brown, Heather (May 15, 2015). "MDSU-2 Prepares for Historic Dive". 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 linksEdit

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.

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