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Union Dahlgren smooth-bore, 9-inch shell cannon, from C.S.S. Peedee
Union Dahlgren smooth-bore, 9-inch shell cannon, from C.S.S. Peedee.

Continued: C.S.S. Peedee

“Michael Hartley, an archaeologist in North Carolina, said he was 12 years old when he watched a group of men salvage a boiler and parts of C.S.S Peedee at Mars Bluff,” said Amer. “He said the water was low and that he made a detailed map of its location.”

Hartley, once on staff at USC’s South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), gave Amer a file that he had created on C.S.S. Peedee.

“I was able to go right to the spot,” said Amer. “Hartley’s account matched up with magnetic readings that I took of a 25,000-square-foot area.”

In November, Amer used sonar to search for the debris and found evidence of the wreck: ripples on the sand where sediment had built up over debris, magnetic “hits” in straight lines depicting the iron bolts along bedding timbers and a tree stuck on something substantial on the river’s bottom, possibly ship timbers.

“It’s in pieces and buried, although I’m not sure just how deep,” Amer said.

The condition of the wreck doesn’t surprise him. After all, he said, the Confederate commanders set the 170-foot gunboat ablaze and blew it up in 1865 so it wouldn’t fall into the hands of Gen. William T. Sherman’s northward advancing Union troops.

He said in the early 1900s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers further damaged the wreck while clearing the river channel for boat traffic.

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