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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

Disruptions to the wreck occurred in 1925, Amer said, when propellers were salvaged, and again in 1954, when Hartley witnessed the salvaging of two engines, a boiler, propeller shafts and a 30-foot section of the stern.

With the mystery of the wreck solved, Amer will resume efforts to locate the third cannon.

Amer said he will ask local loggers in the spring to move the logs holding the Brooke in preparation for raising the two cannon. He said he also wants to determine whether a field of logs carpeting the river bed close to where the other two cannon were found, is covering the missing cannon.

The logs are a remnant of the Mars Bluff Navy Yard, one of seven inland Confederate naval yards and the one where C.S.S. Peedee was built and later used for logging activities.

While Amer has worked to locate the cannon and gunboat, his colleague, Dr. Jon Leader, a SCIAA research associate professor, is searching for the naval yard.

Like the third cannon, the land portion of the Mars Bluff Navy Yard remains elusive.

Leader’s initial search, using ground-penetrating radar and remote-sensing technologies with students from USC and East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies field school, uncovered early occupations by Native Americans, but no evidence of the naval yard. He said he believes it may be on adjacent property along the river, which he will investigate this spring.

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