The ironclad warship CSS Georgia was intentionally sunk by its crew to avoid captivity from General William Sherman in 1864. The wreckage lies beneath the Savannah River. A multi-million project to deepen the said river to accommodate larger ships passage is currently ongoing and will require the complete removal of the ship and its debris.
Scheduled on June 1, a special diving team from the US Navy will provide assistance in raising the warship. Tiny artifacts have already been recovered and brought to the surface however, archeologists will need help from the Navy divers for the recovery of the ship’s larger pieces. The ship also has onboard weapons that will be dangerous to remove that is why professional military divers will perform these tasks.
The diving team consists of individuals that have experience in salvage operations of multiple high profile warships and even space shuttles.
Some of the parts that will initially be pulled up are the vessel’s weapons (cannons) and armor systems, steam engine modules and smaller fragments. These will be sent to US Navy repositories.
According to commander for the operations, Jason Potts “The desire to maintain the ship in somewhat of a conservable state is one of the primary concerns. That’s a little bit different from typical salvage. Often times, aside from human remains or things like a flight data recorder, it’s simply object recovery. It’s bringing it up safely and disposing of it. Whereas these artifacts will be preserved for future generations.”
The Navy divers’ assignment is estimated to be completed by the end of July.