The INA Quarterly
Volume 26 No. 2 Summer 1999
3 The Confederate Blockade Runner Denbigh MEMBERSHIP
J. Barto Arnold III, Andy Hall, Tom Oertling, and Instie of N l
Christin P Institute of Nautical Archaeology
Christine A. Powell P.O. Drawer HG
P.O. Drawer HG
College Station, TX 77841-5137
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On the cover A painting shows the Confederate blockade runner payableto NA. The portionof anydo-
Denbigh, which sank in Galveston Bay six weeks after Robert E. nation in excess of $10.00 is a tax-de-
Lee's Army of Northern Virginia surrendered in 1865. Courtesy ductible, charitable contribution.
August 1999 by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. All rights reserved.
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The iNA Quarterly was formerly the INA Newsletter (vols. 1-18).
Editor: Christine A. Powell
The Confederate Blockade Runner Denbigh
J. Barto Arnold III, Andy Hall, Tom Oertling, and Christine A. Powell
The most decisive engagement of the American Civil
War may have been fought at sea, not on the great battle-
fields that tourists visit today. The South had to protect its
supply lines in order to survive, just as winning the Battle
of the Atlantic was essential to Britain's victory in World
War II. President Lincoln recognized this when he orga-
nized the "Anaconda Plan," the Union blockade named
after the South American snake that suffocates its victims.
Ships like the blockade runner Denbigh, the object of re-
cent INA operations in Bolivar Roads near Galveston, were
the warriors in this crucial battle.
From the beginning, the leaders of the Secession
knew that the overwhelming resources of the northern
states prevented any chance of an unaided Confederate
victory. However, they relied on the aid of their commer-
cial partners in Europe. Fully 78% of the cotton crop was
shipped to Great Britain each year, bringing $150,000,000
into Southern coffers. Tobacco and naval stores such as
turpentine also formed an important part of the European
economies. Continued trade would provide the capital to
purchase war materials, which the British and French were
anxious to sell.
The Confederate government was confident that the
Federal could not effectively blockade the 3500 miles of
coast from Chesapeake Bay to the Rio Grande. However,
they also firmly believed that the Royal Navy would act
to keep the South's ports open if there was any danger
that cotton supplies to the mills in Liverpool and Manches-
ter might be cut off. Almost five million British subjects
were employed in manufacturing cotton goods. With for-
eign aid, the War for Southern Independence was a viable
Fig. 1. Galveston Bay and Island, including Bolivar Roads, where Denbigh grounded. Courtesy of National Archives, on line.
INA Quarterly 26.2
The Confederate leaders had made two miscalcula-
tions. First, the North had no need to watch the entire coast.
The South could only use ships capable of outrunning the
Union coastal squadron, an unexpectedly large force com-
posed largely of converted civilian ferries and other steam
vessels. This meant that almost all of the runners used fast
oceangoing steamships. These required deep water har-
bors with good communications to the interior. There were
only nine suitable ports on the entire Eastern seaboard of
the Confederacy, and only a handful more on the Gulf
Coast. Since the ports west of the Mississippi River had
poor connections to the rest of the Confederacy, trade
would only go there as a last resort. Galveston (fig. 1) only
became important in the last year of the war.
This scarcity of harbors made it feasible for the An-
aconda Plan to throw its coils around the South and grad-
ually squeeze the life out of it. The 1860 cotton crop had
already been shipped when the blockade went into effect
in May 1861. By the time the 1861 crop was ready for ship-
ment, the Union had captured the approaches to most of
the ports east of Texas. Thereafter, the blockading fleets could
safely ignore virtually all the Atlantic and eastern Gulf coasts
and concentrate on just three locations-Wilmington, North
Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Mobile, Alabama.
The second miscalculation involved the willingness
of Great Britain to get involved. The Anaconda Plan was
not very effective in its early days, but Britain had always
been a champion of the right of blockade against the right
of neutral navigation. Ironically, the United States had al-
ways taken the opposite tack-insistence on freedom of
the seas had sparked the War of 1812 and was to bring
America into World War I. Britain and France saw no rea-
son to surrender their strategic position until the tactical
situation grew clearer. Slavery was very unpopular in Eu-
rope by mid-century. Therefore, the European powers declared
their neutality in May 1861. They already had the 1860 cotton
crop and could afford to wait for developments. By the time the
next crop was ready to ship, there was no way for the Royal
Navy to clear the blockaders from any of the remaining Con-
federate ports without a major fleet action.
Soon, two million British subjects were out of work
and facing starvation in the 1862 Lancashire cotton fam-
ine. Even so, the British government was unwilling to com-
mit itself to a full-scale war with the United States unless it
was reasonably sure of betting on the winning side. Restor-
ing employment in the English Midlands was not worth risk-
ing humiliation, disruption of trade with the colonies, and
perhaps even French adventurism in an unpopular trans-oce-
anic war. Before Great Britain would interfere with the block-
ade, it wanted to see decisive Confederate victories-victories
that remained elusive in large part due to the supply problems
brought on by the blockade itself. Jefferson Davis, his govern-
ment, and his generals were never able to convince Queen
Victoria's ministers that intervention was worth the risk.
Because the Southerners had been so sure that the
Northern blockade would be ineffective, they made no
contingency plans until the unpleasant truth became ap-
parent. By then, they had only three remaining ports of
entry with adequate connections to the rest of the Confed-
eracy. Keeping Wilmington, Charleston, and Mobile har-
bors open and getting as much material into them as the
blockade allowed became a critical survival issue for the
Confederacy, just as closing those ports became a high pri-
ority for the Union.
The South was not self-sufficient in food produc-
tion. Ironically, much of its meat supply during the war
was tinned beef and pork from the midwestern Union
states, imported by way of Bermuda or Nassau. It was even
less independent of Northern and foreign manufactured
goods and armaments. A Confederate rout at Shioh was
only avoided by the last-minute arrival of 900 kegs of Brit-
ish gunpowder through the Port of Wilmington. Loss of
the industrial centers of New Orleans and Memphis in early
1862 only made this situation worse.
Federal warships lined the horizon outside each of
the remaining Southern harbors. The blockade runners car-
ried no weapons beyond sidearms, lest they be considered
pirates and hanged on capture, so they had to outwit or
outrun their opponents. It was effectively impossible to
enter by daylight, so the runners had to slip past the block-
aders by night, if necessary in a mad dash for the protec-
tion of the Confederate batteries protecting the harbor
Since each of the ports had shallow bars at the en-
trances, it was not uncommon for runners to go aground.
A light draft was essential. Although screw-driven vessels
had been replacing paddlewheels for nearly twenty years,
propellers required deeper water. Sidewheels are less effi-
cient than screw propellers, but they bring a ship to maxi-
mum speed more quickly. This allowed the runners to drift
quietly past the blockaders and still outrun them on dis-
covery. By backing one side, side-wheelers can turn much
more sharply than a screw-driven vessel, and they can more
easily rock themselves off a sandbar.
The most successful sidewheel blockade runners were
built in a style that had been perfected for use as river and
coastal packets on the Clyde River in Scotland. These had
long, low iron hulls with a narrow beam, powerful engines,
and a light draft. They were adapted for the blockade trade
by removing staterooms and making other modifications
to increase their capacity and reduce their visibility. They
were typically painted in light blues, greens, or grays to
blend into the dunes or sea mists, and burned anthracite
coal near shore to reduce smoke. By 1862, many of these
vessels were being outfitted in Glasgow or Liverpool.
Denbigh was among their number.
INA Quarterly 26.2
The Runner Denbigh
Denbigh (cover) was originally built by Laird, Sons
& Co. of Birkenhead, England as an ordinary merchant ves-
sel, probably for use on the Mersey River and estuary near
Liverpool. The order was acknowledged by Laird, Sons &
Co. on May 16, 1860, and the new hull was launched on
August 18, 1860. In 1863, after a short period in civilian
service, Denbigh was purchased by the new European Trad-
ing Company, a consortium of Confederate, English, and
French companies organized to run the Federal blockade
into Mobile, Alabama.
Abner M. Godfrey, Denbigh's first master, was born
in 1825 or 1826 in Maine. Sometime prior to 1859 he relo-
cated to Mobile, Alabama, for in that year's City Directory
he is listed as a stevedore, with lodgings at the Battle House
Hotel. In the summer of 1861, shortly after the Union block-
ade was declared, he sailed for England to serve as a Con-
federate agent there. By mid-1863, Godfrey and his wife
were living in Cardiff, where he served as a coal agent for
the Confederacy, purchasing good Welsh coal for block-
ade runners. In the fall of 1863 he was appointed to com-
mand the new runner Denbigh. Captain and Mrs. Godfrey
sailed in her for Havana.
The ship was probably designed initially as an ex-
cursion steamer. As a small vessel with limited cargo ca-
pacity, Denbigh would not seem to have been a likely choice
for a blockade runner. The European Trading Company's
agents apparently saw something others missed, for their
decision proved to be a wise one. Perhaps the ship's ap-
parent insignificance was a form of "protective coloration."
The 162-ton iron-hulled sidewheel steamer measured 181
feet 11 inches in length, 22 feet in breadth amidships, and
had a depth of hold of 8 feet5 inches (55.5 x 6.7 x 2.2 meters).
On either side of the hull was a "feathering" pad-
dlewheel (fig. 2). The feathering wheel was perhaps the
most successful attempt to improve the efficiency of the
conventional paddlewheel. The idea was to continually ad-
just the paddle blades, or "floats," as the wheel turned, so
that each blade entered the water at the most efficient an-
gle when the vessel was running at speed. This provided
the best, most effective use of the engine's power. Although
such sidewheels were relatively commonplace on steam-
ships of the period, they are very distinctive and strongly
support the identification of the Galveston wreck investi-
gated by INA as Denbigh.
In the feathering wheel, each float was secured in
an iron frame so that it could pivot slightly. Attached to
the rear face of each float was a short arm that was itself
attached to a second wheel, attached to the outside frame
of the paddlebox, and set to pivot slightly forward of the
main wheel. It was a complex arrangement, but it worked
well. Although they were not developed for blockade run-
ning, feathering wheels possessed an additional advantage
for smugglers: because the floats entered the water at a
Fig. 2. The offset wheel and lever system allowed the feathering
paddlewheel to operate much more efficiently and quietly.
more efficient angle, they were quieter and kicked up less
whitewater than conventional wheels, important consid-
erations in sneaking past Federal warships in the dark.
A report from Thomas Dudley, the U.S. Consul at
Liverpool, described the Denbigh as follows:
"Built of Iron. Marked draft of water-7 feet fore
& aft. Hull painted black. Artificial quarter galler-
ies. Elliptic stern. Straight stem. Name at the bows
gilt, on a blue ground. Wheel; binnacle. House with
skylight on top. Boat painted white in iron swing
davits on port quarter. Boats painted white, abreast
of mainmast. [?] House athwartships between pad-
dle boxes, with binnacle on top. Funnell [sic.] or
smokestack painted black, with bright copper
steam pipe after part of same. Side houses. Hurri-
cane deck; foremast, through same. Masts bright;
mast heads, top caps, coasters [?] bowsprit and gaff
painted white. Inside of bulwarks & c. painted
cream color. On her trial trip she attained the speed
of 10 1/2 knots.
Her crew consists of Captain, two mates, two engineers,
six seamen, seven firemen, cook, and steward."
Denbigh at Mobile
The ship sailed from Liverpool on Monday, Octo-
ber 19, 1863, for Havana, Cuba, and made its first dash
INA Quarterly 26.2
L.1d Vl ln. I iN
past the blockade into Mobile on January 10, 1864, She load-
ed 500 bales of cotton and on January 31 sailed for Ha-
vana. Denbigh ran aground a mile east of Fort Morgan-the
primary Confederate fortification guarding the mouth of
Mobile Bay-about 100 yards offshore. She endured four
days of long-distance shelling from the blockaders before
100 bales of cotton were off-loaded and the vessel was light
enough to be towed off the shoal. The ship went on to com-
plete her run to Havana, the first of seven round trips she
would make between the two ports. Over the next 18 months,
Denbigh would become the second most-successful Gulf
blockade runner of them all. So successful, in fact, that the
Confedertes began to fondly refer to her a. "the packet."
Although the entrance to Mobile harbor was diffi-
cult to navigate, the guns of Fort Morgan offered some
protection from Union ships to grounded vessels until they
were freed. Denbigh was happy for the gunnery, as she went
aground again in May 1864. Mobile had a fast turn-around
time, and there were no restrictions concerning the use of
cotton bonds as there were at Wilmington and Charleston,
closer to the central government of the Confederacy.
Cotton bonds were the principal "currency" that the
Confederate States of America used in international trade.
The bonds were sold to foreign investors to finance the
Confederate war effort. Their attraction to an investor was
that they were redeemable in Southern cotton at about one-
fuuith tie market price. The European Trading Company
was a consortium of Mobile merchants and European fi-
nancial institutions created to promote the cotton bond
business. Denbigh's maiden rum caused a fervor in Liver-
pool. Until that time, blockade runners using bonds had
to consign one-half of their cargo to the Confederacy. Den-
bigh changed that; her entire cargo was a private load. More
shippers began to use Mobile, and demand for bonds in-
As another plus for Mobile, the capture of Morris
Island at the southern entrance to Charleston Harbor ef-
fectively closed that port from June 1863 until March 1864.
Desperation and lower, faster ships enabled daring cap-
tains to reopen it to a limited degree. However, only thir-
ty-eight ships entered Charleston in 1864 and eight in 1865
before February 17, when the last runner literally pulled
away from a flaming wharf as the city fell. Wilmington
and Mobile had to pick up the slack, but their own days
For the moment, times were good in Mobile. The
average blockade-running vessel only made two round
trips, but that was enough to pay for the ship and make a
profit for the owners. Since the vessels were insured (at
considerable cost), capture of one ship merely provided
the funds to purchase another. Masters of vessels attempt-
ing to run the blockade faced considerable risks, but the
rewards were very high for them as well. The salary of a
captain might amount to several thousand dollars in gold
for a successful round trip through the Federal fleet. It
seems a safe assumption that Captain Godfrey amassed a
small fortune during his command of Denbigh, for after
the war he purchased the Battle House Hotel, the best es-
tablishient in Mobile, the same hotel where he rented
lodgings as a stevedore just a few years before.
Denbigh was often described by Union Admiral Dav-
id Farragut as too quick for the Union forces. More than
once, he thought he had captured the runner, only to be
outwitted. The only way to stop the blockade runners-
and cut off the flow of supplies and cash to the Confeder-
acy-was to deny them use of the harbor. By the summer
of 1864, Farragut had orders to take Mobile. While still
waiting for backup from warships, his small fleet managed
to drive off three of five attempts to run the blockade into
Mobile; Denbigh and Alice were the only two ships that
made it through. On August 5, in the famous "Damn the
torpedoes" attack. Farragut's reinforced squadron of 18
ships beat the Confederate Navy and captured the enemy
ram Tennessee. Sixteen days later, Fort Morgan surrendered,
effectively closing Mobile Bay. Denbigh was the last run-
ner out of the harbor.
Denbigh at Galveston
With Mobile shut down as a shipping base, and both
Wilmington and Charleston under increasing pressure in
1864, the blockade runners' attention turned to the Texas
coast. Federal forces had captured Galveston in October
1862 (fig. 3), only to lose it to a surprise attack on New
Year's Day, 1863. The Federals never tried to retake
Galveston, but reinforced the blockade of Bolivar Roads-
the main entrance to Galveston Bay-in an effort to render
the city useless as a seaport. They also established a block-
ade off San Luis Pass, at the western end of Galveston Is-
land, to capture the small schooners that used that access
to the Bay. Galveston was too far removed geographically
from the center of the war effort to have much importance
for the Confederacy as a whole. Only a dozen steam block-
ade runners had come intoGalveston during the first three
years of the war. After the fall of Fort Morgan, however,
Galveston was one of the only ports left to the Confedera-
cy, and the largest on the Gulf; now another runner en-
tered the port almost every week. The fall of Mobile also
increased the traffic from and into the Port of Matamoros,
Mexico, a short lighter trip from Brownsville, Texas.
Denbigh made her first run into Galveston at the end
of August 1864; she would make five more successful
round trips into the harbor before being lost in May 1865.
Although Denbigh was older and slower than some of her
contemporaries, she was one of the most successful and
profitable vessels that made the run between Havana and
the Confederate states. She was small, low in the water,
and painted a dark shade that made her difficult to spot at
long ranges. The vessel burned little coal, therefore pro-
1NA Quarterly 26.2
during little smoke, but carried large quantities of cotton,
making her very profitable for the Confederates. Admiral
Farragut indeed had reason for his dislike of Denbigh. Her
scheduled arrivals in Havana were almost as certain as
those of a regular packet, and she had not yet disappoint-
ed her admirers.
Sometime after Denbigh began running between
Galveston and Havana in August 1864, Robert Horlock,
who was about fifteen years old, signed on the blockade
runner as a captain's boy. How Horlock came to serve
aboard Denbigh is not yet known, although it is most prob-
able that it was through the efforts of the blockade run-
ner's first master, Abner M. Godfrey of Mobile. It was
common practice for merchant captains to take their sons,
nephews, or the sons of friends to serve as "captain's boys"
at sea. The young men did not act as servants, as the term
suggests, but were in fact more like naval midshipmen,
leading their trade through hands-on experience. Godfrey,
who is listed in antebellum Mobile directories as a stevedore,
undoubtedly had known Robert's father, John Horlock, a
;,' '; :
. - ..-
''E Y C
~- ~-e~c i-; r
INA Quarterly 26.2
chandler in Mobile who later relocated
to Galveston. After the war, young Hor-
lock went on to become one of the lead-
ing citizens of Navasota, Texas, where
, his former home is now preserved as a
Galveston was the last harbor in
the Confederacy to remain open. Wilm-
ington, the most important runner port,
was closed even before Charleston,
when Fort Fisher fell in mid-January 1865.
Between October 26, 1864, and January 1,
1865, Wilmington and Charleston had im-
ported 8,632,000 pounds of meat, 1,507,000
pounds of lead, 1,933,000 pounds of salt-
peter, 546,000 pairs of shoes, 316,000 pairs
of blankets, 69,000 rifles, 43 cannon, and a
variety of other items. The Confederate
government's share of cotton sales during
1864 exceeded $6,000,000 in gold. When
Wilmington fell, the Confederate States
Army estimated it had only about a
three-month supply of materials... and
it surrendered about three months lat-
er. This clearly indicates the importance
of the blockade runners to the Southern
effort. The Army of Northern Virginia
surrendered on April 9, 1865, and the
other Confederate forces sued for peace
as the word of Lee's capitulation arrived.
However, news was slow to get to Texas.
On the night of May 23-24, Den-
bigh again attempted to enter Galveston
Bay, but hit one of the many sandbars
that surround the island. This time they
could not work her free, and there were
no friendly forts to protect her from the
blockaders who would inevitably dis-
cover her predicament. Denbigh's crew
jumped into the ship's boats, headed
to nearby Bolivar Point, and escaped
into Galveston. Next morning the Fed-
eral gunboats Cornubia and Princess
Royal blasted Denbigh with forty shots
"i-, '"lve -ce ,,t "'1862i
-1.0 O 'clock P. M.
,* : :" '. -'
T airt, of the Federal
.trFavarl tevtffiittvU~p i ppfttea rda
tfy t -0 w 0man and
chldreR frw t~4(11 Cj ]otle, 10
hereby givikEn to the citizen, that
they ,on Iay a a .1 euselves of the
tl^asdi wEU kiepi runn iapeoDtdntly, anathow
pensolu, W e' uneawb tojpyau t r U4' it will be Far.
nimbes to them bl Capt; e; Ma-r, oni a Ce-rtiW_
catg The onfdMYracy of .the to teatdonC AMaC the iwc at entitled
at u i t bi ni 1 ortey itens of Galve ston t ,
Teas. te si ta t hetCoU rthous .
rfipMwia llEgwe Bk*M oft Auro*
[ 04 ^ ^ t^MB^ C- , 4' .
Fig. 3. The Confederacy was forced to abandon Galveston in October of 1862, but
recaptured it at the beginning of 1863. Courtesy of the Rosenberg Library, Galveston,
and sent two smaller gunboats, Kennebec and Seminole, to
bum the remains. A Union sailor aboard Seminole died
when the seaman's weapon accidentally discharged while
he was leaving Denbigh. Apart from this, Denhigh's demise
had been swift, bloodless, and almost anti-climactic.
Life in Galveston had become increasingly difficult
as the war dragged on. Food and firewood were scarce
and crime was out of control. Despite the excitement caused
by the regular arrival and departure of the blockade run-
ners, conditions continued to deteriorate. The same morn-
ing Denbigh was boarded and burned by the Federals, the
runner Lark entered the harbor. The local population
formed an unruly mob that stripped the vessel of every-
thing of value. A local historian who witnessed the specta-
cle as aboy later recalled seeing "stout old women staggering
through the streets heavily burdened with sets of artillery
harness and other plunder taken from the vessel."
After thecrowd finally dispersed, Lark's captain took
aboard Denbigh's crew and dashed out to sea again, the
last blockade runner to clear a Confederate port. General
E. Kirby Smith surrendered the Southern forces in Texas
and the Trans-Mississippi Department two days later. Fed-
eral marshal law and the Emancipation Proclamation were
announced at Galveston on June 19. The war was over.
The Exploration of Denbigh
It is only fair to point out that Denbigh was never
really "lost." The iron-hulled steamer, stranded on the edge
Fig. 4. The Denbigh site at low water today.
of Bird Key, was a harbor landmark for many years after
the Civil War. An 1880 Corps of Engineers map, for exam-
ple, clearly marked the location of the wreck, and sport
divers and fishermen have known about it for many years.
Few people recognized the deteriorating remains for what
they were-the physical remnants of one of the Confeder-
acy's most successful blockade runners.
INA investigators first became interested in Den-
bigh's tale when a historian from Charleston visited
Galveston, looking for clues to the blockade runner's
whereabouts. Using Civil War-era charts of the entrance
to Galveston Bay, they identified a likely search area, but
were not able to pinpoint the precise spot. The break came
in early 1997 when a team member, working on a different
project, discovered the 1880 Corps of Engineers map. By
measuring off the distance and direction from the Bolivar
Lighthouse, the investigators were able to narrow the
search area enough to justify a survey of the area by boat.
Denbigh lies today in shallow water on the north side
of Bolivar Roads. The wreck is not far from Fort Travis, a
post-Civil War fortification that is now a county park. The
wreck is ordinarily underwater, but on some rare occasions
when the tide is extremely low, the upper parts of the side-
wheels and some machinery are visible (fig. 4).
Denbigh is a protected archaeological site. The re-
mains of the blockade runner lie in state waters and so
come under the stewardship of the Texas Historical Com-
mission (THC). The THC has issued INA the appropriate
permits and authorizations to conduct site surveys and test-
ing. Sport diving or exploration of the site is discouraged,
and disturbance of this archaeological site is a violation of
state historic preservation laws.
On April 27-28, 1998, Denbigh Project staff conduct-
ed a side scan sonar survey of the wreck site. The purpose
of the survey was to determine how much of the wreck
extended above the sand. This information was important
for planning the diving survey of the wreck. The side scan
sonar survey was successfully accomplished. This showed
that the only significant wreckage exposed above the sand
was the central portion of the ship's machinery area (fig.
5). The two sidewheels, each consisting of a pair of frames,
show up clearly. Between them lies the machinery that
connected the wheels to piston rods from the engines,
which presumably are buried under the sand. A large dark
shape on the image is metal trunking over the ship's boil-
ers. No wreckage extended above the surface of the water.
During June, in an effort to help determine the ex-
tent and condition of the blockade runner's iron hull bur-
ied in the mud, Denbigh Project Principal Investigator J.
Barto Arnold IIl arranged for a sub-bottom sonar profile
to be conducted at the wreck site. The actual survey was
completed by Roger Caron of EdgeTech and Alan Craig of
INA Quarterly 26 2
Fig. 5. This side-scan sonar image revealed the paddlewheels
and machinery of Denbigh.
Survey Equipment Services. Their Houston companies also
provided all equipment used during the work.
The sub-bottom profiling sonar, known as a "chirp"
sonar for the high-pitched clicking sound of its transmit-
ter, penetrated the mud to a depth of about two meters,
and recorded indications of buried ship remains. Full anal-
ysis of the data is pending.
On July 9, Arnold conducted a fathometer survey
of the Denbigh wreck site in conjunction with Captain Scott
Hickman of Circle H Outfitters. The fathometer data
showed that Denbigh lies on a very flat bottom, sloping
gradually to the south.
The first major fieldwork on the Denbigh wreck was
scheduled for May 7-10, 1998. The project investigators
were fortunate to be able to secure the assistance of De-
tachment 111 of the U.S. Naval Reserve's Mobile Diving
and Salvage Unit One (MDSU1, or "Mud-zoo One"), In-
shore Boat Unit One Four, and the Aids to Navigation Team
at U.S. Coast Guard Base Galveston (fig. 6). The Denbigh
Project provided MDSU1 a training opportunity to docu-
ment a wreck site near its drill station at Galveston. Al-
though the water is very shallow, the Navy divers used
full equipment, including surface air supply and commu-
nications gear, for training purposes.
The initial familiarization dives on the wreck marked
locations for several prospective trilateration stations. One
diver placed the bottom of the range rod on the spot to be
surveyed while another on the surface helped the boat crew
hold the range rod vertical. Five locations on the wreck
were surveyed providing X-Y-Z coordinates that were
accurate to 1 cm. These points allowed mapping with great
accuracy. The team also began measuring and drawing
paddlewheel frames and complex machinery spaces be-
tween the paddlewheels. Each paddlewheel had an inner
and an outer frame that supported the paddles between
them. The buried remains of the site are covered by about
0.5 m of soft mud. Just less than half of each paddle wheel
was exposed above the bottom.
A circle search of a thirty-meter area forward of the
boiler revealed no exposed wreckage. Probing followed
the starboard edge of the intact hull remains abaft the pad-
dlewheel for 2-3 m. This was difficult forward of the port
paddlewheel due to jumbled wreckage in that area.
Profile views of all four paddlewheel frames were
completed. In addition, Tom Oertling made good progress
on drawing the machinery between the paddlewheels. Il-
lustrations like these, made by divers, help to document
the parts of Denbigh that remain exposed above the sand.
Between July 10-12, Arnold and Andrew Hall, as-
sisted by Southwest Underwater Archaeological Society
members Austin and Sue Taylor, Winton Roberds, and
John Melko, continued mapping the central portion of the
site, particularly in the area around the exposed boiler cas-
ing and sidewheel frames. The crew experienced signifi-
cant difficulties in obtaining accurate measurements due
to high winds that created a significant chop on the sur-
face of the water, and a continual swell below. Water vis-
ibility was estimated to be 15 cm or less.
* .-, 'k '. C,, a
Photo: J B. Arnold
Fig. 6. The U.S. Naval Reserve divers ofMSDUI preparing to
INA Quarterly 26.2
From October 18-30, 1998, the team returned to the
diving survey of Denbigh. Visibility on the site continued
to be poor. Dr. Cheryl Ward of the Maritime Studies Pro-
gram at Texas A&M University-Galveston had been
hopeful that a field school could be held at the site in the
summer of 1999, but the diving conditions forced the team
to plan otherwise. Two artifacts-a piece of pipe from the
steam plant and a socket from the feathering paddle-
wheel-were recovered for conservation assessment at the
TAMU-G laboratory (figs. 7-8). This will provide guid-
ance for the preservation of more substantial artifacts to
be raised later. Probing suggests that at least one engine,
several iron support beams for the deck, and a substuitial
portion of the midships hull remain remarkably intact.
Nothing appears above the surface of the mud aft of the
paddlewheels, although much remains buried.
Unlike most wrecks surveyed by INA, the iron hull
of Denbigh prevents the use of magnetic compasses for mea-
surements on the site. Because of this and the poor visibil-
ity, special adjustments to the standard excavation
techniques are required. The October trip allowed experi-
ments with the WEB computer-mapping program. Buoys
were placed at the estimated bow and stem locations, al-
lowing the measurement of the orientation of the wreck
from a location away from the magnetic interference. Den-
bigh appears to be resting on a heading of 70"-75.
The Denbigh team spent the winter preparing their
data for publication in a paper for the Society for Histori-
cal Archaeology. In June 1999, they began a summer field
season with team members from the United States, United
Kingdom, and France. The summer was to be dedicated to
completing the mapping process, identifying key features
of the structure of the vessel, and conducting test excava-
tions to determinine how well Denbigh's fittings, machin-
ery and cargo have been preserved. Look for an update m
a forthcoming Quarterly.
Denbigh Primary Source Documents
I Historical research being done on the Denbigh Project
has revealed a growing volume of original documents that
relate to the ship and her career. These documents, which
range from the Laird, Sons & Co. builder's ledger to a Fed-
eral naval officer's dispatch reporting her destruction on
Bird Key, offer detailed and valuable glimpses into Den-
bigh's remarkable career. The Denbigh Web site (http://
links to a sampling of these documents, as well as a selec-
tion of interesting pictures relating to Denbigh. The site will
also have the latest news on the Project.
Fig. 7 (left) A piece of pipe from Denbigh's steam plant.
Fig. 8 (below) A socketfrom one of thefeathering paddlewheels.
Photos: A. Hall
INA Quarterly 26.2
Acknowledgments: The Denbigh Project is an effort of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M Univer-
sity (TAMU) in College Station. The Principal Investigator is J. Barto Arnold III (Fig. 9), INA. Co-Principal Investigators
are Thomas Oertling, Andrew Hall, and Rebecca Hall, all of Galveston, Texas. TAMU Nautical Archaeology Program
graduate student Oscar Blassingame is also assisting. Cheryl Ward of the nautical archaeology faculty at TAMU-
Galveston (TAMU-G) and students, faculty, and staff of the scientific diving program at TAMU-G are also taking part.
Personnel participating in the initial site survey included investigators Arnold and Oertling; Jimmy Reynolds and
Alan Craig of Survey Equipment Services, Houston; Roger Caron of EdgeTech, Houston; Tom Lauersdorf, U.S. Naval
Reserve; Sean Welch and Winton Robards, both of Galveston. Equipment provided for this effort included side scan sonar
instruments from Survey Equipment Services and EdgeTech, and boats provided by Sean Welch and Winton Roberds.
Capt. Scott Hickman of Circle H Outfitters provided the initial survey vessel at a cornessionary price. The Octo-
ber survey used a boat provided by the Texas General Land Office. Equipment provided for the fieldwork included a
survey grade Trimble Navigation GPS by Jack Howell of Easy Drive Instruments, Austin. Additional boats and sup-
port were provided by Andrew Johnson, Doug Nowell, Winton Roberds, Sue and Austin Taylor, and John Melko of the
Southwest Underwater Archaeological Society. Additional dive gear was loaned by Janice Roseberry and Warren Rose-
berry of Tom's Dive and Ski, Austin.
Denbigh Project investigators would like to thank all those researchers who have provided access to materials
related to Denbigh. Special thanks to Mr. John Erskine of Aurora, Colorado and Ms. Patricia Demler of Port Arthur,
Texas, for their assistance in researching their ancestor, Robert Horlock. We would like to extend particular thanks to
Dr. Stephen R. Wise, author of Lifeline of the Confederacy, and Robert Holcombe of the Civil War Naval Museum in
Columbus, Georgia, for generously sharing their files on Denbigh.
Special thanks go to The Brown Foundation, Houston, Texas; Communities Foundation of Texas; (Bill's Fund of)
The Hillcrest Foundation, founded by Mrs. W. W. Caruth, Sr.; The Horlock Foundation, Houston, Texas; Houston
Endowment, Inc.; The Strake Foundation of Houston, Texas; The Trull Foundation of Palacios, Texas; Doug Nowell,
Southwest Underwater Archaeological Society (SUAS); John Luce, SUAS; Larry Sanders, SUAS; Leslie Opperman,
TAMU-G; Valerie Buford, TAMU; Charles Peery, Charleston, South Carolina; Edward Cotham, Houston; and Kevin
Foster, U.S. National Park Service. A very special thank-you goes to Trimble Navigation Ltd., Compaq Computers, and
International Car Care of Galveston.
The Aids to Navigation Team at U.S. Coast Guard Base Galveston provided U.S.C.G. Buoy Tender 643503 to
serve as a dive platform and to support site survey operations. In addition, the team placed a block to secure a mooring
buoy for future operations at the site. Inshore Boat Unit One Four, U.S. Naval Reserve, provided small utility boats both
as dive platforms and for transporting personnel and equipment between the Denbigh wreck site, the Bolivar Peninsula
landing, and Coast Guard Base Galveston.
Finally, the biggest "thank-you" of all for this effort goes to the members of Detachment 111 of Mobile Diving and
Salvage Unit One (MDSU1) of the U.S. Naval Reserve. Nautical archaeological mapping is new to these folks, but they
tackled it with both energy and attention to detail. This unit is deserving of the highest praise: they're "good people." ~r
Fig. 9. Barto Arnold (right) discusses the excavation with an associate.
INA Quarterly 26.2
Schliemann and the Blockade-Runner
How in the world is Heinrich Schliemann, the discoverer of Troy, connected to the Civil War blockade-
runner Denbigh? It is one of those bizarre connections that occasionally turns up in historical archaeology and
provides the "Oh, wow!" experience that keeps us interested, inspired, and entertained.
As described in the accompanying article, Denbigh was one of the most successful and famous blockade-
runners of the Civil War. Her exploits were near legendary in running between Havana, Cuba, and Mobile,
Alabama and subsequently between Havana and Galveston, Texas. In dispatches, Admiral Farragut of the Union's
Gulf Blockading Fleet frequently mentioned his unhappiness with her elusive ways.
One of the three owners of Denbigh was Schroders, a merchant banking firm still in business today. Schli-
emann began his spectacular business career with Schroders, starting off as a clerk in the company's Amsterdam
office. He eventually became the firm's agent and later an independent merchant in St. Petersburg and Moscow,
but was still associated with Schroders' network of trade. It was in this position that Schliemann made his
I was reading about Schroders in a history of the firm by Richard Roberts in hope of further illuminating
the story of our shipwreck when I came across the following discussion of one of the banking family's patriarchs:
"There are few surviving records which offer insight into the personality of Johann Heinrich Schroder,
but it is known that he was very hard-working, ambitious and highly self-disciplined, traits which go a long way
in explaining his outstanding success as a businessman...He had rigorous standards and could turn stem if
disappointed. 'You lack all knowledge of men and the world,' he reprimanded his youthful and recently ap-
pointed agent in St Petersburg, Heinrich Schliemann, in 1846,'prattle too much, have too high expectations, and
are infatuated with brainless chimeras...Take pains to become a sensible human being, acquire good, unassum-
ing manners, don't dream of Spanish castles in the sky.' But he also was a shrewd judge of character and recog-
nized ability, and his letter to Schliemann finished 'however, since I am confident that you will mature, I will
give you another chance.'"
Schliemann was prone to share with others his dreams of finding Troy. I would almost be willing to
speculate that such a "Spanish castle in the sky" prompted, in part, the stem letter from J. H. Shroder. As it
turned out, Schliemann made his fortune trading indigo, tea, and briefly even the Confederate cotton in which
Shroders was so deeply involved. Shroders helped float the cotton bonds that largely financed the South's war
effort. In addition, the firm's ownership of a blockade-runner was an early and extremely profitable example of
Heeding Schroders' advice. Schliemann was well positioned to follow his dreams in later life, including
his dreams of Troy. J. Barto Arnold III
Allington, Peter, and Basil Greenhill
1997 Tle First Atlantic Liners: Seamanship in the Age of Paddle Wheel, Sail and Screw. London: Conway Maritime Press.
Arnold, J. Barto II1, Thomas J. Oertling and Andrew W. Hall
1999 "The Denbigh Project: initial observations on a Civil War Blockade-runner and its wreck-site." IJNA 28.2:126144.
Cotham, Edward T
1998 Battle on the Bay: The Civil War Struggle for Galveston. Austin: University of Texas Press.
1992 Schroders: Merchants and Bankers. McMillan Press, London, p. 33.
Scharf, J. Thomas
1996 History of the Confederate States Navy. New York: Gramercy Books (reprint of 1887 edition).
Wise, Stephen R. and William N. Still, Jr. (editor)
1991 Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
1NA Quarterly 26.2
St. Michael and the Port Royal Weights
C. Wayne Smith, Assistant Professor and
Director of the Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory
An Institute of Nautical Archaeology team under
the leadership of Dr. Donny Hamilton conducted an un-
derwater excavation of Port Royal, Jamaica between 1981
and 1990. Study of the artifacts still continues today and
is a rich source of comparative data for historical archae-
ologists. The catastrophic earthquake that struck Port Roy-
al on the morning of June 7th, 1692, has left a unique site
for study. The process of liquefaction turning soil into
quicksand during the earthquake allowed many of the
brick and wooden structures to sink nearly vertically into
the harbor. The range of artifacts encompasses all aspects
of everyday life. Many of the items are complete and as
such are an abundant source of unique data. The descrip-
tion "when time stood still" certainly encapsulates the sit-
uation exposed by the Port Royal excavation.
The lead, bronze, and composite weights that bear
ciphers of English trade guilds, stamps of royal ascension,
and owners' marks are proving to be extremely impor-
tant in the reconstruction of everyday life in the late sev-
enteenth century. Two weights from the current
assemblage of ninety have been found to be unique. The
distinctive weights bear an angel cipher commonly known
as the Archangel Michael. The pail weights, so called be-
cause of their distinctive shape and their method of con-
struction, stand out by virtue of their iconography. These
symbols give us insight into the religious, economic, and
political systems used by the monarchical order of the
middle and late seventeenth century to unify and stan-
dardize weights and measures.
The regulation of metrology was started in earnest
by William the Conqueror when he decreed that all
weights were to be standardized and marked with his seal
throughout his realm. William moved the standards for
weights to the crypt of Edward the Confessor at West-
minster Abbey, London, an extremely provocative and
political maneuver. Private systems of weights and mea-
sures were owned and maintained by barons and mer-
chants who made the movement towards a unified weight
standard slow and difficult. This gradual adoption of a
new system of measures was further influenced and com-
plicated by political, social, and religious issues.
The Archangel Michael was commonly known to
Christian, Jewish, and Islamic writers as the Prince of the
Heavenly Host. His name means "one who is like God."
Michael drove Satan and his angels from heaven and still
acts to protect humanity. St. Michael was recognized as
Patron Saint of the church, both the living and the dead.
Michael was believed to be the angel of death who brought
a plague on Israel (2 Sam. 24:16). He was also with Joshua at
Jericho (Josh. 5:13). Just as Gabriel appeared to Mary to an-
nounce the birth of Jesus, so Michael appeared to her to an-
nounce her death. By the seventeenth century, St. Michael
had been adopted by the Church of England as the de-
fender of good over evil. He was portrayed as holding a
scale in his right hand and sword in his left. This symbol
represented the virtues of compassion and victory over
evil that the monarchy wished to associate with their rule.
The Archangel Michael was therefore an appropri-
ate symbol to make the people comfortable with the new
royal standards of measure. It was important to overcome
the prestige of the older baronial standards. Since all the
religions in Europe recognized Michael, this made the icon
of the Archangel an ideal sign for the royal measures. Fig-
ure 1 shows the forces that the monarchy needed to bring
together if it was to be successful with its new standards,
Accordingly, the Plumbers Guild of London marked the
new lead weights with the Michael cipher as well as a dag-
ger to represent the City of London.
Fig. 1. Forces essential to the adoption of the new standards.
Description of Pail Weights
The two weights recovered at Port Royal (PR 85
102612 and PR 85 102613) were formed by pouring mol-
ten lead into a cast iron pail. This pail formed the sides
and bottom of the cylindrical weight. A U-shaped iron sta-
ple was placed on the top surface of the weight holding an
iron ring handle. This handle could be used either for plac-
ing the weight onto a pan scale, or for hanging the weight
INA Quarterly 26.2
on a balance beam. The mass of the iron objects was taken into account
when measuring the lead to be poured into the mold. After cooling, the
lead was trimmed to bring it to the standard weight.
PR 85 102613 measures 8.35 cm across its top surface (fig. 2). Three
marks appear on this weight (fig. 3). The first is a sword, probably the
dagger of the Guildhall used to indicate an origin in the City of London.
The second is a crowned "C," the mark of King Charles I. The third mark is
the Archangel Michael, portrayed with his sword and scales. The iron cas-
ing of the weight has disintegrated. Its original thickness is indicated by
the overhang at the top of the sides. A mold concretion allowed recon-
struction of a small section of the iron ring handle, which has otherwise
The upper surface is the logical location for both the handle and the
seals. Unfortunately, the weight of the iron ring often distorts this surface.
This is true of both examples from Port Royal, as can be seen in figure 3.
This common phenomenon causes difficulties for researchers.
The conserved masses of the two weights are very similar (table 1).
Although PR 85 102613 is physically larger than PR 85 102612, both were
probably fourteen-pound weights (commonly used during the seventeenth
century for measuring wheat flour). This variability in the size of "stan-
dard" weights is not uncommon due to differences in the density of the
lead and the presence of impurities. These objects were recovered in an
area of Building Three that contained storage bottles, un-smoked pipes,
* -, .' .
Fig. 2. Pail weight PR 85 1026-13.
and a variety of other weights and
...,_ scale components. It therefore ap-
pears that this room was a vintner's
shop and a dispensing area for
wheat and flour.
The Michael Figure
Artifacts from the Plumbers'
Guild of London use two versions
of the Archangel Michael figure.
.f The most common form has the an-
S" gel holding a sword in his left hand
and scales in his right (fig. 3 and 4).
SThis form has been connected to the
:. -Plumbers' Guild and the shop of
-:U- Thomas Overing near the Royal
Exchange in Bartholomew Lane,
W ,London. The less common form is
V" less detailed, the Archangel has the
Sr scales in his left hand, and he does
:., not have a sword (fig. 5).
Photo: INA The monarchy used the rich
religious tradition associated with
Fig. 3. The top surface of pail weight PR 85 1026-13, showing part of the reconstructed the Archangel Michael and the fa-
staple and iron ring handle, the Michael cipher, the crown "C," and an indentation miliar iconography of the angel as
caused by the iron ring handle, a means of legitimating its new
INA Quarterly 26.2
standard of measure. This is reflected in the cipher used
by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers of the City of
London found on the Port Royal weights. The monarchy
and the Plumbers' Guild wisely sought to adopt the well
known characteristics of Michael and applied them to their
own project. The use of the Archangel symbol supported
the royal effort to force Local use of the new standards. This
movement toward national standardization allowed En-
gland to take its place as an important trade partner with
every other member of the European community. -r
Fig. 4 (left). The most common
form of the Michael cipher,found
on the Port Royal pail weights.
Fig. 5 (right). The less common
form of St. Michael.
Bronner, Simon J., ed.
1992 "The Idea of Folk Artifacts," in American Material Culture and Folklfe, A Prologue and Analogue: 3-39. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press.
Conway, Katherine E.
1971 A Handbook of Christian Symbols and Stories of the Saints. Detroit: Gale Research Company.
Hallock, W and Herbert Wade
1906 Outlines of the Evolution of Weights and Measures and the Metric System. New York: Macmillan and Company.
Smith, B. S.
1997 "Inquiry into two lead weights found on a wreck on Alderney, Channel Islands." IJNA 26.
1979 Weights and Measures and their Marks. Milton Keynes: Shire Publications.
INA Quarterly 26.2
Table 1. Dimensions and markings on the Port Royal pail weights.
PR85 1026-12 PR85 1026-13
Weight 6.1 kilos (13.51 lbs.) 6.136 kilos (13.53 lbs.)
Diameter at Top 89 mm 112.0 mm
Diameter at Bottom 111.43 mm 128.9 mm
Marks crowned "C" crowned "C"
Archangel Michael Archangel Michael
In the Field
Tekta Burnu Excavation to begin
George Bass plans to begin the excavation
in the Turkish Aegean of a shipwreck that sank
between 450 and 425 BCE, the Golden Age of Clas-
sical Greece (fig. 1). This is when Pericles, Socrates,
Thucydides, and their comrades were alive, and
the Parthenon was being built. The wreck was
found south of CeSme during a survey headed
by Tufan Turanll in 1996. The assistant director
will be Deborah Carlson. In addition to the Vira-
zon, the team willbe using M/V Saros, a hundred-
foot research ship, thanks to the help of the
Turkish Institute of Nautical Archaeology (TINA)
and INA Director Mustafa Koq. v
Fig. 1, Amphorasfrom the Classical Period wreck at
Black Sea Trade Project
INA continues its exploration of the Black Sea this
summer when Cheryl Ward and Texas A&M students
Kathryn Willis, AySe Atauz, and Erkut Arcakjoin the Black
Sea Trade Project based at Sinop, about midway on Tur-
key's northern coast. George Bass of INA and Robert Bal-
lard of Wood's Hole and the Institute for Exploration
signed an agreement to work together on the search for
ancient shipwrecks and settlements in 1997 as part of a
larger project under the direction of Frederik Hiebert of
the University of Pennsylvania.
During July, the crew will use sidescan sonar and a
magnetometer to identify targets in the 50-150 m depth
range. ROVs carrying video cameras will then check the
targets to provide further information about them. A week-
long survey run by David Mindell and his students from
MIT in June, 1998, resulted in more than 250 "hits," tar-
gets that will be checked.
The 1999 season provides the opportunity to collect
new data on several likely shipwreck sites, including am-
phora carriers and at least one heavily armed historic ship.
They will also begin testing a novel hypothesis about the
flooding of the Black Sea approximately 7,400 years ago. Bill
Ryan and Walter Pittman have suggested that a large num-
ber of communities existed around the fresh water, glacier-
fed lake at that time, but that rising sea levels elsewhere
eventually broke through at the Bosphorus and increased
the water depth by 150 m within a year or two. This, they
suggest is "Noah's flood." Although INA does not expect to
find an ark, it does look forward to exploring the anoxic envi-
ronment of the Black Sea's depths, where a lack of oxygen may
foster the preservation of wooden ships and their cargoes. aP
Reconnaissance Expedition to Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast
In June 1999, KroumN. Batchvarov will lead a team
from INA, working in conjunction with the Varna Muse-
um of Archaeology, in a two-week reconnaissance of Bul-
garia's nautical heritage. The team will examine inundated
coastal settlements, including an Early Bronze Age settle-
ment at Varna, as well as shipwrecks along the west coast
of the Black Sea. This region's rich seafaring tradition and
the promise of well-preserved organic remains make this
a project with great promise for future work. Participants
in the expedition from the INA will be Dr. Frederick Hock-
er, Dr. John McManamon, and graduate student Troy J.
This summer, Brett Phaneuf will be working in Mo-
rocco with Athena Trakadas and Stefan Claesson (Nauti-
cal Archaeology Program graduates) from May 15 -August
5th. The team will be using INA Director George Robb's
sixty foot research vessel ROBO for the survey of Tangier
Bay, Cap Spartel, and other locations on the Atlantic coast
and along the Straits of Gibraltar in Morocco. Mr. Robb
will assist, along with his crew.
After finishing in Morocco, the team sails to Sardin-
ia, Italy to work with Battelle Ocean Sciences as part of a
resource monitoring campaign. The project will focus on
biological, environmental, and cultural resources in the
ocean. From Sardinia, the team will travel to Malta for a
brief visit. ae
INA Quarterly 26.2
Matthew Harpster, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Siegried II Graduate Fellow, who has been in Turkey for several months,
will continue his research on the Bozburun hull.
In September 1999, Troy J. Nowak, of Texas A&M University's Nautical Archaeology Program, will travel to
Bodrum to begin his research on the construction of the Late Roman shipwreck at Yassiada.
Conservation of Uluburun and Bozburun artifacts will continue over the summer. This project requires constant
attention. Throughout the summer, students from various international institutions will visit the Bodrum Conserva-
tion Laboratory to assist with ongoing projects. Interested students will obtain valuable experience that will enable
them to pursue careers in this research field. sr
Florida Coastal Nautical Archaeology Survey Project
The summer of 1999 will be the inaugu-
ral season of the Florida Coastal Nautical Ar-
chaeology Survey Project. Graduate students Oscar
T. Blasingame, Christopher Patlovany, Mark Feul-
ner, and Valerie Buford will spearhead the inves-
tigations. They will be joined by graduate students
Erich Heinold, Chris Sabick, local science teacher J
Steven Buchanan, and David McVean. j
The project will begin June 1 with work
on the Civil War steamer U.S.S. Narcissus, lo- "
cated off Mullet Key, Florida (figs. 2-3). Pre-sea-
son research has shown that Narcissus's career
included participation in the Battles of Mobile
Bay and Sabine Pass. Furthermore, it is record-
ed as the first vessel to have survived a colli-
sion with a torpedo (mine).
The focus of the project will then shift to
a second wreck off Egmont Key, Florida. The
remains are believed to be of A.A. Rowe, a fish-
ing schooner built by George Greenman & Co. Fig
of Mystic, Connecticut in 1859. The project goals iror
for this vessel are as follows: relocating the site, 197
establishing the identity of the vessel, and de-
termining the feasibility of future investigations. Fig
If this is A. A. Rowe, it will be the only known re-
mains of a vessel built by the shipyard which is
now the site of the famed Mystic Seaport Muse-
um. U.S.S. Narcissus and the A. A. Rowe will be
the thesis topics of Mark Feulner and Christopher
The summer will also find the project par-
ticipants in the Florida Keys. They will dive on
the wrecks of known historic vessels such as those
of the 1733 Spanish Plate Fleet. The purpose of
the time in the Keys will be to explore the possi-
bility of future study, introduce the staff to one of
Florida's most active maritime regions, and in-
struct them in underwater photography and
videography. In addition, Mason Miller will con-
duct archival research across the state for infor-
mation leading to the wreck of a slave ship. a
Photo: C. Patlovany
. 2. Captain Joe MacKenzie and Oscar Blasingame examine a pair of leg
is taken from the wreck of U.S.S. Narcissus by sport divers in the late
. 3. Leg irons from U.S.S. Narcissus.
Photo: O. T. Blasingame
INA Quarterly 26.2
by Mark A. Feulner
The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor's Civil War
By William Marvel
Chapel HiLl: University of North Carolina Press, 1996
ISBN: 0-8078-2294-9, x + 337 pages, 19 pages of b/w photographs,
3 maps, appendices, endnotes, bibliography, index, hard cover.
One of the most dramatic naval engagements of the Ameri-
can Civil War was the one between CSS Alabama and USS Kearsarge.
This strategically insignificant battle near the French port of Cherbourg
was a widely publicized event that garnered worldwide attention. With
the book The Alabama and the Kearsarge, author William Marvel chroni-
cles the events that led to this historic confrontation, while giving a
colorful view of naval life in the late nineteenth century.
Marvel begins his book by introducing us to Commander
Raphael Semmes during his cruise in the commerce raider CSS
Sumter. The author then follows the events that led to the launching
of Alabama from the Laird shipyard at Birkenhead (where Denbigh
was built) and that placed Semmes in command. In a parallel narrative, Marvel relates the construction of the
Union warship Kearsarge and the difficulties in putting her to sea. He then closely follows the stories of these two
vessels as they converge, with the inglorious monotony of the Union vessel's voyage serving as counterpoint to
the successful cruise of the Confederate commerce raider.
However, Marvel does not limit his book to merely recounting the roles that these two ships played in the
Civil War. He also provides the reader with a vivid depiction of life at sea for those who served in the Union and
Confederate navies. Marvel achieves this through the use of personal diaries, letters, and other surviving docu-
ments written by the sailors who served aboard the two vessels.
The Alabama and the Kearsarge is a well-written and enjoyable book. Marvel combines the showmanship of
a storyteller with the attentiveness of a historian to bring this dramatic tale to life. Utilizing official reports, ships
logs, newspaper articles, and other first-hand accounts, the author weaves a colorful story based on events as
eyewitnesses described them. Marvel is very thorough in his treatment, leaving out few details. He even dedi-
cates an appendix to address a controversy over who gave Kearsarge her name, as well as another that lists the
crewmen who served aboard each vessel. The maps presented within the text are wonderful aids to visualizing
events. A glossary defines the naval terminology and a thorough index allows rapid access to specific items of
information. Marvel further enhances his book by including significant photographs and sketches, as well as
quoting nautical literature at the beginning of each chapter. One glaring omission is the author's disappointing
failure to tell what became of USS Kearsarge after her triumphant return to Boston.
Still, Marvel provides an excellent chronicle of this event, telling not just the story of these ships, but also
describing the courage and discipline needed to sail them. The battle between Kearsarge and Alabama was a turn-
ing point in naval history, since it was one of the last fought between wooden ships manned by iron men. By the
twentieth century, navies around the world would be deploying great steel battleships to wage war at sea, and
the age of wooden warships would end. a,
Corrections: In Vol 25.4 the cover photograph caption incorrectly identified the diver, who was actually Robin Piercy.
On page 22, Glen Grieco was incorrectly identified as "Greg."
[NA Quarterly 26.2
Charles Olin McWhirter
With sadness we note the passing on 21 August 1999 of former INA Director Charles McWhirt-
er. Charlie, as we in INA better knew him, was born on 4 May 1920 in Greenville, Texas, and was a
member of the Class of '42 at Texas A&M University. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during
World War II, Charlie joined the General Electric Company as a sales executive in Dallas, and stayed
with GE for 32 years. A loyal Aggie, he supported his University by helping with scholarships, and
by contributing to the George Bush Presidential Library and the Cadet Corps. We in INA first got to
know Charlie when he and his wife, Marjorie, came to Turkey with George and Sara Yamini and
Bob and JoAnn Walker, whose names are well known to everyone in INA. He liked what he saw,
and served on the INA Board for several years as a strong supporter, always ready to tell others
about our work. In return, I found new friends, and always enjoyed being with him and Marge,
whether at an INA function or a football game, impressed by his ability to cut directly through
extraneous matters to get right to the heart of any issue I presented him with...for I did seek and
respect his advice. Charlie had a son graduate from Texas A&M University, and a grandson is
currently here majoring in Architecture. ,
INA Quarterly 26.2
INSTITUTE OF NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
George Bass, Founder and
Jerome L. Hail. Executive Director
William L. Allen
John H. Baird
George F Bass
Edward O Boshell, Jr.,
Vice Chairman and Treasurer
Ray M. Bowen
John A. Brock
Elizabeth L. Brunl
Gregory M. Cook, Chairman
John De Lapa
Allan Campbell, M.D
Donald A Frey, Vice President
Cemal M Pulak, Vice President
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Donald C. Geddes III (Emerntus)
Woodrow Jones, Jr.
Harry C Kahn II (Emeritus)
Michael L. Katzev
Jack W. Kelley
Sally RL Lancaster
Robert E. Lorton
Frederick R. Mayer
Bill Klein, M.D Dana F. McGinnis
James A. Goold, Secretary and Counsel
Claudia LeDoux, Assistant Secretary
William A. McKenzie
Alex G. Nason
George E. Robb, Jr.
L Francis Rooney
Ray H. Siegfried 11
William T. Sturgis
Robert L. Walker
Lew 0. Ward
Peter M- Way
Garry A. Weber
George O. Yamini
Murad Sunalp, M.D.
George F Bass
George T. & Gladys H. Abell Professor of Nautical Archaeology/ George O. Yamini Family Professor of Liberal Arts
Kevin J. Cr sman, Nautical Archaeology Faculty Fellow
Donny L. Hamilton, Frederick R. Mayer Faculty Fellow
Frederick M. Hocker, Sara W & George O. Yanuni Associate Professor
Cemal M. Pulak, Frederick R Mayer Faculty Fellow of Nautical Archaeology
C. Wayne Smith, Assistant Professor/Director of the Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory
I Richard Steffy. Sara W. & George 0. YamlR Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
Frederick H. van Doorninck. Jr., Frederick R. Mayer Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
Shelley Wachsmann, Meadows Assistant Professor of Biblical Archaeology
Cheryl Ward, Assistant Professor
J. Barto Arnold M.A., Texas Operations
Esra Alinanit G6ksu
William H. Charlton, Jr., M.A.
Sheila D Matthews, M.A
GCkhan Ozagacl, Ph.D.
Robin C.M. Piercy
Candace D. Pierson
Sema Pulak, M.A.
Patricia M. Sibella, Ph.D.
Douglas Haldane, M.A., INA Egypt
Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton, Ph.D.
Robert S. Neyland, Ph.D.
Ralph K. Pedersen, M.A.
Brett A. Phaneuf
Arthur Cohn, J.D.
David Gibbins, Ph D.
Faith D. Hentsohel, Ph.D.
Fredrik T. Hiebert, Ph.D.
Carolyn G. Koehler, Ph.D.
William M. Murray, Ph.D.
David I. Owen, Ph.D.
Gordon P Watts, Jr., M.A
Mr. and Mrs. Ray H Siegfried Ii
Graduate Fellow: Matthew Harpster
Marion M. Cook Graduate Fellow:
Oscar Blasingame and Erich Heinhold
Tufan U. Turanli, Turkish Headquarters
Australian Institute of Mantime Archaeology
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cincinnati
Coming Museum of Glass
Department de Arqueol6gia Subacuatica de
la I.N.A.H., Mexico
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
New York University. Institute of Fine Arts
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Partners for Livable Places
University Museum. University of Pennsylvania
Texas A&M Research Foundation
Texas A&M University
University of Texas at Austin
Christine A. Powell