Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The campaign to acquisition the Confederate Ironclads Manassas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. November 1981.

For a cartel operation this accepted to be one of our best acknowledged operations. Walt Schob and I flew bottomward to New Orleans, best up Erick Schonstedt's affectionate gradiometer, busy a car and collection bottomward to Plaquemines Parish. There, at the boondocks of Venice, we accountant a baby fifteen bottom baiter from a bounded Cajun fisherman and began analytic for several of the ships that sank in the Mississippi River during the action for Forts Jackson and St. Phillip. I sat in the bow in a backyard armchair with the casting on a access abate propped on the gunwale.

The action occurred in April of 1862 back Admiral David Farragut ran the forts and captured New Orleans, obliterating the baby but adventuresome makeshift Confederate agile that blocked his course.

We were best absorbed in analysis the armpit of the Manassas, a Confederate active ram. She was complete from the Boston tug, Enoch Train, accepting railroad adamant with abundant oak abetment laid over her aerial works so that she resembled a turtle. She was the aboriginal armored address congenital in this country to see combat, predating both the Merrimack and Monitor. After actuality aged by Union argosy guns, she was alone and accustomed to alluvion bottomward river while on fire. Admiral Porter approved to put a braiding on her as a curiosity, but she rumbled and sank beside the coffer of the river.

The Louisiana was a aberrant active 264' continued with a axle of 62'. She was armed with sixteen guns. Unfinished at the time of the battle, she had been towed downriver and anchored beneath Acropolis St. Phillip breadth she was acclimated as a amphibian battery.

We additionally searched and begin two ships that fought a acclaimed active bound up the river; the Confederate gunboat, Governor Moore and the Union bottle Varuna.

The Louisiana was begin the aboriginal hour, no abundant accomplishment as the acclaimed Civil war artisan Alfred Waud drew a account of the huge active alarming up in advanced of the fort. She lies absolutely deep, mostly beneath the present coffer in a addled breadth off the river. Her massive bones no agnosticism contributed to the body up of the alluvium at the angle breadth she sank.

Two canicule later, boring the gradiometer up and bottomward the river from the forts to a point three and a bisected afar bottomward river, somewhat aloft the present day Boothville aerial school, we hit the Manassas. The afterward year Tom Ryan and Bill Mueller of the Army Corp of Engineers apprenticed with Texas A & M to do a magnetometer survey. Their annal acknowledge an aberration in the absolute appearance and accumulation of the Manassas. They additionally begin a ample adamant accumulation a hundred yards bottomward river and forty anxiety from shore. A abyssal archaeologist abominably arrested out this armpit instead of the primary ambition and begin a amount of pipe. Again he went on TV and declared the Manassas wasn't there. He couldn't acquisition any added ships from the action either. It never occurred to him they are no best beneath baptize but covered by land.

Spare me from abyssal archaeologists.

Schob and I again confused up the river and begin the Governor Moore and the Varuna breadth they ashore a few hundred yards afar on the east bank.

This was our final day as we had to move up to Baton Rouge and attending for the Arkansas. Unfortunately the acclimate kicked up and we didn't get a adventitious to chase any further. I would accept admired to accept begin the Confederate bottle Stonewall Jackson (no affiliation to the barricade agent in Charleston) and one or two others, but it was not meant to be, at atomic not this trip.

Arriving at Baton Rouge, we went anon to the Sheriff's Office of West Baton Rouge Parish. I accept his name was Bergeron. He affably loaned us the Sheriff's Office boat, a accomplished little aluminum activity advised and congenital by a bastille trustee. The alone botheration was we consistently aggregate a army on the river. Everyone active in the breadth was acclimated to seeing the baiter boring the river for bodies, and actuality we were boring the gradiometer cable out over the stern. No one believed us back we claimed our chase was for an old ironclad.

The Arkansas for some aberrant acumen has been aberrate from the actual accent accustomed her sisters the Virginia, Albemarle, Tennessee and Manassas.

She was hurriedly, abominably complete up the Yazoo River in May of 1862. She was armored with railroad adamant and boilerplate and army ten abundant guns. Back she was still incomplete, her commander, Lieutenant Isaac Brown, took her bottomward the river to the besieged burghal of Vicksburg. The absurd action that followed was a archetypal case of an underdog pit balderdash charging a ample backpack of wolves.

While still on the Yazoo River, the Arkansas, ran into the Union ironclads Carondelet, Tyler, and Queen of the West. Bark to bark the Arkansas and the Carondelet, formed abroad at anniversary added until the accoutrements of the Confederate devastated the Union address and collection her aground. The Tyler additionally suffered abundant accident from the Arkansas while the Queen of the West took off to acquaint the Union ships anchored aloft Vicksburg.

The Arkansas access assimilate the Mississippi and tore through the accumulated fleets of Flag Officers Farragut and Davis, thirty in all, like a militarist through a craven coop, battlefront every gun in all four directions. Cruising appropriate bottomward amid the band of ships, exchanging broadsides, it took the Arkansas a bisected an hour to canyon from the absolute band of Union warships.

She was bashed and trashed, but she gave far more good than she got. Shattered, claret blood-soaked and boastful she limped to the berth at Vicksburg. Her aggregation suffered ten dead and fifteen wounded. The Union fleets absent forty-two dead and sixty-nine wounded.

Over the abutting ages the Arkansas was attacked at her ballast several times, but in anniversary afire the Union ships bootless with abundant losses.

In August the action weary active was ordered to Baton Rouge to abutment an advance by General Breckinridge on the city. About aural afterimage of the city, aloof aloft the ability and afore the aerial bend, the Arkansas' engines bankrupt bottomward and she was run ashore and austere by her crew.

She drifted from the coffer and floated downriver for an hour, afire fiercely, her loaded accoutrements discharging, until she assuredly blew up.

Forgive me for defective accurate accreditation and not spotting the positions with transits, but by artlessly appearance the bones sites on maps anyone who follows our aisle should accept little botheration analysis the targets.

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