Library at the
(July 21, 2002 - Cherbourg, France)
American archaeologists and personnel from the Naval Surface Warfare Center
and the Naval Historical Center have completed a remote operated vehicle
(ROV) survey of the remains of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama.
In spite of bad weather and rough seas in the English Channel, the team has
collected ten hours of high resolution videotape and almost 2,000 digital
images of the wreck site. The images and video will be used to assemble a
mosaic of the exposed wreck structure and support development of a computer
based model of the vessel remains.
During the survey, archaeologists located and identified the last missing
piece of the CSS Alabama's ordnance. The eighth cannon was a Blakely Pattern
32-pounder purchased by Confederate agent James D. Bulloch from the Liverpool
firm of Fawcett, Preston and Company.
The cannon lies near the bow under
collapsed remains of the Alabama's hull. A number of round shot have also
been located in the wreckage amidships. Subsequent analysis will help
determine if the shot were for the guns of the Alabama or were fired into the
hull by the USS Kearsearge during the famous 19 June 1864 battle off
More than a dozen artifacts recovered from the CSS Alabama during diving
operations in June have been cataloged and packed for shipment to the United
States. The collection, including the Alabama's foremast bell, fragments of
several small arms, a 1,500 pound riding bitt,
and a number of deck fittings
will be sent to conservation facilities in Charleston, South Carolina where
the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley is being preserved. Once conservation
and analysis has been completed many of the items will be put on display in
museum exhibits at the Washington Navy Yard and in Mobile, Alabama.
Investigation of the CSS Alabama is sponsored by the CSS Alabama Association,
a Mobile, Alabama based Not-for-Profit
organization headed by Robert
Edington. Much of the funding for the 2002 investigation was provided by the
Department of Defense Legacy Program. Field research was organized and
directed by personnel from the Institute for International Maritime Research
in Washington, North Carolina.