U.S. Navy Units Recover Sunken CSS Georgia

The technicians from EOD Mobile Unit 6 detachment Kings Bay, Georgia, are working to recover portions of history from the sunken Civil War ironclad CSS Georgia in Savannah, Georgia.

The Georgia was scuttled by her crew in the Savannah River in 1864 to avoid capture by the Union Army.

“EOD Mobile Unit 6 Detachment Kings Bay is partnered with Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 to form a joint task element,” said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Technician Richard A. Bledsoe. “EOD’s role is to safely recover all Civil War-era ordnance, to include four cannons.”

The U.S. Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) is also providing assistance to recover historical artifacts from the CSS Georgia.

Georgia must be removed completely to make way for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, or SHEP, a project to allow larger ships to use the Port of Savannah.

“The SHEP will create economic opportunity not only across Georgia, but throughout the Southeast,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “We’re grateful for our federal partners and their efforts thus far and will continue to work with them to ensure that their commitment is fully funded and reflects the importance of this project to the nation.”

To date, divers have successfully located and recovered 128 pieces of unexploded ordnance at the wreckage site. The team is currently concentrating on recovering the four cannons surveys have shown to be at the site. The first cannon was raised July 15 and the second cannon was retrieved on July 21, SUPSALV informed.

Rick Thiel, SUPSALV program manager said: “To support a project of this magnitude, two barges are on site, one to serve as a diving and equipment platform and one to support artifact storage, sorting and transport. Our expertise allows us locate and safely recover artifacts and unexploded ordnance in such challenging conditions.”

“It’s such an amazing experience to be part of the recovery efforts of the CSS Georgia knowing that we are raising artifacts that have been sunk for over 150 years. It will be very exciting to see it in a museum one day,” concluded Richard A. Bledsoe.