NOAA Close to Finding Civil War-Era Steamer

Posted by Michelle Howard
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Planter at Georgetown, S.C. (Credit: Naval History and Heritage Command)

NOAA announced  it has determined the probable location of the remains of the Civil War-era sidewheel steamer Planter, which gained national fame in 1862 when a group of enslaved African Americans commandeered the Confederate Navy transport ship in a daring escape to freedom.
 

The announcement was made in Charleston, S.C., where NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries released a report on its search for the Planter and plans for an interpretative sign and future exhibit dedicated to the Planter's legacy. The effort to find the Planter supports NOAA's Voyage to Discovery initiative, which seeks to highlight African-American maritime history through education, archaeology, science and underwater exploration.
 


Under the leadership of Robert Smalls, the ship's steersman, crew members navigated the steamer out of Charleston Harbor on May 12, 1862, and delivered the vessel to the United States Navy. The New York Herald called the escape "one of the most daring and heroic adventures since the war was commenced."


 
The notoriety generated by the escape and capture of the Planter led to Smalls eventually becoming the first African-American master in the U.S. Navy and a member of Congress representing South Carolina - the state where he was born a slave. NOAA's report helps fill gaps in the largely untold story of Robert Smalls and the Planter, which wrecked on a beach in March 1876 while trying to tow a grounded schooner.


 
In an attempt to answer lingering questions about the Planter's fate, NOAA researchers reviewed historical documents and analyzed oceanographic and meteorological conditions that may have existed at the time of the Planter's loss. The likely site where the vessel came to rest, off Cape Romain between Charleston and Georgetown, S.C., was confirmed with magnetometer and hydro-probing surveys that detected the presence of large concentrations of iron consistent with the remains of a sunken ship. The vessel's remains are buried under 10-15 feet of sand and water in an environmentally sensitive area.
 
 
"Our interest in finding the Planter is about more than just unlocking the past and secrets of the deep," said Daniel J. Basta, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries director. "This expedition is an opportunity to highlight African-American contributions to the country's maritime heritage and inspire young people to consider careers in marine science to help expand the boundaries of ocean exploration."
 


Following Smalls' commandeering of the Planter on May 12, 1862, the ship continued to be used by the U.S. Navy as a dispatch and supply vessel with Smalls as pilot. However, by September of that year, the Navy transferred the craft to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, where it supported Army operations around Charleston, Port Royal and Beaufort.


 
News accounts suggest that after the war, Smalls and the Planter were well known among local African Americans. As the Planter's captain, he transported many freed slaves to newly created farmsteads and communities at Hilton Head and Port Royal. With Smalls at the helm, the Planter was reported as the ship that carried black dignitaries and passengers to the ceremony of the symbolic raising of the Fort Sumter flag which had been lowered after the fort's capture by the Confederates.


 
On March 25, 1876, while trying to tow a grounded schooner, Planter sprang a plank in the bow and began to take on water in the hold. The captain elected to beach the steamer and repair the plank, hoping to get off the beach with the next high tide. However, stormy seas battered the Planter as the tide rose and the ship was too badly damaged and had to be abandoned. Upon hearing of its loss, Robert Smalls was reported to have said that he felt as if he had lost a member of his family.  
 

 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

MHI's Entity to Oversee Material Handling Equipment, Engine and Turbocharger Businesses

Today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) decided in principle to launch a new wholly owned entity to integrally oversee its current businesses in material

Globus Maritime Reclassifies Board Member

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, announced today that when Georgios Karageorgiou, a Class I director of Globus Maritime Limited  resigned on December 28,

First Panama Canal Water-Saving Basin Filled

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced that the first water-saving basin of the Agua Clara Locks’ upper chamber has been filled to the required level in order

Navy

Antietam, McCampbell Build Relationships at IFR 2016

Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) arrived Feb. 4 in India

Indian Navy Shows Off Strength

India’s naval might was on full display off the coast of Visakhapatnam today (Saturday) as President Pranab Mukherjee reviewed the naval fleet.   Mukherjee,

Russia Confirms Tanker Seized by Niger Delta Militants

Russia’s embassy in Nigeria confirmed on Thursday that the Greek-owned oil tanker Leon Dias has been hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea, reports TASS.   There are

Salvage

Shipbreaking Practices in 2015 Reveal Appalling Record -Report

Ignoring industry leaders and human rights and environmental organizations, ship owners continue to profit from dangerous and dirty shipbreaking practices on South Asian beaches in 2015,

Boxship Aground Near Port of Hamburg

A Chinese container ship that is one of the world's largest has run aground on the river Elbe near Germany's largest port Hamburg but shipping to the harbour continues as normal,

A2SEA Jack-Up Capsizes Off Denmark

A2SEA has announced that wind turbine installation vessel has capsized off the Danish coast due to harsh weather on Wednesday.    It has gone from bad to worse for A2SEA-vessel Sea Worker.

News

MHI's Entity to Oversee Material Handling Equipment, Engine and Turbocharger Businesses

Today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) decided in principle to launch a new wholly owned entity to integrally oversee its current businesses in material

Globus Maritime Reclassifies Board Member

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, announced today that when Georgios Karageorgiou, a Class I director of Globus Maritime Limited  resigned on December 28,

First Panama Canal Water-Saving Basin Filled

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced that the first water-saving basin of the Agua Clara Locks’ upper chamber has been filled to the required level in order

Marine Science

European Consortium Launches Blue Nodules Project

On 1 February a European consortium launched a new Horizon 2020 project: Blue Nodules. This project addresses the challenge of creating a viable and sustainable

Shipping Traffic Noise Severely Affects Whale Populations

Underwater sound pollution disrupts the communication methods of killer whales and could harm their ability to locate salmon, researchers have found.   Increasing

Videotel, Safebridge JV for Onboard ECDIS Certification

Videotel, a provider of e-Learning maritime training solutions and a company of KVH Industries, has joined forces with online maritime training business Safebridge GmbH,

Vessels

Globus Maritime Reclassifies Board Member

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, announced today that when Georgios Karageorgiou, a Class I director of Globus Maritime Limited  resigned on December 28,

Antietam, McCampbell Build Relationships at IFR 2016

Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) arrived Feb. 4 in India

Cosco Merger May Change Industry Dynamics

The merger between China Shipping group and the Cosco Group has given rise to a mammoth company that could trigger stability and extended consolidation in the global shipping industry,

History

Near-Record Volume for Burns Harbor Port

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled 2.8 million tons of cargo in 2015, the second highest tonnage in over two decades. Following 2014's all-time record volume,

SS United States to Sail Again

Crystal Cruises reaches deal to restore the record-breaking and storied SS United States to a fully operational modern luxury cruise ship   Crystal Cruises has

This Day In Naval History - February 2

1848 - The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican-American War and establishes the boundaries between the two republics. 1862 - Capt. David G. Farragut,

Unmanned Vehicles

FUGRO Wins BHP Pyrenees Contract

Fugro has been awarded a contract by BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Ltd for the Pyrenees Phase 3 Installation Project.   The Pyrenees development is located offshore Western Australia,

Pentagon Chief Unveils Plans to Buy More High-end Ships

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday mapped out plans for the U.S. Navy to buy more high-end submarines, destroyers, fighter jets and unmanned underwater

ABB Makes 5 km Subsea Operations Safe

Marine software and hardware to assist multi-purpose diving support vessels in complex deepwater projects Power and automation technology group ABB will provide

 
 
Maritime Security Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1459 sec (7 req/sec)