Bayport Park

Divers believe they've found Civil War-era steamer off Bayport

Billy Morris

By Dan DeWitt - Tampa Bay

Considering the divers were looking for remains of an iron-hulled Civil War-era steamer, Tom Allyn's news was about as good as it could be.

"I found something — it's old and it's metallic,'' said Allyn, wearing a wet suit and standing in chest-deep water off Bayport Park on Thursday morning.

Then, moments later, marine archaeologist Billy Morris surfaced with an update that topped Allen's.

"It's a piece of steam pipe,'' Morris said.

That pipe, about 9 inches in diameter and 2 feet long — definitely iron and definitely consistent with the side-wheeler the divers were looking for — is some of the most solid evidence ever found of a dramatic and often overlooked chapter in Hernando history.

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