Old Fort Jackson

Two ships in the night

By Michael Jordan


Question: When is history like gymnastics ? Answer: When you have to bend over backwards to explain connections and make them matter to people today.

Around 1999 or so, I started my journey with the CSS Georgia, a Civil War warship sunk in the Savannah River adjacent to Old Fort Jackson.

The Georgia served as the genesis for countless stories at WSAV-TV 3 when I worked there as a reporter and anchor, as the subject of a cover article I wrote for this newspaper several years ago, and as the focus of my masters thesis at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Now, more than eight years later, the ship is still telling me secrets and daring me to tell its stories to the Savannahians of today. There’s another ship trying to horn its way into the story, too. But I’ll tell you more about that later.

The Georgia’s story begins in Spring 1862, when the ironclad CSS Virginia smashed its way through the Union blockading fleet in Hampton Roads, Va.

The Virginia’s near-victory (it was checked by the Union ironclad USS Monitor before it could completely destroy the Yankee fleet) heralded the end of the age of wooden warships.