'Mystery' shipwreck artifacts will tell unwritten story about Civil War-era Mobile

The rusted remains of a winch lie near the bow of an old wooden ship on the beach at Fort Morgan in November 2009. Gulf shores-based Fathom Exploration plans to tell a previously unwritten story of a "mystery" shipwreck that was found in 2004 about two nautical miles southwest of Fort Morgan

By David Ferrara - Blog.al

A Gulf Shores company plans to tell a previously unwritten story about the Civil War era along the Alabama coast today by unveiling artifacts from a “mystery” shipwreck.

Marking the 150-year anniversary of the shipwreck just southwest of Fort Morgan, David Anderson, CEO of Fathom Exploration, the archaeological group that discovered the ship, said it was part of an exploration first launched about seven years ago.

“We’re adding to the very early history of the war,” Anderson said. “There are not many things that fall through the cracks, but if you look closely, you can find them. And this is certainly one.”

This ship, which has a name Anderson would not disclose, was not listed in any compilation of ships lost in the Mobile area, he said.

“If you look at the ships that are listed as being lost in Alabama in that time period, there’s only one or two,” Anderson said. “And this was not either one of them.

“That begs a really interesting question: what’s not in the history books ?”

Anderson said he learned more about the ship when he discovered a captain’s log from a Union blockade and researched newspaper articles that referenced the incident from the side of the Confederacy.

Along with state and local officials, Anderson plans to reveal the artifacts and their significance to Mobile’s history during an event at LuLu’s at Homeport Marina at 11:30 a.m. today.

The artifacts are part of a 2004 Fathom Exploration discovery of 4 sites about 2 nautical miles southwest of Fort Morgan. At that time, the company filed a federal lawsuit to secure the location. A federal judge’s decision on who owns the artifacts has been on hold while Fathom Exploration analyzed what was found.

The exploration itself was put on hold during the BP oil spill, Anderson said, and resumed late last year.

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Civil War shipwreck America

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