This report, A Management Plan For Known and Potential United States Navy Shipwrecks in South Carolina, presents the results of a multi-year study that partnered the Maritime Research Division (MRD) of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) at the University of South Carolina (USC) with the Naval Historical Center (NHC) in Washington, DC. The project was conducted in two phases. The first phase called for compiling historical and cultural data of United States Navy vessels lost in South Carolina waters to document the losses and subsequent wreck history of each vessel. The resultant information was then used to update the NHC’s database of shipwrecks in or near state waters claimed by the Navy to more accurately reflect the status of the naval shipwrecks in state waters.
The second phase of the project included conducting remote sensing operations on a limited number of shipwreck sites and areas of naval activities, primarily from the Civil War. The primary area of operation for this phase was the Charleston area, and included surveys of USS Patapsco, USS Weehawken, and USS Keokuk, as well as the site of USS Housatonic. A second area of survey was Port Royal Sound, which was another center of naval activity between 1861 and 1865, and two shipwrecks were documented, one previously located wreck and one newly-discovered site, thought to be a US Navy-owned whaling ship. A third survey area was in the ACE Basin to gather information about two Civil War vessels. The fourth area centered on the Civil War wreck of the USS Harvest Moon, a navy vessel, sunk by a torpedo in Winyah Bay. This information was documented in a geographic information system (GIS) database format and presented in Chapter Seven of this report.
The report begins with the updated inventory of US Navy wrecks in South Carolina. Using criteria developed by MRD staff, the list of shipwrecks claimed by the Navy was reduced from 96 to 46 vessels. Each of the remaining 50 shipwrecks falls into one of four categories--US Navy vessels outside state waters, Confederate vessels, US Army transports, South Carolina Navy vessels, and foreign flag vessels, vessels from the latter three categories being located within the state’s Territorial Sea. A brief history of the United States naval presence in South Carolina follows, including the establishment of strategic naval installations at Port Royal and Charleston. Historical research resulted in the presentation of historic and cultural information on each vessel, or in the case of the two Stone Fleets, each group of vessels. That information is followed by analyses of the inventory using such factors as historical periods of sinking, causes of loss, geographical distribution of loss, environmental situation, and potential natural and cultural threats to aid in determining the historical and archaeological significance of a navy shipwreck in state waters.. Management of US Navy shipwrecks is then addressed, as are field investigations and Geographical Information System analysis of the sites.
Based on the work described above, recommendations are then made.
This report, prepared by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina, was made possible by a grant from the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program, administered through the Naval Historical Center in Washington, District of Columbia. Additional funding was provided by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
Published in 2004.
Spirek, James D. and Christopher F. Amer, eds. A Management Plan For Known and Potential United States Navy Shipwrecks in South Carolina. Columbia, SC: The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology--University of South Carolina, 2004.
© 2004 by The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology