Ike uncovers a mystery ship

When Hurricane Ike went away,   Fort Morgan, Alabama, had a mystery.  Ike’s tremendous surf and surge uncovered the remains of a wooden ship on a beach in Fort Morgan, Ala. Some are saying that it is  the two-masted Confederate battleship Monticello, which partially burned after running aground in 1862 while trying to outrun the U.S. Navy into Mobile Bay during the Civil War. Records say the  Monticello was run aground while sailing from Havana to Mobile, trying to sneak past the U.S. Navy to enter Mobile Bay.  The wrecked ship is 136.9 feet long and 25 feet wide, Mike Bailey, site curator at Fort Morgan, said after examining the vessel this week.[*] Museum of Mobile marine archaeologist Shea McLean said,  “Based on what we know of ships lost in that area and what I’ve seen, the Monticello is by far the most likely candidate. You can never be 100 percent certain unless you find the bell with ‘Monticello’ on it, but this definitely fits.” [*] But, could it be the  schooner Rachel, built in Moss Point, MS, near Biloxi, in 1919 and wrecked near Fort Morgan in 1933?  The Army Corps of Engineers thought so back in 1969.  That’s when Hurricane Camille partially cleared away sand to reveal the ship’s skeleton, then other hurricanes covered it back up.

While tourists gather pieces as souvenirs, the archeologists wonder.

About Libbi

Writer for 30 years. Genealogy a hobby for about 40 years. Yes, I'm in my 50's, I learned about genealogy at my mother's knee!
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3 Responses to Ike uncovers a mystery ship

  1. Ken De Angelo says:

    USS Monticello, a 655-ton screw steam gunboat, was built at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1859 for civilian use. Chartered by the Navy in May 1861, she was named Star for a few weeks and then reverted to the name Monticello. She was purchased by the Navy in September 1861. USS Monticello was decommissioned in July 1865 and sold the following November. She subsequently became the merchant steamer Monticello, and was so employed until she sank off Newfoundland in April 1872.

    The wreck is likely the Schooner Rachel build by John De Angelo and Sons in Moss Point MS in 1919. The Rachel was 132 at the keel and 155 stem to stern.

  2. Libbi says:

    Ken:Indeed, today the Museum of Mobile agreed with you!

  3. Ronald Walker says:

    Please Mr. Reporter:

    This is not a “battleship.” The word you were looking for may have been “warship.” Whether it is a schooner, yacht or blockade runner, it probably is not a warship either. Blockade runners were often converted yachts (for speed) with a schooner rig (for maneuverability.

    RON WALKER

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