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Lesson plans and STEM curriculum created by graduates of the CSS Georgia Teachers' Institute are now available.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The school year continued for 15 educators who returned to the classroom to unearth ways to bring curriculum to life during the CSS Georgia Teacher’s Institute held May 31 – June 3 at Georgia Tech Savannah.
A row of 6.4-inch Brooke shells wait in buckets filled with seawater prior to being inerted, Nov. 4. Technicians inerted 170 Brooke shells and Dahlgren projectiles in two months.
Archaeologists with Panamerican Consultants, Inc. spray down pieces of the CSS Georgia’s armor or “casemate” during the mechanized recovery phase, Sept. 24. The mechanized recovery is one of the final phases of the project that will remove the ironclad before deepening the Savannah harbor.

Recovering the CSS Georgia

Recovery of the CSS Georgia is an important component of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Archeologist Julie Morgan is the Corps' leading official in charge of the CSS Georgia recovery, which includes collection and analysis of artifacts, conservation, and a final technical report. 

The CSS Georgia is an ironclad gunboat built for the Confederacy in 1862. A group of like-minded women, including merchants' wives and others formed the Ladies Gunboat Society in Savannah and raised funds from across the state for her construction. The vessel was designed by a citizens' committee led by foundry owner Alvin N. Miller and constructed in Savannah. Suitable supplies of iron and other building materials, as well as labor were in short supply during its construction. The vessel was completed and found to be too heavy to be powered under her own steam through the tidal waters of the Savannah River. As a result, Georgia spent her life as a floating battery moored upstream from lines of obstructions near the upper end of Elba Island by Fort Jackson. Her position and the river obstructions provided protection to the City of Savannah from a Union naval approach. The advance of General William T. Sherman's Union troops in 1864 caused Confederate troops to scuttle the vessel in the general area of where she now rests.

Deepening the Savannah River channel will adversely impact the wreck site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In order to mitigate these adverse impacts, the site will be excavated by archaeologists and all vessel remains and artifacts will be recovered. The investigation and subsequent artifact analysis, conservation, reporting and curation are in compliance with the 2012 Programmatic Agreement for Cultural Resources. The agreement was signed by representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office, the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, and the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command to ensure Savannah District’s compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.

CSS Georgia in the news

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SAVANNAH, Ga. — After 150 years at the bottom of the Savannah River, the armored skeleton of the Confederate warship CSS Georgia is being raised to the surface one 5-ton chunk at a time.
Donny Hamilton's hands have been covered in some kind of dirt or grime for most of the past 38 years.

Throughout his time as director of Texas A&M University's Conservation Research Lab, he has inspected centuries-old wooden ship parts, lifted Civil War-era cannons out of chemically treated mixtures, chipped away at exteriors of cast iron mechanical parts, arranged 350-year-old wooden ship wreckage in freeze dryers, made epoxy casts out of boat hooks and meticulously logged each artifact he has handled into an expansive file system with an X-ray photograph and a brief description. 

The Civil War Picket this week spoke with Julie Morgan, archaeologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, Ga. We asked her about concerted efforts since January to recover the CSS Georgia ironclad, a Confederate vessel, and associated artifacts from the Savannah River as part of a channel-deepening project. Responses have been edited for brevity and organization by topic.
As a conservator for NHHC’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, the majority of my work is focused on treatment of archaeological material recovered from U.S. Navy sunken military craft and primarily takes place in the UA Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory located on the Washington Navy Yard.
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Leather boots, the hilts of swords — even a stray earring — were among the nearly 30,000 artifacts recovered this fall from the wreckage of the sunken ironclad Confederate gunship CSS Georgia.
Of the more than 30,000 artifacts recovered from the wreckage of the CSS Georgia, over 16,000 (135 tons) have been returned to their watery grave. The items were loaded into 10 shipping containers which were put back in the Savannah river, and then covered with mud to deter treasure hunters.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The school year continued for 15 educators who returned to the classroom to unearth ways to bring curriculum to life during the CSS Georgia Teacher’s Institute held May 31 – June 3 at Georgia Tech Savannah.
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Ben Redmond and Matt Christiansen are breathing a little easier now that the most dangerous part of their job is over.

The pair, along with a handful of engineers and technicians, spent the last two months inerting 170 Dahlgren and 6.4-inch Brooke projectiles that Navy divers recovered from the CSS Georgia this summer. READ MORE.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Six days a week, Loren Clark comes home covered in mud, soaked in seawater and physically exhausted from 12 hours of hard labor.
As part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, dredging for the outer harbor began Sept. 10 onboard the cutter head dredge Alaska. The vessel is situated approximately four miles offshore from Tybee Island in the entrance channel to Savannah harbor.
As the mechanized stage of recovery began in earnest this week, marine archaeologists working on the CSS Georgia had just started to dig in for the long haul – anticipating tedious, 12-hour days of sifting through concretion-covered objects from the dregs of the Savannah River.
As Navy divers with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 pack up this week and head to their next mission, the stage is set for the mechanized phase of the CSS Georgia’s recovery. Archaeologists will pore over the remaining dregs and continue conservation efforts for the more than 1,500 artifacts they’ve recovered since January of this year.
Savannah, Georgia (CNN)Imagine working in a world the color of Irish coffee, where you cannot see much beyond your hand. Where a constant force pushes you away from your task and upends you if you stay too long. And walking? Jagged pieces of iron and piles of debris await at every turn.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – As cities along the East Coast scramble to bolster their infrastructure and employ massive dredges to deepen their harbors, Savannah began its harbor expansion with a team of 10 people who used wire baskets to raise a handful of objects at a time.
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Navy divers and explosive ordnance disposal technicians showed off the tools of their trade at Old Fort Jackson during the Raise the Wreck Festival, July 25.
BRYAN, Texas - A piece of confederate history is now at Texas A&M. After more than one hundred and fifty years at the bottom to the Savannah River. The CSS Georgia is being raised out from under the water as part of a channel deepening project. The conservation research laboratory at Texas A&M is helping conserve artifacts that were on that ship. The director of the research laboratory says it's is one of the oldest laboratories that has been continuously operated. It is also one of the few that can work with large artifacts, like the four cannons that arrived today at the university. The laboratory will preserve the cannons, through chemical and other means.
When the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invited the public to Old Fort Jackson on Saturday for a close-up look at what they and a team of archeologists and divers from the U.S. Navy are bringing up from the wreck of the CSS Georgia, they weren’t sure what kind of response they’d get.
COLLEGE STATION — The Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University is set Monday to receive four cannons from the wreckage of the Civil War vessel CSS Georgia.
My work is unique. I am an underwater archeologist, part of a team actually, responsible for the management, research, preservation, and interpretation of the U.S. Navy’s sunken military craft. While there is no typical day for me at NHHC, a point that humbles me when I think of the responsibility with which I and my colleagues are entrusted, this week was truly rare. I was part of a team charged with one of the largest archaeological excavations of a maritime site that has ever taken place in the United States – CSS Georgia.
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians perform some of the most harrowing, dangerous work in order to keep others from harm’s way, and they do so in every environment.They’re trained to disarm improvised explosive devices, neutralize chemical threats, and render safe nuclear weapons. They are the gold standard of the bomb squad world.