Government officials are pulling approximately 250,000 lbs. of the warship CSS Georgia’s armored siding — the ship’s skeleton — from the Savannah River. Crews are raising the Civil War-era ship’s remains in 10,000-lb. chunks that measure about 4 feet tall by 24 feet wide. The siding is the last major ship part remaining in the water; Navy divers began retrieving the ship’s unexploded shells, cannons and other artifacts in late June.
The ironclad gunboat owes its existence to the so-called Ladies Gunboat Society in Savannah, which was made up of a group of merchants’ wives, among other like-minded women, who raised funds from across the state to build the warship.
The CSS Georgia was built for the Confederacy in 1862, but it ended up being too heavy to be powered under its own steam through the tidal waters of the Savannah River. Consequently, the vessel became a floating battery anchored upstream, helping to protect the city of Savannah from the Union’s navy. The CSS Georgia spent only three years floating before it was banished to the bottom of the river. When Union Gen. William T. Sherman approached in 1864, the Confederate troops decided to sink the CSS Georgia rather than see it usurped by their enemy.