List of Shipwrecks Near Savannah

List of Shipwrecks Near Savannah
Savannah, Georgia, has a rich naval history with many intriguing shipwreck stories. As a central node in pre-Civil War trade routes and a strategic location during the Civil War, Savannah hides ships from all eras of United States naval history along its riverbanks and the nearby Atlantic coast.

S.S. Republic

The Republic was a Civil War-era paddlewheel steamship that sank on Oct. 25, 1865, in a hurricane near Savannah. The ship was discovered in 2003 by Odyssey Marine Exploration after a 12-year search.

Sleeping beneath 1,700 feet of water about 100 miles southeast of Savannah, the Republic was carrying about 20,000 $20 gold pieces intended to aid post-war reconstruction efforts. According to, each gold piece is worth between $6,000 and $9,000 in today's market.

Water Witch

The gunboat Water Witch was discovered under 10 feet of mud at the bottom of the Vernon River, south of Savannah. The State Department of Transportation performed a survey of the river in 2007 before building a bridge and just happened to survey the exact spot that Civil War-era maps mark the burning of Water Witch.

Commissioned in 1851, Water Witch was a Union patrol boat stationed off the coast of Georgia when it was captured during a midnight sneak attack by a Confederate force nearly twice the size of the crew. During the attack, however, the leader of the confederate attack party, along with the man who was supposed to steer the ship into Confederate waters, were lost. Not wanting to take the chance of losing the ship back to the Union, the Confederates burned it and marked its location on several maps.

Clydesdale Plantation Vessel

A Clydesdale plantation sailing sloop dating to the 18th century was discovered in the Back River near Savannah and is believed to be one of the first vessels designed to sail the trade routes between Savannah, Charleston and Georgetown.

At the time of its discovery, the sloop had been buried along the shore as support for a pier, and the remains of a house were discovered near the pier.

C.S.S. Georgia

The Georgia was a Confederate Navy ironclad battery that was scuttled in 1864 by her crew, only two years after being commissioned. The Georgia, like the Water Witch, was one of many Confederate ships destroyed by Confederate forces when it became obvious that U.S. Gen. Sherman's army would take Savannah at the end of his famous "march to the sea." The ship is listed as nationally significant in the National Register and is protected by the U.S. government from excavation.

Although discovered in 1968, the Georgia was not officially investigated until 1977. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Park Authority began a new series of investigations in 2002 which, as of 2009, were still under way.


Other known shipwrecks near Savannah, Georgia, include the Mars and Duke of Wellington. Mars was lost en route from London, and Duke of Wellington was on its way from Jamaica.


Article Written By David Ingram

David Ingram has written for multiple publications since 2009, including "The Houston Chronicle" and online at As a small-business owner, Ingram regularly confronts modern issues in management, marketing, finance and business law. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in management from Walsh University.

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