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Alabama Gulf Coast Video
Video still of the shipwreck.

Shipwreck Revealed by Ike May Date from Civil War

September 22, 2008 12:04 PM
by Isabel Cowles
Hurricane Ike uncovered a shipwreck in Alabama that’s been tentatively identified as the schooner Monticello, lost in 1862.

Wrecked Schooner Unearthed by Storm

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Although it left many in the dark, Hurricane Ike brought to light a shipwreck that archeologists believe could date to 1862.

The vessel was partially revealed by Hurricane Camille when it passed through Fort Morgan, Alabama, in 1969. The shipwreck is located six miles outside of Fort Morgan and was tentatively identified at the time as the Monticello, a two-masted Civil War schooner.

After examining the ship, Museum of Mobile archaeologist Shea McLean also agreed that it was most likely the Monticello, a Confederate battle ship en route from Havana that ran aground while trying to outrun the U.S. Navy into Mobile Bay.

According to McLean, “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.”
However, a 2000 report by the Army Corps of Engineers argued that the wreck was actually the schooner Rachel, which sank in 1933. Several elements, such as steel cables within the body of the ship, indicate that the wreck may be Rachel and not the Monticello.

Glenn Forest, another archeologist who visited the site, believes that full excavation will be required to determine the ship’s identity.

Related Topic: Sunken British warship found after 228 years

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