Quest On For Submerged Civil War Artifacts

Civil War Union Gen. Herman Haupt, a civil engineer, moving across the Potomac River in a one-man pontoon boat that he invented for scouting and bridge inspection in an image taken between1860 and 1865.
AP/Library of Congress
A University of South Carolina archaeologist is scanning the bottom of Charleston Harbor for Civil War artifacts, using a twin-outboard motor boat and a clutch of scientific equipment.

James Spirek of the South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology has been on the water this week putting together the first comprehensive historical scan of the harbor bottom.

He says researchers use Civil War era maps superimposed on modern harbor maps to try to locate everything from ships to fortifications.

Friday, on a cold, gray, windy morning, the search was focused on Confederate frame torpedoes. They were essentially mines anchored to the bottom with wooden frames guarding to inland waterways from Yankee ships.