Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016's top 10 posts: Shipwrecks, artifacts and the mystery of the coffin in marsh

Picket readers’ abiding interest in shipwrecks and archaeology dominated the list of the 10 most popular items reported and written in 2016. Thank you so much for your support this past year. All the best to each of you in 2017!

(Picket photo)

10. ‘SO MUCH POTENTIAL’: County officials and the friends group want a newly opened park in Resaca, Ga., to be an educational, recreational and historic beacon for local residents, travelers and Civil War buffs. The park (photo above) contains significant remnants of earthworks, including an impressive length of trenches. • Read more

CSS Georgia gun (USACE)
9. HUNLEY, MONITOR, CSS GEORGIA: Ahead of a Columbus, Ga., symposium on shipwrecks, the Picket gleaned fascinating details on conservation efforts related to these famous vessels. • Read more

8.  ‘FOR EVER ENGLAND’: A ceremony this past summer at Poplar Grove National Cemetery at the Petersburg, Va., battlefield recalled the life and service of a British sergeant major who trained young Americans at nearby Fort Lee during World War I. • Read more

Courtesy of John Gregory

7. BLOCKADE RUNNER DIORAMAS: Endearingly old school, four dioramas depicting scenes from Civil War blockade running – a cargo auction, a daring Union raid, the boarding of a vessel and the drowning of a Confederate spy – are on display in a North Carolina town for the first time in nearly 35 years. Another (above) is at a nearby recreation area. • Read more

Georgia State Parks
6. VANDALIZED HOWITZER ON DISPLAY: An artillery piece is back at the Georgia battlefield where it is believed to have been used in a deadly barrage on attacking Federal troops. The restored howitzer, which was spiked and vandalized over the years, now sits on a reproduction carriage at Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site near Atlanta (photo, left). • Read more 

5. ‘SCENE AT THE RAVINE’: A burn ban brought on by the summer’s drought brought postponement to candlelight tours planned at Pickett’s Mill battlefield. • Read more

Georgia DNR

4. FORT McALLISTER’s MYSTERY COFFIN: Rachel Black, deputy state archaeologist in Georgia, has posed a question that currently has no answer but offers a range of fascinating possibilities: Why was a coffin placed in a marsh near a Civil War fort and who put it there. • Read more

Jim Jobling (USACE)
3. TOUGH CHOICES: Each time a scoop of CSS Georgia artifacts landed on the deck of a barge in the Savannah River, Jim Jobling made a decision – conserve or put them back in the river. • Read more

2. CONSERVATION SCORECARD: I asked three Civil War shipwreck conservators (CSS Georgia, H.L. Hunley and USS Monitor) and a historian at a symposium in Columbus, Ga., for a scorecard on where the work stands and the biggest questions they hope additional research will reveal.  • Read more

Courtesy of Michael Gregory

1. CAMP DOUGLAS ARTIFACTS: About 4,000 Confederates died at the Chicago prison. An archaeologist and a foundation are conducting further research on a corner of the site (above) in the Bronzeville neighborhood to determine the location of key structures and learn more about prisoner life. "It has been one of the most interesting collections I have ever worked on," says archaeologist Michael Gregory. • Read more 

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