Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017's top 10 Picket posts: Hunley, USS Monitor and a burial a century after death

It’s clear that Picket readers gobble up anything about the H.L. Hunley and USS Monitor. Five of the blog’s 10 most popular items written in 2017, per Google analytics, were about the famous Civil War vessels. They were followed by other archaeological news and a feature on a Federal soldier who was finally buried more than a century after his death. We wish you all the best in 2018 and thank you for your abiding interest!

Section of CSS Georgia casemate (USACE)

10. ROUND TWO OF IRONCLAD RECOVERY: While divers and cranes in 2015 brought up all kinds of cool stuff – including artillery pieces -- from the CSS Georgia site in Savannah, Ga., archaeologists needed to return this year to pluck two giant pieces of protective armor from the river bottom. Julie Morgan of the US Army Corps of Engineers gave a preview. • Read more

Don Scarbrough/Georgia State Parks

9. ACTION! FILMING RESUMES AT OLD MILL: The New Manchester Manufacturing Co. produced valuable textiles for the Confederacy before Yankee troops burned it during the Atlanta Campaign in 1864. The ruins, the focal point of Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County, Ga., were stabilized this past summer. Tours, weddings and movie and TV filming have resumed in the interior of the brick remains. • Read more

(U.S. Navy)

8. DIFFERENCES ON HUNLEY LOSS RUN DEEP: Grad student Rachel Lance said she’d solved the mystery about why the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel failed to return to its mission. But the US Navy and those working on the Confederate boat say it’s too soon to come up with a conclusion. • Read more

7. THEY DIG THEIR WORK: Archaeology students at Georgia Southern University have a compelling laboratory in which to work – the remains of Camp Lawton, which held 10,000 Federal prisoners in late 1864. We spoke with project director Ryan McNutt about priorities for this crop of students. • Read more

McAllister vest (Georgia State Parks)
6. PUTTING A FACE TO HISTORY: Joseph L. McAllister grew up on a large piece of coastal Georgia land that became a Civil War fort named for his father. The Rebel officer served at the fort before being sent to Virginia, where he died in a large cavalry battle. His personal effects, including a vest, sword and spurs, are now on display at a state park near Savannah. • Read more

5. USS MONITOR TURRET: Once or twice a year, conservators drain the Union ironclad’s signature artifact so that they can get inside to do further cleaning and analysis. The plan is to eventually turn the turret right side up. This post was a preview of the work. • Read more

Stucker ashes (Bob Patrick)
4. HE RESTS IN PEACE -- FINALLY: Union veteran Zachariah M. Stucker died in 1914, but no one ever claimed his cremains. Two groups worked together to finally bring closure – and a resting place near Seattle – for the member of the 48th Illinois Infantry. • Read more

3. WHAT DOOMED THE HUNLEY: Archaeologists and historians have long pondered what caused the submarine to disappear in Charleston Harbor; it could have resulted from a combination of factors. A report issued earlier this year addressed six leading theories. • Read more

Sections of conserved coat. (Image courtesy of Mariners' Museum)

2. TRICKY PUZZLE SOLVED: Reassembling a customized sailor’s coat found in pieces in the turret of the USS Monitor proved to be a real challenge. We looked at how the exhaustive conservation project turned out. • Read more

1. SURVEYING GETTSYBURG BATTLEFIELD: This post previewing archaeological work at Little Round Top and the George Spangler farm was by far the most popular item of 2017. It went viral, and I am sheepishly at a loss to fully understand why. But we’ll take it. • Read more

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