So far, the researchers have found remains of a “very stout, very robust” ship, with timbers measuring in feet and inches, suggesting it was built in the United States, Canada or Britain, he said.
In the hull, the archaeologists have found iron bolts and fasteners, wooden fasteners called treenails and a few bronze spikes used on the ship’s external copper sheeting, which weren’t popular until the 1830s. Its estimated size matches records for the Caroline Eddy.
“It’s built solid enough to be a lumber vessel, has the right fastenings to be a ship from the 1800s and the right timbers for a ship of the 1800s,” Mr. Meide said. “The Caroline Eddy is our prime suspect.”
Records show that the Caroline Eddy was built in 1862 as a supply ship for the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and was later sold to a merchant, Mr. Meide said.
It set sail for either New York or Philadelphia on Aug. 27, 1880, with a crew of Capt. George W. Warren and seven sailors, but ran into a hurricane that filled it with water and ripped off its mast, steering wheel and deck cargo, The New York Times reported.
“The captain was knocked down at the wheel and stunned, and when he came to himself he saw none of the crew about him,” The Times reported. The captain, it continued, “was about to plunge overboard and drown himself just as one of the sailors called out to him from the rigging, where all the others had taken refuge.”
“It was a sea like a mountain,” Captain Warren later told The Memphis Daily Appeal. “It was a pretty big-sized sea, a bigger one than I care to see again.”