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155’

Wooden Steamer from civil war

This steamer was discovered by Atlantic Divers in 1989 on the dive boat Down Deep.

Captain Bob’s little dog Max kept sitting on my gear and getting under foot. When asked by Bob what we should call the wreck, there was no hesitation on my part. "Max’s Wreck" I exclaimed. This past summer we returned to the wreck and were able to nail down the true name; The Montgomery.

The Montgomery was a 787-ton (burden) wooden screw steamship, built in New York City in 1858. She was chartered by the Navy in May 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, and placed in commission as USS Montgomery. The Navy purchased her in August. During June-November 1861, she served in the Gulf of Mexico, enforcing the blockade of western Florida. Later in the year, Montgomery was shifted to the northern Gulf coast. On 4 December 1861, in Mississippi Sound, she engaged the Confederate steamers Florida and Pamlico. Remaining in the Gulf, during 1862 Montgomery captured or destroyed a half-dozen blockade runners, mainly sailing vessels. Following her return to the Atlantic in 1863, she took part in the search for the Confederate raider Tacony in June. Later assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, in January 1864 she helped to destroy the blockade runners Bendigo and Dare. The next month, Montgomery captured the steamer Pet and in October took the Bat.

She also participated in the two assaults on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, during December 1864 and January 1865, operations that finally eliminated the nearby city of Wilmington as a blockade running port.
For the remainder of the Civil War, Montgomery served along the Carolina coast and participated in operations in North Carolina’s Cape Fear River. Decommissioned in June 1865 and sold in August, Montgomery retained her name when she reentered commercial service in 1866. She was active for nearly eleven more years, until she was sunk due to a collision with schooner Seminole on January 7, 1877 off Cape May, New Jersey.

The sister ship of the Montgomery is also sunk off New Jersey. Originally called the Lang, after a supposed ship Yohanna Lang that nearly sank in that location. This wreck has assumed several other names including the NE Boiler and the Copper Wreck. Discoveries have included portholes, large and small brass spikes, and some bottles. One of the most exciting finds included a inscribed gold pocket watch recovered by diver Gary Astin which dated from the early 1800s.



More info; njscuba.net/sites/chart_nj-4_cape_may.php#Montgomery

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