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  1. #1
    rickgainey

    General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    I need a little help providing providenc for a relic from some years ago. The General Sherman lies in 52' of water 7 nm SE of Little River Inlet having sunk there after the Civil War in 1874. This vessel was a steam driven side wheeler. The locals who fish and dive this wreck call her the Robert E. Lee.
    In researching the providence the only USN ship named the General Sherman I can locate was sunk in the Taedong River near the capital of what is now North Korea (Pyongyang)in late 1865. This ship was formerly the Princess Royal, a captured blockade runner war prize utilized by the Confederates to run goods into the ports of Wilmington, Charleston and possibly Savannah.
    The Robert E. Lee was a blockade runner for the Confederates that plyed the same routes until captured by the USN and renamed the Fort Donelson in 1864. She was decommisioned in 1865 and sold back into private hands as the Isabella. In 1866 the Chilean Navy bought the ship and changed the name to Concepcion. The Chilean Navy sold the ship in 1868 and no record of her was listed after this date.
    So my question is "Does anybody know the actual idenity of the wreck discribed above that sits on the bottom off Myrtle Beach and has been a popular dive site for many years?

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  3. #2
    us
    discovering & preserving our past for future generations

    Dec 2004
    Aquapulse, DetectorPro Headhunter, Fisher F75
    2,238
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    Shipwrecks

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    The wreck is often incorrectly referred to as the General Sherman, when it was actually registered as the Sherman, by her new owners after the war.

    She was originally called the Princess Royal, a British blockade runner, which was captured off Charleston and converted to a federal gunboat. She was lost on January 10, 1874, off Cherry Grove, SC, exactly where you have her listed Rick.

    Why she is referred to as the Robert E Lee by the locals, I do not know.

    All of the information I provided comes from the book, Shipwrecks, Pirates & Privateers by E Lee Spence.

    Splash, Tom

  4. #3

    Oct 2006
    Coastal, NC
    Garrett Infinium LS, Garret Seahunter MK II, Geometrics 882, Marine Sonic SS
    1,326
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    These images are of the Sherman you refer to:
    http://forum.treasurenet.com/index.p...c,64662.0.html
    www.coastalmarinesalvage.com

  5. #4
    us
    ScubaGecko

    Jun 2004
    Beaufort, SC
    Garrett Sea Hunter Mk II
    1,903
    9 times

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    I just dove the wreck you are speaking about that is 7nm SE of Little River known as the "Sherman" about 3 weeks ago. Tom noted Lee Spence's account of the wreck, but Gary Gentile also has a first hand account in his book Shipwrecks of South Carolina and Georgia.

    I will try to post some pictures and video of the dive later. If you can get a hold of Gary Gentile's book it makes for great reading. It sounds like you are in the Myrtle Beach area. I purchased the book myself while I was there from a dive shop in N. Myrtle Beach on HWY 17. I cant remember the name but I know they had just moved from another location.

    The wreck was pretty interesting. The vis was only about 10', but I was still able to see the wreck fairly well. The Sherman was a single screw not sidewheeler. The rudder is turned hard over and actually bent to one side. The prop and shaft leading to the engine is very much intact. I have some great video of it. What was pretty neat was the pig-iron ballast that is not mentioned in any of the books. They almost looked like stacked silver bars. I had to pull one off the stack to make sure. Each one weighed about 50 lbs.

    I will try to post some more later tonight. I think NC Brad has some side scan images we took of it as well. (I see he posted before I could)

    By the way, welcome to the forum.

    Robert in SC

  6. #5
    rickgainey

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    Thanks guys,

    By putting my "Google" noggin to work I now have the complete history of this remarkable ship.... You would not believe this but the North Korean govt. holds this ship in great contempt as the prime example today of the U.S.'s intent to conquor Korea with Imperalistic aims as far back as 1866 when she was originally sunk.... in fact, a national park has been established at the site of the first sinking of this vessel in North Korea and none other than the U. S. S. Pueblo is on public display there to remind the NK's that we are still their biggest enemy! And go figure this....the former President of the NK's, Kim Il Sung (whose son, Kim Jong Sung now threatens the free world) proudly associated his great grandfather with the sinking of this shipand the massacre of it's passengers and crew. History is paradoxical! Thanks for confirming the information. If you want to know more, e-mail me at rickgainey@excite.com and I'll discuss what else I found out....

  7. #6
    us
    ScubaGecko

    Jun 2004
    Beaufort, SC
    Garrett Sea Hunter Mk II
    1,903
    9 times

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    Rick,

    You are correct about the "General Sherman" and the information you have found on the net, but the wreck that lies of the Little River Inlet is not the "General Sherman", just the "Sherman". The Sherman was never given this designation in any of her documentation.

    Robert

  8. #7
    us
    Apr 2004
    Tesoro Sand Shark, Homebuilt pulse loop
    2,178
    41 times
    Shipwrecks

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    Quote Originally Posted by rickgainey
    Thanks for the information, guys.... I have confirmed that the Sherman is in fact the former U. S. S. General Sherman. I'm continuing my historical research into this ship. It would appear that "black ops" was invented/utilized by the U. S. Govt. long before the OSS/CIA connection. This ship is a cornerstone in our history regarding the current standoff between North Korea and the U. S.... perhaps I'll write a book.
    Rick, the "Sherman" of Little River inlet was built in 1861 for the Glasgow & Liverpool Steam Packet Company. Her name was the Princess Royal as Tom mentioned. She ran the blockade until 1863. In a twist of irony, the Union bought her and commissioned her as the USS Pincess Royal - a blockader, not a runner. She captured quite a few runners in the Gulf of Mexico. In August of 1865, she was sold at a public auction and then later sold again to the William F. Weld Company in 1868. It was then that she was renamed as "Sherman." You may find records that indciate her as the "General Sherman," but they are in error. Don't be fooled by the historians on this one. It's a simple error. She ran passengers and freight back and forth between New York and New Orleans. She sank in January of 1874 where she currently lies.

    Are you saying that after her auction in August of 1865, she went to North Korea? (It wasn't North Korea then, just Korea) The General Sherman is listed as a 187-ton side-wheel schooner. The Sherman is listed as a 973 ton screw steamer. Are you sure you've got the same boats here?

  9. #8
    rickgainey

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    According to records from the Department of the Navy/Washington Navy Yard the Princes Royal was a 774 gross ton screw steam gunboat that was captured by the USS Unadilla and the USS Housatonic off Charleston on 29 January 1863. She was commissioned in May of that year by the US Navy as the USS Princess Royal and did indeed serve in the blocade in the Gulf. Navy records state that she was sold in August of 1865 as the SS General Sherman..... there is reference to a name change in that year just prior to the sale. Sold to a Samuel Cook, the picture become murky. Other sources state that she was re-armed and sailed to China (unusual for a civilian ship?) where she supposedly participated in several "trade" ventures. There are references to her participating in the effort to trade with the Koreans and the demise of her crew, the refitting of her by the Koreans, the forced return of ownership (by the Chinese) to Cook, the transfer to Weld Company for Eastern Us commerce and her eventual sinking due to a leak during bad weather near Wilmington, N. C (in the vicinity of Little River Inlet). There are a lot of unanswered questions about what was really going on with her between 1865 and 1874. The sidewheeler that bore the General Sherman name was supposedly a "tinclad" in the area of Memphis during the war. Any other sources of historical information you might have to decipher this riddle would be apprecisted but I have to tell you, I have more information to indicate that the ship at the bottom off Little River Inlet is what I think it is than not....

  10. #9

    Oct 2006
    Coastal, NC
    Garrett Infinium LS, Garret Seahunter MK II, Geometrics 882, Marine Sonic SS
    1,326
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    Rick, from your research do you have any other specifics on the ship as far as construction details, length, etc that might be useful in determining whats what?

    I did find some of the Google references myself; and I have a difficult time lending any credibility to a researcher that spells Korea as Corea.
    www.coastalmarinesalvage.com

  11. #10
    us
    Oct 2006
    Herndon Virginia
    Minelab EX II & Musketeer, White's Classic
    4,057
    737 times

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.

    I did find some of the Google references myself; and I have a difficult time lending any credibility to a researcher that spells Korea as Corea.
    "Korea" was actually spelled "COREA" before it was conquered by Imperial Japan in the early 20th century. There is no "C" in Japanese. That's not the worst of what Japan did to "Corea".

    Many Koreans and some European maps still spell it with a "C".

    DCMatt
    While I have aimed in my postings to be irenic and conciliatory, rather than polemic, I have yet endeavored to set forth the
    truth, let it favor or impugn whom it might. Any notice of misrepresentations or mistakes occurring in these prose will be most thankfully received
    by the author.

  12. #11

    Oct 2004
    289

    Re: General Sherman Wreck off Little River Inlet, S.C.


    Korea was also called "Chosen".

    I did a few days there in 1953. Actually 360 days in Inchon.

    Dinkydick

 

 

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