Sunday, October 9, 2011

Harvest Moon Marker

From the Georgetown, South Carolina Sun News:
Georgetown has its fair share of history and 57 state Historical Markers to prove it.

This weekend, No. 58 will be unveiled.

As of Saturday, anyone traveling along Front Street in downtown Georgetown will be able to read the story of the Union Navy vessel USS Harvest Moon thanks to the Arthur Manigault Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Battery White Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

In March 1865 the USS Harvest Moon sank when it struck a torpedo floated into the Winyah Bay by Confederate Capt. Thomas Daggett. Daggett built his torpedo in the second floor of a store at 633 Front St. in Georgetown.

The smokestack of the 193-foot Harvest Moon can still be seen at low tide in the bay and there will be a tour boat trip out to the site of the vessel after the unveiling ceremony on Saturday [October 8]

The sinking of the USS Harvest Moon was one of the closing acts of the coastal operations in South Carolina. Although Federals had occupied Georgetown and surrounding batteries in late February 1865, the retreating Confederates left behind mines in the channels of Winyah Bay. A converted side-wheel steamer, the loss of a lightly armed ship like the Harvest Moon normally would be a small matter. But Admiral John Dahlgren was on-board at the time. Thus the Harvest Moon has the distinction being the only US Navy flagship sunk in the war.

The Harvest Moon was not salvaged, and left in shallow waters. In the 1960s divers surveyed the wreck.

The wreck remains in the waters of Winyah Bay today. And now there is a marker. Perhaps someday there will be some archeological work?

View of Winyah Bay from Battery White (Photo by Craig Swain)

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