Savannah Museum Shows Naval History in Miniature Civil War Replicas Depict State's Ships

The Florida Times Union, February 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Savannah Museum Shows Naval History in Miniature Civil War Replicas Depict State's Ships


SAVANNAH -- They are critical pieces of Georgia's Civil War history: an ironclad, a sloop of war, a gunboat and a blockade runner, all ships that defended the state's coast.

More than 130 years later, the vessels have returned -- if a bit smaller -- as part of a miniature fleet at Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum.

The vessels are part of a seven-ship exhibit that will be complete in about a month, said officials at the Savannah museum.

"If we are going to tell the complete story of Savannah's maritime history, we have to include the Civil War in it," said Jeff Fulton, the museum's executive director.

The Confederate naval forces around Savannah were a collection of tugs, gunboats, blockade runners and coastal steamers. Josiah Tattnall, who commanded the Savannah naval station, assembled the vessels after President Lincoln's call for a Union blockade of the Southern port in 1861.

The museum's collection of Civil War miniatures coincides with the publication of Savannah and the Civil War at Sea, a new book that says Georgia's modest navy was the most formidable in the South.

To be added to the exhibit soon are two models depicting the Montauk, a Union monitor. They will be stacked atop each other, with one showing a cutaway of the vessel and one showing the body work of the craft, which was state-of-the-art at the time.

For the exhibit, Mark Wilkens of Massachusetts planned to design a replica of a frigate that carried more than 40 guns, using original drawings as a guide.

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