RALEIGH -- In conjunction with the observation of the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher on Jan. 19, a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker will be dedicated for the Confederate blockade runner, Modern Greece at 12:30 p.m. at the Fort Fisher Visitor Center. The vital importance of Fort Fisher to the Confederate cause was highlighted in the film Lincoln.
In the pre-dawn hours of June 27, 1862, the British owned Modern Greece headed for Fort Fisher and Wilmington, planning to deliver vital military supplies to the Confederate soldiers there. The vessel was spotted by Federal forces, came under attack, was hit and then sunk by the Confederates. After 100 years on the ocean floor, the wreck was uncovered by a violent storm. A team of Navy Ordnance School divers on holiday in the spring of 1962 began recovery of the artifacts. The divers eventually recovered thousands of artifacts including rifles, Bowie knives, leg irons, bayonets, and also found files, chisels, scissors, knives, forks, picks, and much more.
The (then) Department of Archives and History in cooperation with the Navy and other agencies managed the research and recovery efforts. The undertaking led to legislation that the state of North Carolina had sovereign right to all shipwrecks that were unclaimed for more than 10 years. The state further established a professional staff and a laboratory to oversee the preservation and an archaeological assessment of North Carolina's submerged cultural resources. The Underwater Archaeology Branch became one of the country's first underwater archaeology agencies, and remains one of the most respected in the nation.
For additional information call (919) 807-7290. The N.C. Highway Historical Marker program is part of the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.