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Southside in Savannah in Chatham County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Capture of the USS "Water Witch"

 
 
Capture of the USS "Water Witch" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, March 2008
1. Capture of the USS "Water Witch" Marker
Inscription.  In May, 1864, the USS "Water Witch" (80 officers and men and 4 guns), Lt. Comdr. Austin Pendergrast, USN, was on patrol duty in Ossabaw Sound. On the 31st, Flag Officer Wm. W. Hunter, CSN, assigned Lt. Thos. P. Pelot, CSN, to command a boat expedition designed to surprise and capture the vessel. This expedition -- 15 officers and 117 men, in 7 boats -- arrived at Beaulieu Battery via Skidaway Narrows late on June 1st, only to find that "Water Witch" was cruising in St. Catherine's Sound. She retuned to Ossabaw Sound next day and anchored for the night in the mouth of the Great Ogeechee River, about 1 1/2 miles SSE of Raccoon Key.

About 2 A.M. the 3rd -- a dark and stormy night -- the boat party approached "Water Witch" in two columns, pulling cautiously with muffled oars. When hailed, Lt. Pelot gave the order to board. The boats closed in, and the boarding parties cut through the nettings and swarmed over the rails. After a desperate fight with cutlass and pistol, in which Lt. Pelot -- the first aboard -- was killed, his men cleared the deck and the ship was theirs.

Lt. Jos. Price, CSN, assumed command. To prevent her recapture,
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he moved the ship through Hell Gate and up Vernon River to the protection of Beaulieu Battery, whose guns turned back such an attempt on the 5th. At Beaulieu, Lt. W. W. Carners, CSN, reported on board, assumed command, and moved "Water Witch" up-river to White Bluff to refit her and to receive her new crew.
 
Erected 1957 by Georgia Historical Commission. (Marker Number 025-51.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Georgia Historical Society series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1864.
 
Location. 31° 58′ N, 81° 7.476′ W. Marker is in Savannah, Georgia, in Chatham County. It is in Southside. Marker is on Dancy Avenue, 0.1 miles east of Rockwell Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Located in the Vernonburg area of Savannah. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Savannah GA 31419, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Vernonburg (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nicholsonboro (approx. 0.9 miles away); White Bluff Meeting House (approx. 1.4 miles away); Pin Point Community (approx. 1.6 miles away); Brick Pillar (approx. 1.7 miles away); Bethesda
Capture of the USS "Water Witch" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, March 2003
2. Capture of the USS "Water Witch" Marker
(approx. 1.9 miles away); Site of Colonial Shipyard (approx. 1.9 miles away); Haven Home Industrial Training School (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Savannah.
 
Also see . . .
1. Water Witch. The third USS Water Witch was a wooden-hulled, sidewheel gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. (Submitted on March 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. The Wreck of the Water Witch Found. After the capture, the Water Witch remained in Ossabaw Sound. When Sherman's army captured Savannah, the ship was burned to prevent re-capture. In October 2007, divers found what they think are the remains of the ship. (Submitted on March 3, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Rural Area of Capture site, now private property image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, March 2008
3. Rural Area of Capture site, now private property
CSS Water Witch image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Wikipedia
4. CSS Water Witch
"Water Witch" Crewman in Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, July 2, 2009
5. "Water Witch" Crewman in Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah
William Crosby
USS Water Witch
Confederate
States Navy
June 3 1864
The USS Water Witch (Replica) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By David Seibert, August 25, 2009
6. The USS Water Witch (Replica)
A full-scale "ship representation" of the USS Water Witch is on Victory Drive in Columbus, Georgia, part of Port Columbus. Port Columbus is home to the National Civil War Naval Museum, and includes the remains of the CSS Jackson and the CSS Chattahoochee among many other interesting exhibits.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2023. It was originally submitted on March 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 3,482 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on March 31, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   2, 3, 4. submitted on March 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   5. submitted on July 4, 2009, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   6. submitted on August 26, 2009, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 25, 2024