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Civil War-era steamer discovered near Oak Island

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A Civil War-era shipwreck has been discovered off the North Carolina coast. George Olsen has more.

The state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources reports a large iron-hulled Civil War era steamer was discovered near Oak Island late last month. It’s believed to be one of three blockade runners used to evade Union naval vessels blocking the port of Wilmington during the Civil War. The Agnes E. Fry, Spunkie and Georgianna McCaw are all known to have been lost in the area. Billy Ray Morris, the Director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch, calls the preservation of the wreck “among the best we’ve ever had.” I’m George Olsen.

UPDATE -- State underwater archaeologists think they’ve identified the Civil War-era shipwreck found late last month off Kure Beach. Billy Ray Morris, the director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Office of State Archaeology, says the wreck is 225 feet long, lending credence to the supposition the wreck is that of the blockade runner Agnes E. Fry. Two other runners believed lost in that area are too small to be this shipwreck.   

George Olsen is a 1977 Havelock High School graduate. He received his B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of South Carolina in 1982 where he got his first taste of non-commercial radio working for their student station WUSC. After graduation he worked about five years in commercial radio before coming to work at Public Radio East where he has remained since outside of a nearly 3-year stint as jazz and operations coordinator at WUAL in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the early 1990s. On his return to eastern North Carolina he hosted classical music for Public Radio East before moving into the Morning Edition host position and now can be heard on All Things Considered. He also hosts and produces The Sound, five hours of Americana, Roots Rock and Contemporary Folk weekday evenings on PRE Public Radio East News & Ideas, and is a news and feature producer for Public Radio East.