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Part 4: Denbigh Today

It's only fair to point out that Denbigh was never really "lost."  The iron-hulled steamer, stranded on the edge of Bird Key, was a harbor landmark for many years after the Civil War.  An 1880 Corps of Engineers map, for example, clearly marked the location of the wreck, and sport diver and fishermen have known about it for many years.  But few people recognized the deteriorating remains for what they were -- the physical remnants of one of the Confederacy's most successful blockade runners.

The investigators first became interested in Denbigh's tale when an historian from Charleston visited Galveston, looking for clues to the blockade runner's whereabouts.  Using Civil War-era charts of the entrance to Galveston Bay, they identified a likely search area, but were not able to pinpoint the precise spot.  The break came in early 1997 when one team member, working on a different project, discovered the 1880 Corps of Engineers map.  By measuring off the distance and direction from the Bolivar Lighthouse, the investigators were able to narrow the search area enough to justify a survey of the area by boat.

sitenow1.jpg (17258 bytes) Denbigh lies today in shallow water on the north side of Bolivar Roads.  The wreck is not far from Fort Travis, a post-Civil War fortification that is now a county park.  The wreck is ordinarily underwater, but on rare occasions, when the tide is extremely low, the upper parts of the sidewheels and some machinery are visible above the surface (left).

Denbigh is a protected archaeological site.  The remains of the blockade runner lie in state waters and so come under the stewardship of the Texas Historical Commission (THC).  The THC has issued the Institute of Nautical Archaeology the appropriate permits and authorizations to conduct site surveys and testing.  Sport diving/exploration of this site is discouraged, and disturbance of this archaeological site is a violation of state historic preservation laws.

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A digital model showing parts of the Denbigh wreck exposed above the bottom. Visibility at the site rarely exceeds two feet (0.6m), so photographing the wreck is virtually impossible.


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What's New?

new.gif (977 bytes) John Newland Maffitt and the Galveston Blockade | Chasing a Fox new.gif (977 bytes)
new.gif (977 bytes) 2001 Field Crew | In-Kind Contributions  | How Much Coal? new.gif (977 bytes)
new.gif (977 bytes) Denbigh Wallpaper new.gif (977 bytes)


"An Extremely Fast Boat" | The "Mobile Packet" | A "Bold Rascal" | Denbigh Today
Denbigh's Crew | The Erlanger Loan | Birkenhead-Built: An Unrivaled Legacy
Denbigh Primary Source Documents | Galveston During the Civil War | Denbigh, Clwyd, Wales
The U.S. Coast Survey and the Blockade, 1861 | The Ship's Library: Recommended Reading
Running the Blockade Into Galveston: A Personal Narrative | Denbigh Day-by-Day
Denbigh Portrait | Official Number 28,647 | Valve Chest Animation (300kb) | Investors
Links of Interest | Denbigh F.A.Q. | Denbigh's Engines | Denbigh's Boiler
Feathering Sidewheel


April 27-28 Side Scan Survey | May 7-10 Site Mapping
June 16-17 Sub-Bottom Profiling | Site Mapping, July 9-12, 1998 | Dive Trip, October 18-30, 1998
Underwater Images | 1999 Summer Field Season | Denbigh Site Plan
Jerry Williams Speaking Tour | Denbigh Project Benefit Dinner |
Denbigh Artifacts | 2000 Field Crew | 2000 Field Crew Photo Album |
The Denbigh Wreck Site: A Quicktime VR Panaorama
Connecting Rod Recovery, July 22-24, 2000 | Modeling a Shipwreck
Credits & Thank-Yous

J. Barto Arnold et al. 1998-2000, The Denbigh Project, World Wide Web,
Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, E-mail: (  
Thursday, May 24, 2001 Revision.

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