Four names and two storms – a tale of a ship and her treasure.


Lost gold of the Republic : the remarkable quest for the greatest shipwreck treasure of the Civil War era    Las Vegas, NV : Shipwreck Heritage Press ; [S.l.] : Distributed to the book trade by Continental Sales, 2005   Priit J. Vesilind Shipwrecks North Atlantic Ocean, Republic (Steamship) Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. ix, 276 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm.  Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

She was launched as the ss Tennessee in 1853. In 1862 her owners converted her to the blockade runner CSS Tennessee. In 1864 the union captured her and she became USS Mobile. After the war she was sold to New York shipping interests and became the ss Republic.

“Lost Gold” tells the story of the SS Republic, a side-wheel steamship that sank in a hurricane shortly after the end of the Civil War. Before sinking in 1865, the Republic had an amazing history, including serving as a battleship for the Union Navy and as a blockade runner for the Confederacy. The ship was steaming from New York to New Orleans loaded with precious cargo and a fortune in gold and silver coins for the war-stricken city. The Republic, if it could be found, would offer not only a fortune in treasure, but also an incredible historical snapshot of life in the late 1800s.

The book weaves the historical account of the Republic with the story of Odyssey Marine Exploration’s quest to find the shipwreck. Odyssey’s founders spent more than a decade hunting for the Republic and finally the Company located the vessel 100 miles off the coast of Georgia in 2003, nearly 140 years after she sank. Odyssey archaeologically excavated the shipwreck and recovered approximately 14,000 Civil War-era artifacts and $75 million in gold and silver coins, 1,700 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ironically, a month after “Lost Gold” was published, and as the Republic’s artifacts and coins were about to be displayed for the first time in the city of their original destination, New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina bore down on the city.

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