By Capt. Dan Berg
Photo: Montana's paddle wheel. Photo by Peter Phillips. Diver on the
Montana shipwreck. Photo by Alan Marquardt.
This English paddle wheel steamer and civil war blockade runner was
236 feet long, had a 25 foot beam and displaced 750 tons. She was
powered by 260 nhp twin oscillating cylinder engines. This vessel
used at least three other names during her short life in an effort
to elude the suspicions of Yankee spies; they were Nola, Gloria,
and Paramount. On December 30, 1863, enroute from London
to Wilmington, North Carolina, while carrying a cargo for the
Confederacy and after completing the first leg of her dangerous
maiden voyage across the stormy Atlantic, the Montana,
sailing under the name Nola, attempted to enter Bermuda to
take on coal. Under the command of Captain Pittman, she was wrecked
near Western Blue Cut on Bermuda's reefs. A steam boat from St.
George's went to her assistance and was able to save much of her
cargo and crew, but could not pull her free from the reef due to a
ten foot hole in her side.
Underwater sketch of the Montana. Courtesy Professor Gordon Watts,
East Carolina University.
Today, the scattered remains of the Montana or Nola
lie in 30 feet of water eight miles northwest of Dockyard. Her bow
is relatively intact, while her engine stands upright with her two
paddle wheels easily recognizable. Her stern, section is slightly
separated from the main wreckage. In the stern divers will find her
elliptical fantail which is now heavily overgrown with coral. This
wreck lies within swimming distance from the
wreck, which crashed into the same reef in 1942.
The information listed
above was taken with permission from the Book:
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS, ISBN # 0-9616167-4-1
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Now also Available as
an instant download printable PDF eBook
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS ebook
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks
4.5 MB instant download, printable PDF file
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page
From the first quarter of the 16th century,
Bermuda became a landmark for
Spanish ships sailing back to Spain from the New World. The desire to sight
Bermuda to confirm their position often ended their voyage as they wrecked
on Bermuda's outer reefs. To this day Bermuda's treacherous reefs have taken
their toll on shipping. The reefs have claimed vessels ranging from ocean
lines to small fishing boats. Bermuda Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive,
accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and
stories ever written about the legendary wrecks around Bermuda. Bermuda
Shipwrecks includes over 100 illustrations comprised of 61 sensational color
photos, 17 rare b&w historical images, 19 stamps, 4 sketches plus one
map. Bermuda Shipwrecks contains a wealth of enlightening information that
gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition
of over 55 of Bermuda's most popular Shipwrecks.
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