Man Dies When His Boat Collides with Confederate Wreck

Here’s a tragic story with a bizarre twist:  a Texas fisherman named David Martin drowned in the Navidad River earlier this month when his boat collided with the wreck of a Confederate blockade-runner named the Mary Summers. 

The ship was intentionally sunk late in the Civil War in order to block Union boats which attempted to navigate the river. 

As Federal warships kept the Southern coastline bottled up during most of the war, blockade running steamships, such as the CSS Advance pictured above (which was purchased by Governor Zebulon Vance for the State of North Carolina), played a vital and daring role in supplying the Confederacy.      

This is not the first time a boat has collided with the wreck of the Mary Summers, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, though previous efforts to mark the wreck have failed.  

However, in an interview with the Victoria Advocate, the chairman of the Jackson County Historical Commission, Frank Condron, implied that the wreck site was unmarked owing to fears it would be despoiled by artifact hunters.   

The Mary Summers was built in England in 1833 and is said to have once been used as a slave ship. 

You can read about this strange accident here and here

If you’d like to read more about the blockade-runners of the Confederacy, Greensboro Public Library’s circulating titles include:  High Seas Confederate:  The Life and Times of John Newland Maffitt by Royce Shingleton;  Lifeline of the Confederacy : Blockade Running During the Civil War by Stephen R. Wise; The Blockade-runners:  True Tales of Running the Yankee Blockade of the Confederate Coast by Dave Horner; and Blockade Runners of the Confederacy by Hamilton Cochran.  Additional works can be found in our non-circulating North Carolina Collection at Central Library.

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