Amateur Drone Pilot Surprised to Film Civil War Ship

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When Brent Garlington decided to launch his drone while on a beach vacation, the North Carolina man never dreamed he would find a piece of Civil War history.

The Fayetteville native captured unique footage while filming via UAV over the Lockwood Folly Inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach last week where he captured footage of a wrecked Civil War steamship.

State officials later identified the vessel as the Bendigo, an ironclad Confederate blockade runner. Although the ship’s location has been known since the 1960s, Garlington told Fox News that he believed “this is the first time it has been seen from this perspective.”

Like the name of its final resting place, the tale of the Bendigo is also wrought with folly. In 1864, the ship mistook the wreckage of another Confederate blockade runner – the Elizabeth – for a Union warship. While trying to pass the other ship, the Bendigo ran aground, leading the captain to set fire to his ship rather than allow it to fall into Union hands.

Garlington’s unique footage caused quite a stir when he posted it on the Friends of Holden Beach Facebook group.

“Most people are amazed; they had no idea that it was there,” Garlington said

Drones have helped researchers uncover all manner of historical and archaeological sites. In 2015, a thermal camera-mounted drone revealed structures from an ancient settlement site of the Ancestral Puebloans in New Mexico over the course of four 11-minute flights

In Jordan, archaeologists used drones to map areas that had been looted in a Bronze Age cemetery. Knowing how and where sites were looted helps researchers better understand looting techniques, allowing them to both stop future plunders and find clues to capture the violators.

In Britain, the Cambridge Archaeological Unit of the University of Cambridge deploys UAS to survey the best excavation sites at Must Farm in Cambridgeshire. The site has been called “British Pompeii” due to well-preserved Bronze Age dwellings.


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