Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

Civil War shipwreck artifacts come to Dunedin Historical Museum

DUNEDIN

It was 1864 and the moon was full when the Maple Leaf steamed down the St. Johns River carrying Union troops and equipment to Jacksonville. Lurking in the murky waters below: a dozen mines or "torpedoes" made from wooden kegs filled with 70 pounds of black powder.

When the transport vessel struck one, the explosion ripped apart the ship and killed four soldiers. The vessel sank and with it thousands of artifacts to be preserved in a muddy tomb for discovery 120 years later.

Now some of those artifacts can be seen at the Dunedin Historical Museum as part of a traveling exhibit called "The Maple Leaf: An American Civil War Shipwreck." The exhibit is on loan from the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.

"What is unique about this shipwreck is that there were over 6,000 artifacts found, giving us a time capsule from the Civil War era," said Vinnie Luisi, executive director of the museum. "It helps us understand what a Union soldier's life was like."

The large amount of civilian items found shows that widespread looting took place around the Union camps, he said.

Among the items in the traveling exhibit are a fountain pen and inkwell, a toothbrush — sans the bristles — a medicine bottle, a dinner plate in an Asian pattern and Union Army uniform buttons. More artifacts will be added in mid September.

The Maple Leaf was built in 1851 and originally used as a Canadian pleasure excursion ship. The shipwreck was partially mined by Keith Holland and the St. Johns Archaeological Expedition Inc. in 1984, but only about 5 percent of the ship's cargo has been salvaged so far. Some seven feet of mud and 20 feet of water entomb the wreckage about 12 miles south of downtown Jacksonville.

A reproduction of the torpedo that sank the Maple Leaf is also on display. Developed by the secret Confederate Torpedo Service, the underwater mines were at the time a new kind of weaponry — one that would revolutionize maritime strategies and ultimately sink or damage 43 federal vessels during the Civil War.

Other related exhibits at the museum focus on Florida and Tampa Bay's role in the war. The displays include original and reproduction Civil War uniforms and artifacts. Children and adults can try on the reproduction clothing and handle artifacts soldiers used for everyday camp life.

"These hands-on activities are part of a traveling exhibit that will go to classrooms upon request," Luisi said.

Overall, the exhibition is a teaching tool for those of any age who want to learn more about the War Between the States and Florida's role.

"Florida may not have had a Battle of Gettysburg," Luisi said, "but it was important for the Confederacy — as a source of food supplies like beef and salt, railroading and transportation along the St. Johns River."

 
Comments
Forecast: Clear skies, pleasant conditions take hold over Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clear skies, pleasant conditions take hold over Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Now that a cold front — which spawned a weak tornado in Ruskin — has departed, it leaves behind pleasant conditions across Tampa Bay.Relatively cool temperatures, clearing skies and low humidity will take hold until Friday, according...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Competency hearing today for Seminole Heights slaying suspect

Competency hearing today for Seminole Heights slaying suspect

TAMPA — A judge could determine today whether the man accused in four Seminole Heights slayings is competent to stand trial.Attorneys for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III filed a formal request on Monday to ask that Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe appoint a psy...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Competency hearing for Seminole Heights slaying suspect; Is TIA a dining destination?; Clearwater looks to relocate City Hall; ‘Most Interesting Man’ in Tampa

The Daystarter: Competency hearing for Seminole Heights slaying suspect; Is TIA a dining destination?; Clearwater looks to relocate City Hall; ‘Most Interesting Man’ in Tampa

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Today’s high temperature tops out about 80 degrees, according to 10Weather WTSP. Our next rain chance is Friday when a weak front moves through. And next week brings the heat. Expect ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
ESPN’s Rece Davis on hosting College GameDay from the NFL draft

ESPN’s Rece Davis on hosting College GameDay from the NFL draft

When ESPN's Rece Davis heard about the idea for boosting the college football insight into the NFL draft, he didn't need any convincing."My immediate reaction was, this is a no-brainer," Davis said.Davis will spearhead the network's overdue look at t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

When Tampa International Airport debuted in 1971, each terminal had a newsstand and a snack bar, called something kicky like Snack Bar.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Carlton: The zoo is changing, but don’t worry. The meerkats are on it.

Carlton: The zoo is changing, but don’t worry. The meerkats are on it.

The other day I stopped to check on some progress. And got to see a meerkat, too. Progress in Tampa these days usually refers to the development of Vinikville — excuse me, Water Street Tampa — along the south edge of downtown. Or what w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

CLEARWATER — Elected officials have talked about relocating City Hall from the downtown bluff for a good 30 years. Now there’s a jolt of urgency to actually do it.Voters backed a referendum in November that essentially greenlighted the $55 million re...
Updated: 2 hours ago
He spent 17 years in prison. Now he’s a free man.

He spent 17 years in prison. Now he’s a free man.

TAMPA — Dwight DuBose walked out of the Orient Road Jail on Tuesday night after trading an orange jumpsuit for a brand new polo shirt and slacks.It was about 9 p.m. He flashed a broad smile and hug staff members of the Innocence Project of Florida wh...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pennsylvania women guilty of golfing while black; 13 trucks line up in Detroit to stop suicide; Puerto Rican anger grows over lack of basic services; more in U.S. news

Pennsylvania women guilty of golfing while black; 13 trucks line up in Detroit to stop suicide; Puerto Rican anger grows over lack of basic services; more in U.S. news

PennsyvlaniaGuilty of golfing while blackBlack people have long complained about getting pulled over by police for "driving while black," or being eyed suspiciously by security guards for "shopping while black." Now, five women say they got into trou...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Toronto attacker likely hated women; 3 murdered film students had stumbled into Mexican gang battle; more in world news

Toronto attacker likely hated women; 3 murdered film students had stumbled into Mexican gang battle; more in world news

CanadaToronto attacker hated womenThe suspect in the deadly van attack in Toronto posted a chilling Facebook message just before plowing into a crowded sidewalk, authorities said Tuesday. The post indicated the computer studies graduate and ex-milita...
Updated: 10 hours ago