Outer Banks Free Press
 
USS Monitor and Other Ships in the Graveyard of the Atlantic

Monitor and Merrimac
Monitor and Merrimac
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 Confederate Torpedo Boat Sinks the "Housatonic" off Charleston Virginia
Confederate Torpedo Boat Sinks the "Housatonic" off Charleston Virginia Giclee Print
Davidson, J.o.
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 The Sinking of Admiral Villeneuve's Flagship
The Sinking of Admiral Villeneuve's Flagship Giclee Print
Weber, Theodor
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Lifeboats in the Freezing Choppy Waters Frantically Row Away from the Doomed Wreck of the Titanic
Lifeboats in the Freezing Choppy Waters Frantically Row Away from the Doomed Wreck of the Titanic Giclee Print
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The Remains of a German U-Boat
The Remains of a German U-Boat Photographic Print
Skerry, Brian J.
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Last moments of the USS Monitor
off Cape Hatteras in 1863 source

Shipwreck on Tubbataha Reef
Shipwreck on Tubbataha Reef Photographic Print
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 Sunrise at the Outer Banks
Sunrise at the Outer Banks Photographic Print
LUTKE, TAMMY
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Sandy Beach II
Sandy Beach II Art Print
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Sea Shells
Sea Shells Photographic Print
Why, Terry
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 Reconstructed Hut, Roanoke Island, North Carolina
Reconstructed Hut, Roanoke Island, North Carolina Art Print
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The Mississippi Steamships Tries to Ram the Confederate Ram Manassas
The Mississippi Steamships Tries to Ram the Confederate Ram Manassas Giclee Print
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 Kraken Attacks a Sailing Vessel
Kraken Attacks a Sailing Vessel Giclee Print
De Montfort,...
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Battle Of Trafalgar
Battle Of Trafalgar Limited Edition
Dews, Steven
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The Second Trumpet and the Shipwreck, Detail of the Sinking Ships
The Second Trumpet and the Shipwreck, Detail of the Sinking Ships Giclee Print
Bataille, Nicolas
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From the beginning of European exploration in this area, down through the age of the Great Clipper ships, until the present day; the sea just off the North Carolina Outer Banks has been legendary for its fierceness. The area’s first recorded shipwreck was the Tyger, wrecked at Ocracoke Inlet in the year 1585. Interestingly, that ship was one of the first ships to explore the area and was part of Roanoke Island founder John White’s historic flotilla.
In the 429 years since that first shipwreck, thousands of ships have perished along this dangerous coastline, where currents, winds and storms can virtually commandeer a ship to nature’s wrath. The area has earned the name "The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” from the experiences of mariners all around the around the world. Even modern technology is of little help once a ship is caught in the dreaded graveyard. The currents and shoals that hide in this area can beat a ship to pieces in minutes. This area’s three most famous capes, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear jute out into the ocean and disappear into submerged shoals, ready to grab a passing ship in their death grip. continued
Why did captains continue to sail this dangerous area? They were in a hurry. The Gulf Stream is a warm ocean current moving from the Caribbean all the way to Europe. This offers a speedy voyage for slow moving sailing ships. However, this water freeway also skirts the capes along the Carolina coast. As the current reaches Cape Hatteras, it glides alongside the cold Labrador Current, which is moving south along the east coast from Greenland. The resulting mix of sea brews creates Diamond Shoals, an underwater island of shifting sands that extends 20 miles out to sea. Now, add in the numerous hurricanes and nor'easters that thrash the area and the reason for the dangers become readily apparent.
First Lighthouse
The first Lighthouse built to protect ships in the area came after efforts by Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury. He advocated the need for a Lighthouse along the Outer Banks because of a childhood experience sailing off Cape Hatteras in a storm. In fact, Hamilton coined the term "The Graveyard of the Atlantic." In 1794, the US congress authorized the construction of a permanent lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. Eventually, five major Lighthouses were built along the Outer Banks. All because of the treachery of the Outer Banks surf.
USS Monitor's Date with the Cape
One of the most famous shipwrecks lying off the Carolina coast is the famous Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. The 987-ton iron gunboat became famous as a participant in the first battle between two iron warships, when she fought the Confederate Ironclad Virginia at Hampton Roads in March 1862.

Final moments of the Monitor source
In December, 1862, the Monitor was ordered to Beaufort, N.C to join the Union blockading forces there. Leaving Hampton Roads, Virginia on the 29 of December, the ship ran into a gale on the evening of December 30. As the ship neared Cape Hatteras, water began flooding into the ship faster than the pumps could remove it. Shortly before midnight, rising water drowned the engine boiler fires. Without power, the boat signaled the nearby USS Rhode Island for help. Forty Six crewmen were rescued in the dangerous storm conditions; however, sixteen were swept away by the currents. At about 1:30 in the morning December 31, 1862, the historic Monitor slipped under the waves, just 16 miles off Cape Hatteras.
Shipwrecks viewable from the shore
If you have an interest in seeing the remains of some of the shipwrecks along the northern Outer Banks, the following two are still visible within a short drive of each other.
The Laura A. Barnes, above lies off Highway 12 at Coquina Beach in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Laura A. Barnes was built in Camden, Maine in the year 1918. The 120 feet long ship was under sail from New York to South Carolina when a nor'easter pushed it onto the Outer Banks in 1921. The ship ran aground just north of where it presently rests at Coquina Beach. All of the crew survived. In 1973, the National Park Service moved the shipwreck to its present location accross the road from the Pea Island Lighthouse. Visitors must view the remains of the ship behind a roped-off area that includes information about the Laura A. Barnes and the history of lifesaving on the Outer Banks.
The Oriental above was a Federal Transport ship. The boat sank on May 16, 1862. The ship was 210 feet long. It is also known as the Stovepipe Hat Wreck. The ship lies about 200 yards off the beach at Pea Island National Wildlife Headquarters, three miles south of the Oregon Inlet on Rt. 12. That is the boiler stack sticking out of the water.

The above unknown shipwreck lies in Kill Devil Hills about two blocks south of First St. Below is a close up of the same ship.

Outer Banks Free Press
This marker for the wooden hulled Steamer Metropolis
is located 18 miles north of Kitty Hawk on Route 12.
For more information about the Graveyard of the Atlantic, check out the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
Also see the Final Log of the Sean Seamour II
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