The Blockade Runner Pevensey


   A wreck located very near the Iron Steamer Pier in Pine Knoll Shores, NC, is said to be the Confederate blockade runner S.S. Pevensey. In June 2000, elements of the North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources requested an archaeological survey of this site in order to determine the condition of the cultural material there. SIDCO was asked to conduct the survey and diving began in June of 2001. The photo above may possibly be a period picture of the actual blockade runner. UPDATE (ALSO SEE APPENDIX A BELOW)


As a result of some super archival research by SIDCO Conservator Bobby Willis, we have discovered that the picture above is of the Union gunboat Mendota, and NOT that of the Pevensey. The full explanation is seen in Appendix A, at the bottom of the page where it is  downloadable as an Adobe PDF file. This just shows how serious we at SIDCO are about our documentation. Good Work, Bobby! 


Drawing by SIDCO Artist/ Conservator Bobby Willis

Destruction of the Blockade Runner Pevensey
Report of acting Lieutenant Harris, U.S. Navy

From the U.S.S. New Berne

Hampton Roads, Virginia, June 16, 1864

   Sir I have the honor to report the stranding, on the 9th instant, of the blockade runner Pevensey (named Penversey in the extracts April 16, 1864), under the following circumstances:

   3:30 a.m., steering N.E. by N., Beaufort 45 miles distant, made a steamer bearing N.E. by E., 4 miles distant, running slow and heading E.N.E.; she being to the eastward did not immediately discover this vessel. Hauled up E.N.E., when gaining on her within 2 1/2 miles, she made all speed, steering E. Opened fire and stood E. by N. The second shot carried away the forward david of her quarter boat. She immediately changed her course, steered N., and struck the beach 9 miles west of Beaufort at 8.05 a.m. Her crew took to the boats at once, this vessel at the time being 1 1/2 miles distant. Ran into 3 1/2 fathoms, and when within 100 yards of the strand she blew up.

   Sent in three boats, boarded her, and found her engines and boilers completely blown out. Plugged up the pipes; anchored in 3 fathoms, and made arrangements to pull her off. 9 a.m., tug Violet came down from Beaufort and anchored on the quarter. a.m., Commander B.M. Dove arrived in the Cherokee, came on board and said he would take charge of the wreck, and the New Berne would proceed to Beaufort, it being then high water, to save the tide in. Recalled boats and arrived at Beaufort at 11 a.m., anchoring outside to late for the tide.

   One prisoner was found on board the vessel, unharmed from the explosion, who proved himself to be an escaped prisoner from Johnson's Island, of Morgan's guerrillas. One body was found on the upon the beach, and 35 prisoners were captured on shore by the cavalry, three of whom are supposed to be confederate officers, one of the adjutant-general to Magruder. She was loaded on Confederate account, cargo consisting of arms, blankets, shoes, cloth, clothing, lead, bacon, and numerous packages marked to individuals. She had been chased on the 7th instantby the quaker city, and thrown overboard, by log book, 30 tons of lead and 20 tons of bacon; was 543 tons, of English register; no manifest of cargo was found. Gunner S.D. Hines has discovered seven Whitworth tompions tied together, bright, and in good condition, which suggest the possiblilty of that number of guns being under the musket boxes.

Fort Macon

   The prisoners captured ashore where held in Fort Macon, and the one secured on board was transferred by order of Commander Dove. I understood that after the army authorities had satisfied themselves with regard to the identity of the prisoners they were to be transferred to this [place], per Keystone State.

   I have learned since leaving Beaufort that the reputed mate is the real Captain; that he is a Captain Long, the outdoor agent of Major Walker {the Confederate agent at Bermuda}, a citizen of New York, and having formerly commanded a ship from there. The reputed Captain {an Englishman} was merely the paper or clearing captain. Of the facts I have informed Captain Gansevoort.

   It will not now be possible to get the vessel off, but a large amount of the cargo can be saved, if properly quarded.

   Had the after 30-pound Parrott, for which requisition was approved by you April 22, been furnished, his chances of reaching the shore would have been reduced. He evidently was ignorant of his position, as the first question asked was, "How far is it to Fort Caswell!"

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T.A. Harris,

Acting Volunteer Lieutentant, Commanding.

Acting Rear-Admiral S.P. Lee Commanding North Altlantic Blockading Squadron.

Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U.S. Navy


2001 Dive Season

Picture taken from the near-by pier as our divers begin initial site assessment and mapping. The site is full of debris from the beach and pier, including sunglasses, beer bottles and fishing gear.

Preliminary site map of the Pevensey wreck. Though many of the smaller details are omitted, the map gives a good representation of the historic importance of this site.

2002 Dive Season

The 2002 Dive Season begins with a bit of a whimper, on June 1st, as low visibility, high seas, and heavy wave action prevent any effective diving. We will continue to get back on the site ASAP!

Many Thanks to the Whaler Inn, for allowing us to park and stage from their property.




Diving ceased on the site in September 2002, with the compilation of the preliminary assessment requested by state officials. Read the NCUAB report here in MS Word format.

Due to scarcity of funding and a tremendously heavy workload, SIDCO operations have moved on to other projects. Sadly, the money needed to properly study this site will most probably NEVER be available.

Download SIDCO's End-Of-Project report here in Adobe PDF format (980kb).

Appendix "A" to the EOP report downloadable here in Adobe PDF format.