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Easter Sunday surprise

[ by Charles Cameron — rising from the dead: sacred & secular, natural & military, past & future ]

tablet dq ghost fleet easter

The story of the mostly wooden ships featured in the upper image of this DoubleQuote, is an intriguing one:

On the Maryland side of the Potomac, in the rural community of Nanjemoy, you’ll find a sheltered cove called Mallows Bay. The sandy bluffs and dense stands of ash and pine resemble many other quiet spots along the river. But there’s something in the water: the largest ship graveyard in North America.

How’d it get there? Well, in the final years of World War I, the Allies found themselves short on sea-power: German submarines had taken a heavy toll. With ample timber reserves, Americans hit on a plan to make up the losses by building hundreds of wooden steamships. The U.S. government doled out contracts, and a building frenzy ensued.

But the war ended sooner than expected, leaving officials with the peculiar problem of what to do with its unused (and now unwanted) armada. Riding at anchor in Widewater, Virginia, the hastily assembled fleet posed a hazard to shipping traffic and a nuisance to fishermen, so the decision was made to move most of the ships across the river to the secluded Mallows Bay.

The fleet—and the Mallows Bay property itself—changed hands through a succession of salvage companies that tried everything to get rid of the ships: sinking them, beaching them, burning them, burying them, and taking them apart nail by nail. No one managed to turn much profit or to finish the job—and in the process of trying, they made a junkyard of the once pristine river cove.

But in the decades that followed, writes historian Donald G. Shomette, nature took its course.”The years rolled by and the battlefield contours of Mallows Bay softened, as wind-borne seeds took root in the rich, soil-filled holds of burnt-out ships, as creatures large and small began to return, as the green chain of life was slowly reforged.”


Donald G. Shomette‘s book is titled Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay: And Other Tales of the Lost Chesapeake, and I came across it today discovering this DoubleTweet

— with its two striking and very different visuals and links to two articles, each with its headline The ‘ghost fleet’ graveyard where nature has risen from the dead.


So that’s the past, and the link to Easter lies in the wording of that headline: risen from the dead.

But there’s also the future, nicely represented in the lower panel at the head of this post by PW Singer and August Cole‘s novel, Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.

As I suggested in my comment at the top of this post — rising from the dead: sacred & secular, natural & military, past & future. I wish you a blessed Easter if such may be found in your calender, and a happy future to the extent possible in any case.

One Response to “Easter Sunday surprise”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    For more on sunken military and other materiel, coral reefs and so forth, see Sunday surprise: fish tank on this blog a shirt while back.

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