(Under the direction of Professor Gordon P. Watts) Department of History, May 1999.
The purpose of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive examination of the artifactual remains located with site 0007NEI located off the coast of the United States near Fort Fisher, in Wilmington, North Carolina and to provide a hypothesis as to the identity of the vessel in question. This thesis provides historical and documentary evidence integrated with archaeological research to provide an assessment and evaluation of the wreck in question. For the purpose of this thesis, the wreck is hypothesized to be that of the Arabian, a Canadian-built steamship that ran the blockade three times during the American Civil War. Based on this premise, research into the type and construction of the vessel coupled with information recovered from the seafloor is presented to prove the case for the vessel being the Arabian.
This thesis, in its attempt to prove the underlying hypothesis, contains a variety of information pertinent to the identification of the wreck. Since the hypothesis rests on the identification of the Civil War blockade runner, a chapter is devoted to the effects and enforcement of the Union naval blockade in general and specifically around the Cape Fear River during the war. Another chapter chronicles the checkered history of the Arabian and her role both before and during the war. Other chapters detail the ship's Great Lakes history as well as construction and information about the ship's steam engine and propulsion system. A chapter is devoted to the archaeological investigation and interpretation of the wreck site. Conclusions and recommendations about the vessel and the site are presented in the final two chapters.