The SS Republic was a Civil War-era sidewheel steamship that sank in 1865 while carrying a large cargo of silver and gold coins and a stunning variety of everyday wares essential to life in mid-19th century America. It was discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2003.
En route from New York to New Orleans with passengers and commercial cargo, the SS Republic was lost in a violent hurricane on October 25, 1865. The passengers and crew escaped from the sinking ship, yet a fortune in coins and much needed cargo to help rebuild New Orleans' post-Civil War economy sank to the bottom of the Atlantic seabed 1,700 feet (518 meters) deep. Nearly 140 years later, Odyssey discovered the shipwreck of the Republic approximately 100 miles off the Georgia coast. The archaeological excavation conducted during the 2003-2004 excavation seasons was accomplished entirely through the use of advanced robotics and cutting-edge technologies and was the first of its kind ever performed at such depths.
Over 51,000 U.S. gold and silver coins were recovered from the Republic wreck site, as well as over 14,000 artifacts - a fascinating assortment of 19th century goods in use during the Civil War years. In addition to the wealth of knowledge gained from the Republic shipwreck project, the success of the archaeological excavation has set a precedent for achieving the highest archaeological standards essential to the emerging field of deep-water shipwreck exploration and recovery.
Odyssey's discovery and archaeological excavation of the SS Republic was the subject of a National Geographic one-hour special entitled "Civil War Gold" which aired nationally on PBS; an episode of "National Geographic: Ultimate Explorer"; National Geographic Magazine's September 2004 issue; two books "Lost Gold of the Republic"and "Bottles from the Deep"; and numerous television, newspaper and magazine stories.