Robot in the ocean?: Part of 1861 steamer boat seen sticking out of water in Cape Hatteras

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Thursday, August 3, 2023
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CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. (WTVD) -- Is it a robot? A large fish? A boat?

The boiler and smokestack of an 1861 steamship were seen sticking out of the water near the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge on Cape Hatteras Island. According to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Steamer Oriental was built as a merchant ship but was instead rented by the U.S. Army as a troop transport.

On May 16, 1862, the ship ran aground on the shoals near Bodie Island. The captain and crew were rescued however the ship and cargo were lost to the storm.

The Town of Oriental located on the North Carolina coast in Pamlico County was named after the ship when it was established in 1870 by Lewis B. Midyette. The town is also known as the sailing capital of the state.

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