Sailors watched as the USS Water Witch was burned off the coast of Savannah in 1864. Originally a Union ship, she’d been captured by the Confederate Navy in Ossabaw Sound earlier that summer and was set aflame to evade recapture. But her doom had been long-forecasted by those who manned and captained the sidewheel gunboat since her 1852 commissioning.
In fact, sailors historically side-eyed the ship, known for routine misfortune on the heels of telltale seafaring warnings: red sunrise, the siting of sirens, lurking sharks, and a faint unattributable whistling in the air. There are none more astute than the superstitious seaman, and those who could help it steered clear of service aboard her decks.
We know not what sealed her blazing destiny on that fateful December day, but we pay tribute to the lore of the sea and the legacy of the ill-fated vessel forever buried off our coast. Come raise a tiki drink in toast to the Water Witch and get sunk.