NJ Coast Shipwreck Is Steamer That Sank In 1860

In 1852, W.A.K. Martin painted this picture of the Robert J. Walker. The painting, now at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Va., is scheduled for restoration.
Credit | The Mariners' Museum
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Associated Press Release

Federal officials have identified a ship that sank off the New Jersey coast more than 150 years ago.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday it had confirmed that a wreck sitting in 85 feet of water several miles off Atlantic City is the Robert J. Walker.

The ship did mapping work for the U.S. Coast Survey and was headed to New York in June 1860 when it collided with a 250-ton schooner.

Twenty sailors aboard the Walker died, making it the worst accident in the history of the U.S. Coast Survey or its successor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The wreck was discovered in the 1970s but its identity was a mystery until recently when divers on a Superstorm Sandy-related mission made a positive identification.

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