Mystery of Civil War-era sailing vessel solved deep off the coast of Montauk

Almost 20 years ago, John Noonan of Hampton Bays bought a boat. Along with the boat, he was given a list of coordinates where fishing nets had snagged over the years in the area.

One site in particular caught his eye. And after more than a decade of training and building a team, they made a dive at the site.

They dove up to 220 feet deep, at times with no visibility. But what they found was worth it.

They found the Adriatic — a 181-foot Union "packet ship" (meaning it traveled a regular route — in this case, New York to London and back) during the Civil War.

On Aug. 12, 1864, it encountered a Confederate ship; its passengers were removed and the ship was set ablaze, sinking 30 miles east of Montauk.

No one had seen the ship in more than 150 years. (And yes, it was covered with old fishing nets.)

At the site, the divers found rolls of zinc, iron railroad rails and even bottles, which they have since brought home as souvenirs.

The Adriatic has been found, but its secrets are far from revealed. "It still has a story to tell," says diver John Bricker of Bay Shore.

Read the full Newsday exclusive at the link below to learn more.

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