Main Deck

The excavation exposed a large portion of the main deck. For ease in discussion, the deck can be divided into three areas; the forward deck, the aft deck and the deck above the engineering spaces.

During the first summer field season in 1992, 55 feet of the forward main deck was exposed and mapped (Cantelas 1993). A short trench excavated in the 1993 season connected the two excavations at the forward cargo hatch. The forward decking that extends aft from the bow is relatively intact until it reaches the engineering spaces (Figure 5 and 6). Beyond 73.5 feet aft all planking and deck beams are missing. Plank widths on the intact deck average 6 inches and maintain a standard 2 1/4 inch thickness. They are fastened to the underlying deck beams with 1/4 inch square spikes set in a diagonal pattern. The spikes are placed in counter sunk holes 7/8 inch in diameter, 3/4 inch deep and capped with wooden plugs.

The engineering hatch is an opening measuring 5 feet fore and aft and 6 feet athwart ship. It is located 64.5 feet aft of the stem. It allowed the crew entry to the machinery space below and was also used to load wood to fuel the boilers when the vessel operated on the Great Lakes. The hatch coaming is badly worn from loading wood despite a metal strap placed around the top edge for protection. In Figure 6 the hatch is shown slightly off center due to an unresolved recording error. During the Civil War coal became the primary fuel for steam ships on the coast. A cast iron coal scuttle (with an interior diameter of 1.3 feet) located near the hatch facilitated bunker loading.

Two deck beams are sistered together on the forward side of the hatch. This may represent a repair or reinforcement. Beams forward and aft of the pair are still spaced 18 inches apart, which is the typical spacing for this vessel. The forward beam continues across the ship, supporting the forward hatch coaming, while the aft beam is cut off at the hatch. The deck beam arrangement was not observed on the port side to see if the sistered beams continued.

The second area of the main deck discussed is located aft of the engine spaces. Scour caused by river current exposed decking near the aft cargo hold excavation. A small trench excavated under the baseline connected the scoured area to the larger excavation forward. This process revealed the rear edge of the engineering space and the beginning of the aft deck. The edge is marked by deck planking fastened to a deck beam 121 feet from the stem. The beam is broken near the centerline and sags slightly. This edge is a major clue in determining the position of the engine room inside the hull. A narrow 20 foot long section of deck was examined along the baseline but no deck features were encountered.

The engineering spaces are located amidships, in the lower hull. This area was planked over to accommodate freight and passengers on the main deck. Before excavation, deck features related to the ship's propulsion were anticipated, including the engineering hatch and A-frame trunk. Unfortunately, most of the deck covering the engine spaces was demolished by channel clearing work in the 1880's. Although the hatch was located, very little of the A-frame trunk remains.

During construction, the ship builder had to accommodate large machinery components by placing an opening, or trunk, on the centerline of the ship. The opening allowed the massive engine cylinder to pass through the deck and the A-frame to rise above top of the ship. The archaeological data recovered in 1993 did not indicate the extent or dimensions of the trunk with the possible exception of the truncated aft deck at 121 feet aft. This probably marks the rear edge of the trunk. Future excavation along the edge and on the port side will define the opening better.

Four hanging knees fixed to the starboard hull, from 79 to 86 feet aft of the stem, mark the location of deck beams in front of the boiler. Aft of this point, no more knees were found to support the deck. Whether or not the boilers were covered by decking cannot be determined with available data.