Steve Nagiewicz

ATLANTIC CITY – Authors of the newly released book, “Robert J Walker, the History and Archaeology of U.S. Coast Survey Steamship,” will be at the Absecon Lighthouse 2 p.m. Thursday, June 25 to discuss their new book and their expedition to find and survey the shipwreck, which lies 12 miles offshore of Atlantic City.

The Robert J Walker was a U.S. Coast Survey ship charged with mapping the coastlines of Alabama, Louisiana and Florida during the 1850s.  On June 21, 1860, the Walker was heading north for scheduled maintenance at the naval yard in New York City.  On a truly dark and stormy night off Absecon Light, the Walker collided with the schooner Fanny, sinking within a half hour, and taking 20 of the crew with it in what would be the greatest loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Coast Survey.

It would take 154 years before the Walker’s final resting place could be located and its contributions to hydrography fully recognized. The ship was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.

At that time, a collaborative expedition of New Jersey wreck divers and students and staff of Stockton University worked with the National Atmospheric Administration as partners in a Community Archaeological survey to map the wreck site.

Co-expedition leaders and two of the nine co-authors of the book, Steve Nagiewicz, a teacher at Atlantic City High School and adjunct faculty member at Stockton, and New Jersey Historical Divers of Wall, N.J. President Dan Lieb, along with many other volunteer scuba divers, helped provide data about the wreck site and will be at the Absecon Lighthouse Thursday.

On June 21, 2015, a memorial at the Absecon Lighthouse was dedicated to the men of the Robert J. Walker at the Absecon Lighthouse.

“This expedition and story were five years of work by various groups of people not always known to work together, who put aside self-interests and politics to show that local people and a government agency can set aside those differences in philosophy and contribute their expertise in a meaningful way to promote local history,”  Nagiewicz said.

The books was published by the University Press of Florida and is available through them, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and other booksellers.

For more information contact Steve Nagiewicz by email or call at 732-995-2626.

Categories: Atlantic City

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.