USS CSS Water Witch in front of Columbus’ National Civil War Naval Museum to be removed

USS CSS Water Witch in front of National Civil War Naval Museum to be removed

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The huge ship in front of the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus is going away. The Water Witch is being removed.

Built a little over a decade ago, this replica of the U.S.S. C.S.S. Water Witch is used to attract visitors to the museum. However, the executive director said the ship wasn’t built to last.

The U.S.S. C.S.S. Water Witch has a long and unusual history.

“It really caught our eye,” museum visitor Leslie Green said.

It was used by both union and confederate soldiers in the civil war. Executive Director Holly Wait said the National Civil War Naval Museum took this into account over a decade ago when trying to decide what to put in front of the museum.

“It kind of shared the experience more or less," Wait said. "It also was the right size to fit in that space that we had out there.”

The problem, found out after the replica’s construction, is that interior wood was used instead of treated wood.

“The wood inside... under the outside covering is really rotten,” Wait said.

Although the Water Witch has been closed to the public for over a year, Wait said there are some misunderstandings about the ship’s use.

“There was no going inside, that’s all electrical panels and working storage things and that kinds of things," Wait said. "And a few people actually think, as they drive by, that the ship is the museum and they don’t seem to see the big brick buildings behind it.”

Wait said the current plan is to remove the Water Witch and replace it with something that reflects a naval museum. She hopes for a new sign and education space, maybe even part of another ship. Visitors are hoping for something else.

"It would be a great loss if a new replica wasn’t placed there,” Green said.

There is no timeline set yet for the ship’s removal. Wait said the museum wants to decide what to put out there before taking away the Water Witch.

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