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J. Barto Arnold III General Entry

The Will-o-the-Wisp, a sidewheel steamer, was a Civil War blockade runner lost off Galveston while attempting to enter port in early February 1865. Its hull measured 238 by 23 feet and was constructed of 1-inch iron. The cargo and machinery were at least partly salvaged. The vessel had been built in a hasty and slipshod manner on the Clyde River in England especially for the blockade-running trade. The wreck of the Will-o-the-Wisp (archeological site 41GV90) was relocated during a magnetometer survey conducted jointly by the Marine Archeological Society of Texas and the Texas Antiquities Committee in 1983.

Galveston News, March 29, February 24, 1865. Nowlin Randolph, "Judge William Pinckney Hill Aids the Confederate War Effort," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 68 (July 1964).


  • Archeology
  • Ships and Shipwrecks

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

J. Barto Arnold III, “Will-o-the-Wisp,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: