Plumbing the shallows of Lower Cook Inlet near the tip of the Kenai Peninsula this summer, a team of divers located what authorities say is the oldest American shipwreck in Alaska.
It also marks a pivotal chapter in U.S. history.
The four-person party charted and photographed remnants of the Torrent, a huge, square-rigged sailing vessel that struck a reef and sank near Port Graham in 1868, less than a year after the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia.
Aboard the vessel at the time were women, children and a battery of 130 U.S. soldiers, some of whom were veterans of the recent Civil War. They had been ordered to construct the first U.S. fort on the mainland of south central Alaska.