Are we entitled to become irked when reporters and "experts" refer to Civil War "battleships"? I find it profoundly ignorant - but perhaps it's me that's ignorant.
In fact, I would call all the news coverage I've seen surrounding the Monticello vs. Rachel controversy ill-informed.
If you've been following the "Monticello" stories, here we have an archeologist commenting on the wreck uncovered by Gustav: "Shea McLean also agreed that it was most likely the Monticello, a Confederate battle ship en route from Havana that ran aground while trying to outrun the U.S. Navy into Mobile Bay."
On the other hand, "the Army Corps of Engineers argued that the wreck was actually the schooner Rachel, which sank in 1933."
The reporter owes the reader an explanation of how the remains of a CSS "battleship" could be confused with the remains of a schooner.
The reporter also owes us an explanation of how it is that the Union had a combat vessel named Monticello (pictured right) but there is no record of a CSA ship of that name (see here and here).
This already inadequate print reporting is then muddied up by ABC News which informs us that this is "a ragged shipwreck that archeologists say could be a two-masted Civil War schooner that ran aground in 1862 or another ship from some 70 years later." The (armed?) schooner is this "battleship" they refer to? Hmm.
More from ABC: "... a battleship that partially burned when it crashed trying to get past the U.S. Navy and into Mobile Bay during the Civil War."
Crashed and burned. Sounds more like "Smokey and the Bear," less like a naval action.