Brent Garlington, 42, of Fayetteville, said he spotted a wrecked blockade steamer at an inlet between Holden Beach and Oak Island.
Garlington flew a drone at low tide this week and recorded the video. He says his brother-in-law had seen the wreckage last year while flying a helicopter over the area.
Michele Walker with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources says the wreckage is one of three vessels known to have gone down in the area.
Walker says the wreckage occasionally shows up because of the movement of sediment.
Holden Beach is about 30 miles southwest of Wilmington.