Hunley team must remove sub's air bellows


Thursday, May 3, 2001

Of The Post and Courier staff


     The leather and wood pump used by the Hunley crew to circulate air through the sub will have to be removed.
     It's too big and bulky for the archaeologists to work around.
     Located at the forward top section of the crew compartment, the bellows, as it is known, is connected to the sub's snorkel box and two exterior air tubes.
     Hunley team archaeologists don't know for sure how it worked. What they do know is that it will have to come out.
     "It's blocking us from going forward," said project manager Dr. Bob Neyland.
     The bellows is partially concreted to the hull, so removing it could be very tricky. But officials also think it was an advanced instrument when it was put to use whenever the Hunley put to sea. "It looks a lot more complicated than we expected," he said.
     When archaeologists were first excavating the sub, they initially thought the bellows might have been a wooden stool that had accidentally trapped the remains of one of the crewmen.
     They now believe the crewman found lying on top of the apparatus moved into position there to circulate air through the sub.
     Archaeologists need to remove the bellows so they can get to the remains of sub captain Lt. George Dixon, who would have been stationed at the very front of the sub during the attack on the Housatonic.
     Meanwhile, the removal of bones is continuing and is getting detailed in spots. For instance, the human hand has 26 individual bones, and the archaeologists are trying to account for every one for all nine of the crew.Used with permission of The Post and Courier and Charleston.Net



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