Hundreds pay tribute to Hunley crew


Sunday, February 18, 2001

Special to The Post and Courier


     SULLIVAN'S ISLAND - As the name of each lost H.L. Hunley crewman was read aloud, one woman from a row of mourners in black hoop skirts and veils stepped forward and tossed a red rose into the sea.
     Confederate re-enactors then marched to the water's edge and together fired a series of rifle shots. As the echoes of the gunshots faded, about 300 onlookers joined those conducting the memorial service for the crew of the Hunley in prayer and the singing of "Dixie."
     Many of those who attended the first memorial service to be held at Breach Inlet - the site from where the Hunley last went to sea in 1864 - are involved in the current project to unseal the Confederate submarine that was recovered last year.
     On Feb. 17, 1864, the Hunley became the first submarine to sink another vessel in combat. The super-secret submarine didn't return and was found in recent years four miles off Sullivan's Island.
     Researchers have begun to open the sub now housed in a tank at the former Charleston Navy Base and expect to learn a lot about the sub and its nine-man crew in the coming months.
     The lives lost when the Union blockade vessel Housatonic was sunk by an explosive device also were rememb