Public gets closer look at Hunley recovery, plans
Sunday, August 13, 2000
By DENESHIA GRAHAM
Of The Post and Courier staff
SULLIVAN'S ISLAND - The National Park Service updated the public
Saturday on the history, present status and future plans for the H.L. Hunley Confederate
Park Service employees gave the free presentation to a crowd of
about 100 at the Fort Moultrie Visitor's Center. They watched computer graphics of the
recovery project, underwater shots of divers working to secure the sub and footage from
Tuesday's homecoming of the Hunley from the ocean floor.
Dawn Hammer, a Park Service ranger, spoke about the Hunley's
namesake and benefactor Horace L. Hunley, who perished along with the second crew of men
aboard the submarine. She said the deaths of the first two crews were due to human error,
and the sinking of the Hunley's final crew still is a mystery.
Matt Russell, a Park Service archaeologist who participated in
underwater dives, talked about the sub's recovery process and its future conservation
The Hunley appears to be smaller than previously was thought,
It's 40 feet long, 51 inches high and less than 4 feet wide.
Presenters fielded a variety of questions from the audience.
One person wanted to know if the public would be able to view the
Hunley at the conservation lab where it currently is kept in 50-degree freshwater. Russell
said officials are developing plans for periodic access, but there will not be continual
Another person asked about the USS Housatonic, the Union ship
that the Hunley sank.
Wreckage of the Housatonic has been found about 1,000 feet away
from the Hunley, buried in about 8 feet of mud.
Because the ship is so large and spread out, it would be
difficult to recover it.
Interesting items from the Housatonic have been found, such as a
pistol, leather boots and other weaponry, Russell said.
Park Service Project photographer Brett Seymour, a resident of
New Mexico, said it is fascinating to see Charleston's reaction to the Hunley.
"It means different things to different people, but it means
something to everyone," Seymour said.
The next step is for the hull to be X-rayed to determine the best
way to enter the sub, which is packed with silt. Plans are to start excavation in
After about five to 10 years of preservation, the Hunley
submarine will be put on display at the Charleston Museum.
Used with permission of The Post and
Courier and Charleston.Net