Home First Tour Ever Confederate Medal of Honor First Viewing 2nd Crewman Found 3rd Crewman Found 5th and 6th Crewman Found 7th and 8th Crewmen found Only 8 crewman on board Hunley The Hunley and The Monitor Chamberlin -More Hunley Lore 1st Crewman Good Shoes Civilian Clothes ? Hat Found Article about Clothing Confederate Memorial Day Crew Burial in 2003 History Mysteries-The Hunley Tapes Personal Items Looking for Lt Dixon Closer to Lt Dixon The Medallion More Buttons More Info on buttons Hunley Movie Prop on Tour Seashells and X-rays Single Bullet Theory Sinking of the Hunley First Skull Found Wicks-Last Crewman CSS H L Hunley Group Comments re: Hayes A "Union" Tag was Found The Hunley - TV Guide-1963 Tribute The Crew Area CSA Medal of Honor Study of Crew Members Tag around Skull 17 Shoes Left? Re-creating The Faces Sanders Family Remains may provide images of crewmen Preservation Facts Rear Admiral Dahlgren CREW PROFILES Becker-Kid on Crew Queenie Bennett 1865 Prison Camp Re-enactment- Charleston Warning: On the Look-out for Hunley Pocket Knives and Hat Pocket Knives and Hat Peripatetic Coffin Out Of Air? Open the Tomb Movie Tracker 1960's Hunley Movie-Canary in the Sub? New Facts After Phase One New Cloth and Buttons A Tribute to the Hunley Poem Underwater Scenes More Remains Found Dr Jamie Downs Forensics More Chamberlin Mystery A Hunley Poem Hunley Crew Gravesite - Magnolia Gardens Finding Human Remains The Exact # of crew was a mystery Horace and Sub History Virginian aboard The Hunley? Smithstonian Scientist Study Crew Remains Dixon's watch photo album A Family Link Picture is not Lt. Dixon Dixon Gets a New Face Removing the Crew Crewmen Names Crew Burial Crew Compartment is Cleaned Out Confederate Memorial Day-The Second One Reburial Commander Found? Silk-Cloth Removed Was he a civilian? Chamberlin? Was Ezra on the Hunley? Breech Inlet Bridge Resolution Needs Correction The Hunley was called "FISH" Crewman Had Bad Back Brain Tissue Causes Complications 4th Crewman Found

'KIND OF A CHILL': Small groups began getting a 20-minute look at the Confederate submarine Saturday, and many described the visit as an emotional experience.

Sunday, October 15, 2000

By EDWARD C. FENNELL
Of The Post and Courier staff

 

HDL First tour groups see the Hunley
    
     For the few who snared the toughest tickets in town, standing by a tank of clear water containing the recovered Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was an emotional experience.
     "It gives you kind of a chill to think about it," said Wayne Poplin of Charleston, who was with his wife, Debbie Poplin, and two friends in the first tour group.
     "It was awesome, very moving. It was smaller than I expected," Debbie Poplin said.
     Tour groups were limited to 30 people and the time beside the Hunley to about 20 minutes. Tickets to enter the Warren Lasch Conservation Center at the former naval base, where the Hunley is being preserved and studied, are even hotter than those for this year's South Carolina-Clemson football game.
     More than 6,000 tickets, at $10 each, were sold via telephone and the Internet, for four weekends of tours. Orders came from as far away as Germany and California.
     Big bucks are being offered for tickets, with some reportedly being offered for auction - bids start at more than five times face value - on the Internet's E-bay site.
     "I received a letter offering $1,000 for a ticket," State Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the Hunley Commission, said Saturday.
     "All of us on the commission are being besieged with requests to get people into the facility," he said.
     The extraordinary effort needed to get tickets was described by Sherrill Mills of Ladson, among the first to tour.
     "I started at 7:30 in the morning and kept hitting redial till 3:30 in the afternoon to get tickets," she said.
     Mills' daughter, Stacey Mills, a College of Charleston elementary education major, said she was surprised the Hunley looks so different from the way it has been portrayed in movies, illustrations and reproductions.
     Because so much work remains to be done - especially once the Hunley's interior is exposed in about a month - time for tours is limited, McConnell said.
     The senator disclosed some new findings concerning the Hunley, a Confederate secret weapon that in 1864 became the first submarine to sink another vessel in combat. The Hunley and its crew of nine vanished after sinking the Housatonic off Sullivan's Island. The sub was found in 1995, raised and brought to the conservation center in North Charleston in August.
     McConnell said scanning devices have determined the sub is 80 percent filled with silt - which he said raises hopes that artifacts and even human remains may be preserved.
     "It's a treasure trove of history, a coffin and a time capsule," McConnell said.
     He said items inside may include canteens, pistols, photographs, food and perhaps even the gold coin that sub commander Lt. George Dixon is rumored to have carried.
     He said fiber optic probes showed the boat's rivets are tight, that no seams have been broken and there are no separations anywhere in the half-inch-thick iron plates that make up the hull.
     "That submarine is solid," he said.
     The iron has fared well against the harsh undersea environment, with only 1/100th of an inch of iron - about the depth of a scratch - having been lost, he said.
     Apparently the only break in the vessel is in the forward conning tower. A theory that has gained momentum since the sub's recovery is that a Union sailor's bullet fired in an attempt to repel the Hunley's attack shattered a glass viewing port on the conning tower and let water cascade in.
     Researchers still haven't determined the best way to open up the Hunley. "The real sizzle is yet to come," McConnell said.
     For the lucky people who toured there was sizzle enough.
     Wayne Poplin, who wore a Robert E. Lee pin on his collar, recalled the Hunley was legendary to kids growing up in the Lowcountry. "Its always been a point of interest that we talked about in Charleston," he said.
     "It's amazing, first of all, that they found it. It's chilling, just the idea that they knew once they began to sink that they were going to die and they couldn't do anything but sit there. They gave their lives for something they believed in. We should all be so patriotic," Poplin said.
     He said he's always wanted to know what sank the Hunley.
     "That's the mystery. I hope they figure it out in my lifetime," Poplin said.
     Tom Crabtree of Spartanburg, a WSPA TV news anchor, and his wife Gayle, both love history and celebrated their wedding anniversary by coming to see the Hunley.
     "I said to myself, 'Nine brave sailors are still inside there.' It was chilling," Crabtree said.
     "It does resemble the German World War I U-Boat. It was so far ahead of its time. I wonder, what if the Hunley had not only been successful but had come back. And what if the Confederacy had built 50 of them, how different the outcome of the war might have been," Crabtree said.
     Tom Atchison of Charleston also noted the advanced technology the Hunley represented.
     "It's unbelievable to consider that 136 years ago they could have engineered a submarine like that. The thing that's amazing is the size of it, how confined the sailors were, and that nine sailors crowded inside there were the manpower to push the thing," he said.
    
     Home The USS Keokuk Full Scale model ? BATTLE MAP Housatonic Sank ARTIFACTS USS HUNLEY THE CREW Torpedo Warfare Around The Civil War- Article Torpedo Part 2 SITE MAP News Home Page ENGINEERING ARCHIVES

E-mail: Mistergwp@thehunley.com

 

Copyright 1997 by The HUNLEY.COM. All rights reserved.
Revised: 22 Jun 2011 04:58:31 -0400.





Comments and questions may be directed to webmaster: mistergwp
Please sign guest book and thanks for visiting.