tribute to the men and crews of "The Hunley".
Heroes of the Hunley
Eight men, all volunteers, set sail to change history.
The cold February night, filled with fear and misery.
Each man knew the value of their success.
Our nation was divided and in a real mess.
We were at war, the North against the South
They were silent not a word from their mouth.
The constant turning of the hand crank was the only noise.
Although they were cold and scared, they showed great poise.
They had practiced this so many times, nothing had to be said.
They were aware that of all the crews before them, most were dead.
The Union ship Housatonic, was their target that night.
They had trained for this and were ready to fight.
What they attempted had never been done.
They knew if they were successful, the war could be won.
The Union blockade could be defeated.
The South could get the supplies they desperately needed.
It took great courage to crawl into this cold, cramped metal sphere.
To turn the crank and slip beneath the icy water, despite their fear.
As they neared their target, the silence was broken.
Prepare to ram target, was ordered by Dixon.
He nervously fingered the gold piece given to him by his fiancée.
It had saved his life at Shiloh, and he hoped it would today.
If you close your eyes you can almost hear, eight men whispering a prayer.
The fear and uncertainty more than most men could bear.
The iron spar with it’s deadly explosive attached, found its foe.
The impact sent them flying, thrown like dolls to and fro.
They frantically resumed their positions, fiercely turning the crank.
They backed away and set off the explosive, within moments the Housatonic sank.
They silently celebrated their victory, for there was no joy in killing their brothers.
The men they had killed, all had family; children, wives and mothers.
They said another prayer for their brothers and asked the Lord’s forgiveness.
They surfaced and proudly displayed their signal of blue light in the darkness.
Their anxiously awaiting lookouts saw the light from shore.
The signal meant success and a turning point of the war.
By dawn the mood on land had gone from jubilant to serene.
The Hunley had disappeared and was nowhere to be seen.
They had completed their mission, but at a terrible cost.
The Hunley disappeared and the war would be lost.
The men of the Hunley, eight men, all so brave.
Heroes they were, and unselfishly their lives they gave.
Their cause may have died with them that cold February night,
But we must never forget these eight men and their plight.
After 137 years they’re coming home to a heroes burial,
And let our remembrance be their memorial.
April 5, 2001
Rev. January 7,2002