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 remembered in Saturday's memorial services.
     In a crowded church prior to the seaside ceremonies, the Hunley crew was lauded for its courage.
     Stephen P. Fletcher, commander of the Charleston Squadron of the U.S. Submarine Veterans Association, said the crew was well trained for its mission. Fletcher noted that the Hunley carried out its mission eight years before author Jules Verne wrote about a fictional submarine named the Nautilus.
     Pastor Lynn Bailey of St. Johannes Lutheran Church asked in prayer that the sacrifices made by both the Hunley and Housatonic crews "set our hearts afire for the causes of liberty, justice and equality."
     Earlier Saturday, reenactors and others marched from the Old Village in Mount Pleasant to Breach Inlet to retrace the steps the crew took prior to their historic voyage.
     The Hunley crew barracked in the Old Village and marched the 7 miles to Breach Inlet each day while training and on the day of the mission, said Sgt. Keith Rhoden of the Hampton Legion Gist Rifles unit.
     "They did that every day and we are honoring them by what we are doing today," Rhoden said.
     Rhoden's son, Landon Rhoden, 7, joined the troops as a little soldier. He marched with a rifle longer than he is tall.
     "I like it, and my Dad does it," the boy explained.
     The boy is too young to take part in battle re-enactments, his father said. "We let him do parades but he can't do battles. You can't do battles til you are 16."
     Had Landon been around during the Civil War, "he might have been a drummer boy," the sergeant said.
     Garrett Academy students Rae Houke, 19, and Webster Ammons, 16, both are re-enactors who marched. They said they hope to form a new unit, the 3rd S.C., to be made up of teen-agers like the original Civil War unit.
     "They had all 16-year-olds," Ammons said.
     Three brothers also joined the march. Thomas Chapman Balliet Jr., 35, a member of Sons of the Confederacy, was accompanied by Jamie Balliet, 34, and Trevor Balliet, 11.
     The recovery of the Hunley, plus their reading about a great-great-grandfather who fought in the war, sparked their interest in Saturday's events, they said.
     Thomas said he grew up on James Island and always had an interest in the Hunley. "I've been to Fort Sumter about 20 times," he said.
     Among those who just came to watch were Molly Johnson, a visitor from Alexandria, Va., and her parents. Johnson said she has visited some of the Civil War battlefields and that while in Charleston could not resist coming out to see part of the Hunley memorial events.
     Her father, Bob Johnson of Seabrook Island, said he has "a whole lot of interest in the Hunley."

     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

Used with permission of The Post and Courier and Charleston.Net  

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