WELCOME TO THE NEW HUNLEY NEWSLETTER
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to subscribers only.
We do not
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George W. Penington,
Editor and Webmaster for The Hunley.com Newsletter and Website
issues are dedicated to the brave and
honorable Men of the Hunley and
Subscribers and Contributors to
each issue, particularly to the CSS H L HUNLEY
CLUB and The Post and Courier. Donations
freely excepted to fray the cost.
about 142 years
now the Charleston crews of the H.L. Hunley submarine have rested in one
unmarked grave or another.
April 17, 2004
Post and Courier
used with permission
Headstones in place April 2006 Picture by GWP
MYSTERY OF THE GRAVE
Newsletter 51) has finally been solved maybe!!
"Now that C.Simpkins has been identified as Lumpkin has anyone heard
of plans to change the existing markers in Magnolia cemetery? Also
any news on a new marker for the final crew?"
In June of 2004
you may recall that "some of the staff at Magnolia Cemetery
were asked why there were no markers on the burial site of the Final
Hunley crew., their response was that the Staff at the Friends of
the Hunley, Inc. were not positive about the names of the crewmen
and they were not ready to "carve them in stone". When asked if
they could provide a layout showing the locations and identification
of each crewman. The response was that they were not provided
one and was not sure anyone knew the order of burial.
The delay between the crew's burial and placing the markers was
meant to give researchers more time to positively identify the men
according to sources.
Burial site of the final crew
Picture by GWP
April 12, 2006 new headstones were placed for the final crew
of the Confederate States Submarine five days before the two-year anniversary of
the crew's burial. The Confederate Heritage Trust, some of the Sons
of Confederate Veterans camps and local re-enactors with the Friends
of the Hunley, Inc. apparently held a close knit ceremony that was
not published until well after the event.
The crew and the
submarine, discovered in 1970 by a local marine archaeologist
E. Lee Spence, was recovered in August 2000 in Charleston
Harbor and the final crew
was laid to rest in a massive service on April 17, 2004.
All of the three
Charleston Hunley Crews are now buried in the same plot. The
first crew to sink in the fateful submarine was discovered buried in
unmarked graves, several miles up-town below The Citadel's football
stadium , an area commonly used at the time during the extreme
bombardment of the lower peninsula by Federal Blockade ships.
The bodies of the crew and other soldiers including a child were
moved to Magnolia Cemetery in 1999.
new markers are similar to those of the first crew which were paid
for by the the Veterans Administration.
The second crew, which included Horace Hunley, the subs namesake,
was originally buried in this plot and according to W. A. Alexander
"The sole survivor" of the Hunley's four crews describes it as a
cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina where "stands a shaft of
white marble as a monument to the heroism of the nine men to whom
death came at the bottom of Charleston harbor in the first submarine
boat successfully operated in naval warfare."
The following is a reply
about the Aussie News
Article... from RAML
Jay DeLoach, Deputy COMSUBLANT - Thanks to both
Smalley - president of
THE EXPLORER MAY JOIN THE HUNLEY
I was asked by my Navy boss, VADM Munns, if I knew
anything about this submarine. Here is my response:
Yes Sir! I am well aware of the Explorer *it is not
a US submarine but a submarine built in New York City during the
Civil War. It appears that the US Navy was inundated with
submersible/submarine design proposals after the CSS Hunley sank the
USS Housatonic in February 1864.
One of these proposals was by Julius Kroehl, chief
engineer of the Pacific Pearl Company. The US Navy had a committee
known as the Permanent Commission who reviewed all these proposals
*they found four promising designs but Kroehl's design was not one
of them and rejected it based on an unfavorable report by US Navy
Chief Naval Engineer W.W. Wood.
Kroehl decided to build the submarine at his own
expense in New York City. [Note: During the Civil War, Kroehl worked
as an underwater explosives expert for the Union until he was
discharged with malaria.
recuperating, he designed a submarine that divers could get in and out of
underwater, from which they could set charges and disarm enemy torpedoes.
Kroehl knew the Navy wouldn't pay for the construction of such an
experimental boat, so he joined up with the Pacific Pearl Co.]
Explorer, it had large tanks of compressed air for
buoyancy control, and pressurizing the hull. There were large hatches in
the bottom of the vessel to permit divers to exit the main compartment
and explore the seabed. Kroehl towed the Explorer to the Pearl
Islands near the Bay of Panama in 1864.
The Explorer was
employed in pearl diving until problems with decompression sickness
(which resulted in debilitating illness and death for the
crew, including inventor Kroehl) led to its abandonment near the site
of its last pearl harvesting expedition at Isla San Telmo, in the
Pearl Islands on Panama's Pacific Coast, in 1869.
In 2001, the
Explorer was re-discovered in the surf at low tide off a
uninhabited island. In 2004, the National Oceanic and
Administration funded a fact-finding expedition by James Delgado, noted
maritime archaeologist and host of National Geographic International
Television's "The Sea Hunters," resulted in a higher level of
documentation for the wrecked craft, which lies in the intertidal zone
of the uninhabited and remote island.
Field work was
accomplished under permit from the Director Nacional del Patrimonio
Histórico of the Instituto Nacional De Cultura (INAC) for an archaeological
permit, which was granted on 16 February 2004 for the period between
25 February and 5 March 2004. Of special note is that this was the
first permit issued in Panama for a maritime archaeological project under
the new guidelines for INAC under the terms of the newly enacted UNESCO
Charter for Underwater Cultural Heritage; since Panama was the first
nation to ratify this charter, the permit for Explorer is
believed to be
the first issued in the world under the terms of the new charter. It was
reported that she still has a mercury depth gage mounted in her.
Plans are under
way to continue the documentation of the Explorer and perhaps bring
the submarine home. One option is the foot of East Third Street in
Brooklyn, where she made her first dive.
Another is the
Warren Lasch Center in Charleston, where the H. L. Hunley is
undergoing conservation for eventual display. A third possibility is
Washington, D.C., home of Kroehl's wife and site of the family home,
when Kroehl was not working as an inventor or in the Union Navy as
an underwater explosives expert attached to the staff of venerated
Admiral David Dixon Porter. Some pictures are attached.
Hope this helps.
Delgado's TAKE ON THE
I've sent in a detailed report, in Spanish and
English, on Kroehl's Sub Marine Explorer to
the Instituto Nacional de la Cultura in Panama, and a detailed
article on the submarine to a professional journal for peer
review and hopefully, publication.
I've also worked
with another friend and colleague, Lieut. Jeremy Weirich of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to prepare for a
return to Panama and a detailed study of Explorer to
formulate recommendations on how best to preserve this unique Civil
War submarine. Now comes a detailed proposal to Panama to request an
My Current Field Project: Julius
Kroehl's Sub Marine Explorer, Panama
a chance discovery on an isolated Panamanian beach of a hitherto
unknown submarine wreck that appears in the surf at low tide
resulted in the identification of the substantially intact craft as
a New York-built, 1865 submarine, the Sub Marine
Explorer. Working with naval historians and drawing on records
in the National Archives, a rudimentary plan of the vessel was
obtained and information was obtained about its inventor, Julius H.
Kroehl, as well as a basic history of Explorer.
is a rare example of the earliest generation of working submersibles
(submarines) from the pioneering developmental period of the
mid-19th century. While future archaeological discoveries may reveal
the remains of other, and earlier craft, as of 2005, only five
submarines whose date of construction predates 1870 are known to
have survived: 1) Wilhelm Bauer's Der Brandtaucher of 1850,
now a museum display in Kiel, Germany; 2) an unnamed Confederate
submarine which probably dates to 1862 and is now on display in New
Orleans, Louisiana; 3) the Confederate submarine H.L.
Hunley of 1863, archaeologically recovered and currently
undergoing analysis and conservation in Charleston, South Carolina;
4) the Explorer of 1865, at Isla San Telmo, Panama; 5) the
Intelligent Whale of 1866, now a museum display in New
an article on American submarine development published this
rudimentary plan of Kroehl's Explorer. When submarine
archaeologist and historian Rich Wills sent me this picture,
the pieces in the puzzle fit - the sub in Panama matched it to
is, with Intelligent Whale, one of only two submarines of
this handful of early survivors that included a pressurized
compartment that allowed divers to enter and exit the craft at
depth; it is the world's oldest 'lock-out' dive chamber. Although a
self-propelled craft, it is clearly the most sophisticated of all
known late 19th century submersibles. Built for war but used in
peace, it is as yet the only Union-built submarine from the Civil
War known to have survived. An amazing technological achievement of
the early Industrial Age in America, Explorer represents
the intellectual and industrial energy of its age. It was the
product of a German immigrant inventor and engineer working with the
forges and foundries of New York's shipyards and ironworks, at the
time the nation's industrial heartland. It is a tangible reminder of
the entrepreneurial spirit of an age which manifested itself in a
speculative venture for naval use that when thwarted turned to the
exploitation of resources from the seas off Panama. As a
self-propelled craft, with a lock-out capacity, Explorer
was employed in pearl diving until problems with decompression
sickness (which resulted in debilitating illness and death for the
crew, including inventor Kroehl) led to its abandonment near the
site of its last pearl harvesting expedition at Isla San Telmo, in
the Pearl Islands on Panama's Pacific Coast, in 1869.
initial encounter with the submarine, I have been greatly assisted
by Richard Wills, Mark Ragan, and Robert Schwemmer in the archival
documentation of the craft. A detailed field project in 2004
resulted in a higher level of documentation for the wrecked craft,
which lies in the intertidal zone of the uninhabited and remote
island. Field work was accomplished under permit from the Director
Nacional del Patrimonio Histórico of the Instituto Nacional De
Cultura (INAC) for an archaeological permit, which was granted on 16
February 2004 for the period between 25 February and 5 March 2004.
Of special note is that this was the first permit issued in Panama
for a maritime archaeological project under the new guidelines for
INAC under the terms of the newly enacted UNESCO Charter for
Underwater Cultural Heritage; since Panama was the first nation to
ratify this charter, the permit for Explorer is believed to
be the first issued in the world under the terms of the new charter.
fieldwork was underwritten by Eco-Nova Productions Ltd. of Halifax,
Nova Scotia, producers of The Sea Hunters, and by a grant
from the Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM). The CAMM
grant, maximizing the other resources of television show funding,
allowed us to conduct a more thorough non-destructive documentation
of the submarine through a 3D laser scan of the submarine's
exterior. Hand-measurements of the interior were the basis for
detailed drawings by Todd A. Croteau of the Historic American
Engineering Record of the National Park Service.
investigates the wreck of Explorer as the tide
Marc Pike Photo, Open Road Productions
fell into three categories:
high-resolution digital photography of the submarine and its
features, video documentation of the submarine at high and low tide,
including underwater video survey of the always submerged portions
of the submarine.
Three-dimensional laser scan of the submarine exterior and interior
utilizing the 'Cyrax system' to provide a high resolution digital
record of the submarine, which allows for the creation of a lines
plan and detailed measured and accurate plans of construction
details. The project team employed on the Cyrax documentation of
H.L. Hunley, Epic Scan/Pacific Survey, performed this work. A
big thanks to Doug DeVine and Carlos Velasquez!
test excavation of the sand in the vessel's stern to expose the
bottom of the submarine in that area and determine the interface of
the submarine with the beach.
of the survey not only documented the vessel's characteristics and
ascertained details of its operating systems, but also determined
that the submarine is at risk and is deteriorating. We're planning
to return to Isla San Telmo by the end of 2005 to assess the rate of
deterioration, hydrographic data, and develop a conservation plan.
well-publicized claims in the media that a British adventurer
"discovered" the craft in 2005 and an alleged link to Jules Verne,
with Explorer serving as the inspiration for Captain Nemo's
"Nautilus," the craft has long known to have been at Isla San Telmo,
but what it was, as well as its significance was not known until
2002. The Verne claim is doubted by scholars, and distracts from the
issue of the craft's actual importance in the evolution of
submersibles in the 19th century as well as its endangered status.
San Telmo is an island in the Bay of Panama on the
Pacific Ocean, close to the entrance to the Panama Canal
with excellent beaches and snorkelling. It is a remote,
undeveloped island donated to ANCON (National
Association for the Conservation of Nature) in 1966 and
set aside for preservation.
The island of San Telmo is recognized as an important
site of nesting marine birds and turtles and as a route
for migrating whales. It is comprised of 173 hectares,
within which excels a marine landscape characterized by
farallones, cliffs and sandy beaches. Thousands of
pelicans, frigatebirds and boobies reside there.
Located to the Southeast in the Archipelago de las
Perlas, San Telmo is one of the few islands which
conserves important strips of primary forest to protect
nesting birds. The beaches serve as nurseries for
egg-laying turtles, and the waters off San Telmo are
whales routes in the month of September.
DON'T FORGET THIS HEADLINE
BRITISH explorer has found an early submarine
The Times June 06, 2005
American Civil War submarine found
A unique boat from 1864 may have inspired Jules Verne to create
Captain Nemo's vessel Nautilus
explorer has found an early submarine that he believes was the
inspiration for Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s vessel in Jules
Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.
John Blashford-Snell discovered the half-submerged, cast-iron
wreck off the coast of Panama while searching for ancient ruins.
built in 1864 by a visionary craftsman, Julius Kroehl, for the
Union forces during the American Civil War. But the boat, called
Explorer, was never used in the conflict and was
subsequently taken to Panama where she was used to harvest pearls.
She was ideal
for this purpose because of a unique lock-out system, identical to
the one in the Nautilus from Verne’s book, published in
lock-out system is a reversible air-lock that enables submariners
to leave the vessel, harvest pearls from the sea-bed, then return
to the submarine. Like Explorer, Nautilus was also
used to gather items from the seabed.
Blashford-Snell, who runs the Dorset-based Scientific Exploration
Society, said:it had been told about the sub 20 years ago and it
was described as a Japanese mini-sub. I was then told that in fact
it was just a boiler, so I didn’t worry about it. Then recently I
was on an exploration in the area looking for ancient ruins and
forts. I was contacted by a maritime museum in Canada who knew we
were in the area and asked if we could examine the vessel.
Colonel Blashford-Snell and his team dived to examine the wreck
they discovered that it was much older than previously thought.
explained: It was quite an experience because we had an expert
with us who said it was much earlier than we had thought and in
fact dated from the American Civil War. It had a conning tower and
I felt as if Captain Nemo should be in it at the controls.
submarine, which measures 36ft by 10ft, was lying in under 10ft of
water off Isla San Telmo, an island in an archipelago known as The
Pearl Islands, since being abandoned after three years in the
pearl industry. Her crew all died from what was described then as
a fever but what was more likely to have been the bends after they
regularly submerged to about 100ft to work.
submarine technology was just developing when Verne was writing
the novel in which Captain Nemo and his crew travel the world’s
Blashford-Snell, 67, added: What made it ideal for the pearl trade
was its lock-out system, which meant people could get out of it,
gather up pearls then return to the submarine. I realized it was
identical to the system used in Nautilus. In the book it
mentions that Nautilus was first spotted in 1866, just two
years after the Explorer was built.
was significant in another way because it was the year of the
first sinking of a ship, USS Housatonic, by a submersible,
the hand-cranked CSS Hunley. Wyn Davies, a maritime
historian, said: If Jules Verne was researching the relatively new
world of submersible vessels he would probably have heard of the
Explorer’s lock-out system. Submarine inventors were keen
to sell their products so there would have been none of today ’s
secrecy and technologies would have been keenly scrutinized on
both sides of the Atlantic. As far as I’m aware, the Explorer
had the world’s first lock-out system and its uniqueness might
have stimulated Verne’s imagination.
ALL THIS LIES THE TRUTH - GWP
ASK Jim, captain of Cheers charter Yacht!
Snell Tries to steal all the Thunder
This article appeared on the internet in August of
News Flash on Jules Verne Nautilus real-life Submarine
Date Posted: Monday, August 08, 2005 (CST)
Inside scoop on the story behind the story of the recent discovery
on the Panama coastline, as you know, according to International
news sources, it seems that Jules Verne Nautilus real-life
inspiration was found in the coast of Panama, but here is some more
Jules Verne Nautilus real-life ........
We recently published an article telling the
amazing story on the Explorer, an amazing submarine that according
to the experts on location was the real life inspiration for Jules
Verne Nautilus submarine described in 20,000 leagues under the sea.
Soon after publishing this article we received
an amazing email, from our friend Jim-of-Panama.
Jim and his family have been exploring this
amazing submarine for over 35 years, and he was kind enough to fill
us on the story before
Blashford Snell’s exploration.
It is without a doubt a key element to
understand the value within the discovery as well as to know what
was the story before these new features about the Explorer were
It seems that this submarine was first
identified as a Japanese Second World War submarine wreck. The
experts addressed the wreck as a mini Jap sub, and for decades it
was visited, photographed and written about following that
Recently, it was James Delgado of Vancouver who
first identified the wreck as a CWE sub. He did all the research and
wrote an article that was published in NAVAL HISTORY, December
And another amazing insiders’ story is that our friend Jim
filled us with the exclusive information on who was the person that
provided Colonel Blashford Snell the map of the southern Perlas Islands with the location of
the sub It was Jim, captain of Cheers charter Yacht!
See Picture Image Gallery of the sub:
We’re very glad Jim contacted us and helped us
fill in the blanks on this amazing story We’ll soon publish new and
interesting information on this matter Keep posted!
Buenos Aires, Argentina
To our subscribers.
If you were sent a copy of this newsletter and want to help out
and subscribe, contribute or volunteer We can always use the
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Again thank you for
subscribing to the Hunley newsletter.
WE HAVE A WINNER!!!
GUESS THE MIDDLE
NAMESE" STANDS FOR ERIC.
CLIVE ERIC CUSSLER
For several years now we have been asking if anyone knew
Lt. George E. Dixons Middle Name and what the E.
stood for and no one has been able to definitively answer
Here are two
clues. Number One is that's Cussler
is the Left Picture
above and the
Second is that his middle name starts with E. just like
George E. Dixon. Cussler once said that he thought he
might be Dixon re-incarnate. The contest is included as a survey
or you can E-mail me
email@example.com . First
right answer gets this Hunley Collectors Coin. Thanks and
Contest and Survey
was the only one to get the right answer. I will send out his coin
Man o Man...you got it.
That was fast. Send me your mailing address and I will
send you the Commemorative Coin. Congrats. The survey is
a new feature I thought I would try out. I think I will
try again next month. No one ever figured out Dixon's
Middle name. George W. Penington Editor and
From: "Gerald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:31 PM
Subject: Middle name
Would the "E" stand for Eric..?
Thanks for your time... and and a most enjoyable news letter and site.
Webmaster for the Hunley.com Website and Newsletter.
WOW... am I ever surprised at winning... I must admit, I try
read any of the e-mails about the Hunley as soon as I have
I find them quite interesting...
( Product #
Sculptor Andrew Chernak has
created a piece of art in honor of the crew of the H.L. Hunley, the
first attack submarine.
This commemorative pewter
medallion features the H.L. Hunley on the front, and a Roll of Honor
on the reverse.
Chernak's medallion is more
than 2" in diameter,
HOW TO PLAN A
SUBMARINE ATTACK ON AN ENEMY VESSEL
Many a theory
abounds about what may have happened to the Confederate States
Submarine H L Hunley the night of February 17, 1864, the day
Commander George E. Dixon decided was best for the first actual
attack against an enemy vessel, the Federal Ship, U.S.S. Housatonic.
Dixon had waited and watched for this night to plan his
attack. He intended to live through this battle and return home the
victor. He developed an attack plan, a primary escape plan and
several back up plans. His experience with the Hunley had been if
something could go wrong it would.
attack, his first plan was simple. Get the hell out of the area and
head home as fast as his 7 horse power crew could crank. He knew
that maximum speed with the tide was about 4 knots.
Did Lt. Dixon’s
plan on hiding in the harbor neighborhood of the attack or was it to
make a run for shore?
The attack was
timed to occur as near as possible to the ebb tide. Did Dixon plan
to stay in the area and wait for the tide to turn, it would have
made sense for the Hunley Crew to wait and ride the tide back to
shore especially considering that it was a 4 mile crank back to home
base with a crew that would have been worn out and cold as it was.
If Dixon was on
the surface, surrounded by enemy ships on the way to investigate
what was happening with the Housatonic he would have ordered his men
out of the area unless they couldn’t crank any more for other
reasons. You may recall that no-one in the area actually heard the
explosion from the Housatonic but of course Dixon had no way of
knowing that. Dixon would have planned to stay in the area and wait
for the tide to turn. The tide is strong in Charleston harbor and it
certainly would have made sense to ride it back to shore. Dixon
timed the attack in accordance to the tide but tide was only one of
many factors to consider. A moving object is the hardest to hit so
if Dixon had ordered the crew to stop cranking, it was because he
had no other alternative. he was dead in the water. Several theories
include the idea that he may have had to hide and wait for the
rescue vessels to leave the area so that he could try to repair the
damage. Hiding a forty foot vessel, semi-submerged at night in
Charleston Harbor with a near full moon would not be an easy
thing to do.
on the Housatonic was made with the submarine semi-submerged with at
least the forward hatch unlatched. The crew of the federal ship
could see them as they approached. After ramming his harpooned tip
torpedo into the hull of the Housatonic below the waterline where
the ship was most vulnerable a series of events could have or did
occur. The plan was for the harpoon to stick with its explosive
package into the hull of the enemy ship and according to design to
slide off of the end of the spar as the Hunley backed away
would have been anchored from the bow with the bow pointing north
toward Charleston due to the ebb tide. The Hunley approached
her starboard side.
were in the upright position.
The rudder was found completely underneath the sub.
She was less than a football field away from the Housatonic.
There was an unexplained dish size hole on the starboard side.
The Hunley rested on the starboard side just as she sank.
It is my opinion
that there was no calm time for chat, the percussion of the blast,
the spar was bent from the impact, the crew was seriously hurt, they
were trying to signal with the blue light, taking on water and a
possibility of getting rammed by a rescue vessel. There was
also the possibility the rudder was gone. They were in serious
trouble from the get go. GWP
3:40 PM high
beginning of ebb current
Hunley spotted by lookout on Housatonic
9:30 PM blue
light observed on shore and by Canandaigua
9:45 PM low
beginning of flood current
Approximate times from "The H.L. Hunley in Historical Context"
by Rich Wills
commander who ever lived would take his boat down without first
assessing any damage to the hull. And no submarine commander who
ever lived would choose to sit on the bottom with a miserable and
injured crew in a stinking, freezing, deathtrap if there was any
alternative. This was not exactly a walk in the park, you know.
We've all seen
World War II submarine movies where the skipper
bottoms the boat
to avoid a depth charge attack. It's dramatic, but
if it ever
really happened, it was in the era before sonar when
still the only way to find a sub. But the Hunley wasn't a WWII fleet
sub with reserves of air and the Union Navy didn't have
If the Hunley
was still able to make headway, Dixon's crew would have been
cranking for their lives. They wouldn't have been too fussy about
the direction as long as it was toward safety. Maybe they
cranked too hard
and broke something."
USS HOUSATONIC SITE ASSESSMENT
A cooperative project of
National Park Service
Naval Historical CenterSC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Department of Defense Legacy Resources Program
Friends of the Hunley, Inc.
Systemwide Archeological Inventory Program
collaborative product of
National Park Service
Submerged Resources Center and
Naval Historical Center
Underwater Archaeology Branch
Chapter on Housatonic
Conlin - Editor
accounts from the Court of Inquiry convened following Housatonic's
loss paint a detailed picture of a well planned and directed attack
that placed Hunley's 135 lb. torpedo to the precise location that
would deliver a killing blow. Lt. Dixon and his crew
capitalized on their advantages of initiative, surprise and good
intelligence to choose the time and position for an effective
attack. by the time Housatonic lookouts saw the approaching
submarine., it was too late-- Hunley had already closed to the point
where the Union ship's larger guns could not be trained on the
submarine. The close range at which the submarine became visible to
Housatonic's crew meant there was insufficient time to slip anchor
and maneuver out of the way of the attacking Hunley. In a very
real sense, barring failure of the torpedo, success of the attack
was already assured by the time the Union sailors on Housatonic
became aware that something was wrong.
the skill and precision of Hunley's attack on Housatonic
mirrored the sophistication of Hunley as a weapon and a piece of
technology. Armed with good intelligence about the ship, Dixon
and his crew probably knew exactly where to strike Housatonic to
deliver a killing blow.
attacked, both Master's Mate Lewis A Corinthwait and Lieutenant F.
J. Higgson reported that the submarine changed course, steered
parallel and towards the stern quarter (Bad 199:161-162) Testimony
by both Acting Master John Crosby and John Saunders at the
Housatonic Court of Inquiry states that Hunley slammed home the
torpedo in the area of the mizzenmast (Bak1999:154). The mizzenmast
was a convenient aiming point for the attack, and easy to see from
the small, water-level view port of the Hunley. Aiming at the
mizzenmast would place thee torpedo directly between the powder
magazine, which could be loaded with up to 8,750 pounds of black
powder, and an unspecified amount of guncotton in the guncotton room
(Figures 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3) Secondary explosions in either the
guncotton room, the powder magazine so both would probably result in
sympathetic-detonations in the port powder magazine potentially
containing an additional 7,250 pounds of black powder, ,multiplying
the effect of Hunley's torpedo charge more than a hundredfold,
The large column of black smoke reported by Acting Master Joseph
Congdon, Lieutenant F. J. Higgson and Acting Master's Mate L.A.
Corinthwait at the Court of Inquiry may have been the result of the
black powder in one of both of the powder magazines detonating or
alternately, the result of seawater dousing the coal fires in
Housatonic's boilers (Bak 1999:160) Though both black powder
detonations and boiler steam are light colored, seen in the
3/4 moonlight , they may have appeared as "dark" smoke.
As Hunley moved
in for the attack,
Engineer C.F. Mayer reported that Housatonic's engine was moving in
reverse. After Hunley's torpedo exploded, the engine raced as if the
propeller shaft had been sheared (Bak 1999:164). The probable area
of attack (figure9.2) includes two couplings in the propeller shaft.
These couplings joined different sections of the shaft that were
manufactured and installed in Housatonic separately. While it
is possible that the detonation of the charge and sec9ndary
detonation of one or both of the powder magazines snapped the shaft
itself, because the couplings are the weakest links in the propeller
shaft, it is more likely that Housatonic's propeller shaft was
broken at one or both of the couplings as a result of the attack.
the Housatonic crew states that the submarine was too low in the
water and too close to the ship to bring the ship's large guns to
bear when it was finally spotted (Bak 1999:158) In addition to
being beneath the large guns, attacking at the stern, where the turn
of the hull was most pronounced, protected the submarine from some
small arms fire during the time it was closest to the hull.
Ensign Craven for example, reported that he had to lean over the
rail to fire at the submarine as it closed under the counter of the
hull (BAK 1999:158) Shielded from small arms fire, Dixon was
able to press the assault home, and this certainly contributed to
the overall effectiveness of the attack.
In contrast to
the October attack by David against New Ironsides, observers on
Housatonic reported that there was no water plume from Hunley's
torpedo explosion - evidence that the explosion was dampened by the
ships hull and or the water depth at which the charge was delivered.
The force of the explosion was not dissipated upwards, but instead
was directed into Housatonic's interior, indicating a precise charge
placement well below the waterline beneath the hull where it would
have maximum effect. On February 20, 1864, just three days
after the attack, Canandaigua's captain Joseph Green, reported the
after part of Housatonic's spar deck appeared to have been entirely
blown off (Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in
the War of the Rebellion [ORN]ser.1:15:331) Ten months after
the attack. on November 27, 1864, Lieutenant Churchill's salvage
divers reported that all bulkheads aft of the mainmast were
completely demolished- further evidence of the explosions
effectiveness and the manner in which it propagated through the ship
(ORN ser. 1:15:334)
Joseph Congdon's and Master's Mate L.A. Corinthwait's eye witness
accounts reported pieces of deck thrown into the air as high as the
mizzenmast top. Ensign C.H. Craven reported the entire starboard
side of the quarter deck aft the mizzenmast as well as furniture
from the wardroom were floating , and he surmised that the whole
starboard side of the ship aft of the mizzenmast had been blown off
)Bak 1999:160-161) a;; all evidence that the explosion's force
exceeded that expected from the torpedo charge alone.
eyewitness accounts, there is indirect historical evidence that the
explosion was well placed and larger than the expected torpedo
charge. All accounts agree that Housatonic sank three to five
minutes following the explosion. In three to five minutes,
enough water was taken onboard to sink a 205 ft. long ship of almost
2000 tons displacement, and this argues persuasively for massive
damage to Housatonic's hull integrity resulting from the attack.
calm seas of February 17 were necessary to allow the four-mile
approach fro9m Breach Inlet for the relatively underpowered
submarine. Moreover, it is plausible that, following the
attack, Hunley may have been waiting for the tide to change before
attempting to return to shore when events overcame the crew and sent
the submarine to the bottom for the third and final time. The
second full moon of 1864 was February 22 and on February 17, it was
more that 3/4 full. The bright moon had a mixed tactical
effect; it allowed the attacking Hunley to clearly distinguish the
anchored Housatonic, yet, at the same time , allowed the Union
lookouts to see the submarine as it closed to attack. Had
Dixon waited for a darker night, the submarine might not have been
spotted until it actually drove the torpedo home. Had the
submarine not been spotted until it had effectively placed it
torpedo at or adjacent to the powder magazines, it might have
escaped unscathed from the encounter and made it safely back
to the lighted beacon fire at Breach Inlet.
through breaks in the barrier islands reach their maximum rate
during periods of full and new moons.
outgoing tide may have assisted Dixon and his crew in reaching the
softer, more easily damaged targets of the outer blockade line, but
it would have necessitated a wait for the incoming tide to return to
shore after the attack. This may explain the observed
proximity of Hunley to the wreck of Housatonic following the
attack--the submarine was awaiting the incoming tide when it sank.
A 1988 Model of the H L Hunley.
interesting to look back in time and correct what was considered to
be fact from fiction. Eighteen years after Lee Spence discovered the
location of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley there has been a
never ending interest in the lost ship. The following is a
history of the Hunley that was included in the box as instructions
on building this LONE STAR MODEL titled:
of the H. L. Hunley.
The story of
the Confederate submarine, H. L. Hunley, begins before the battle
for New Orleans.
was actually the third submarine know to have been built during the
American Civil War.
"necessity is the mother of invention", and the Hunley and her
predecessors were a true reflection of this idea. It was hoped
that it would be possible to wreck havoc with the Union fleet and
thus lift the blockade's stranglehold on the Confederate port of New
Orleans, The first submarine was the "Pioneer" and was
intended to be a privateer, but before the tiny ship could be
refined and all of the bugs worked out, she was scuttled to prevent
her capture by Union forces when New Orleans fell.
then moved their operation to Mobile, Alabama. At Mobile, a
new boat was built. The second ship was called the "American
Diver" and was 25 to 30 feet long. She was lost in a storm in
Mobile Bay. The third boat started life as a four foot
diameter boiler, twenty five feet long. The boiler was split
on both sides for the full lengthy and a 12 inch piece added to give
more head room. Swedged pieces were then added to each end and
were approximately five feet long. To these were attached cast
end caps. A 12" wide piece was also added to the top of the hull for
the full length of the boiler.
a box with
two snorkel tubes was amid ships with entry hatches towards both
ends. The hatches had combings with four viewing ports.
The commander of the boat was at the front station and steered the
boat, with the second in command at the rear hatch station.
Ballast tanks were fitted internally at both ends.
Unfortunately for many, they were left open at the top. The
commander and his assistant at the rear had pumps with which to
empty the tanks and allow the ship to rise. Sole armament
consisted of a "spar torpedo". This was a copper
canister holding 90 pounds of explosive, with a percussion or
friction primer mechanism for detonation.
consisted of eight men sitting on opposite sides of the boat to
enable them to turn a long offset hand crank. This
"manpower" supplied the sole means of propulsion of the ship.
was also a dangerous ship to operate. The Hunley first sank on
'August 29, 1863 and claimed five lives. She was raised and on
October 15, 1863, she she sank again this time taking Captain Hunley
and seven others to their graves.
The last loss
of life aboard the Hunley occurred on February 17, 1864. The
Hunley, after sinking the U.S.S. Housatonic, was seen to be moving
off, but something went wrong and she sank, this time not to be
raised again. Her location is uncertain, but somewhere on the
bottom of Charleston Harbor lies the worlds first successful
submarine and her brave crew.
the Waves - A History of the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley, by
of the Civil War - Author Unknown
History of the
Confederate States Navy - j. Thomas Sharf
to Bob Holcombe (Curator of the Confederate Naval Museum for his
help with information in the preparation of this ket.
Original Message -----
Wednesday, March 29, 2006 4:56 PM
Re: 1988 Hunley Model
I am including it in an article that I am
writing for my newsletter. Comparing what we knew in '88 as to
what we know now. If you are the designer of this one and are
you planning to come out with another updated model. What got
you interested in doing the Hunley. Did you sell a lot of
them. Was there a lot of interest in the Hunley in the 80's. Do
you still have your plans and notes and would you like to get
rid of them. Do you have any more of these models lying
around??? Thanks, George W. Penington Webmaster and
Editor of the Hunley.com website and Newsletter.
(See Newsletter 47 for more about Chapman Print)
original kit that you have was based on dimensions and written
information and the color painting of the Hunley sitting on a
dock. I misinterpreted the painting and now knowing what the boat
looks like the painting is very accurate. I already have made an
updated model since the Hunley was raised. I did sell many and the
Hunley was one of my most popular ship kits.
I sold the
rights to all of my Civil War ship model line to Rusty White of
Flag Ship models in Oklahoma late last year. I no longer make this
or any other ships. As to any drawings etc. I had the book Danger
Beneath the Waves as one of my sources.
West/Lone Star Models
Full Size Hunley Model
outside the Charleston Museum built in 60's
Hull Halves from Lone Star
Hunley Bank from the 60's
tour PLANNED by bus of
Confederate Naval sites
I am planning a one week tour by bus of Confederate
Naval sites and
museums from Wilmington (and Kinston), NC to Charleston, SC;
Savannah, GA; Columbus, GA; and ending in Mobile, AL. The cost
estimates per person are $1500 to $2000 to include transportation,
lodging, meals, and admissions. Participants will have to get to
Wilmington and home from Mobile. If enough persons sign up I can
line it up for this October, otherwise it will be October 2007.
interested please contact me by return e-mail
Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2006 2:47 AM
Subject: pictures and names
I saw a
few pictures of the men and names that were on the Hunley when
it went down. The name I was looking at is Becker it looks
like a friend that I have who has the name of Becker.
I find the list of names and the pictures of the men who died
on the Hunley when it went down.
I've been busy re-building some of my
site and will see what else I may have, you could also try
www.hunley.org . If I find anything else I will let you
know. George W. Penington Webmaster and Editor of the
www.thehunley.com and the Hunley.com free monthly newsletter.
----- Original Message -----
From: "James Lynch" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 8:31 PM
Subject: middle name
I think his name was Edward,
George Edward Dixon. Thanks Jim Lynch
James..Thanks for responding...I've had a lot of guesses on
Dixon...all over the map. Do you have any documentation about
Edward being the middle name. George
Original Message -----
Sunday, March 05, 2006 7:55 PM
George E Dixon
surmise the E stands for Edwin...I may be wrong.
Robert E Pardi
I am not
sure what this following letter refers to: GWP
----- Original Message
Sunday, March 05, 2006 5:05 PM
Subject: RE: Hunley Newsletter #61 Clemson Takes Over-
Pls. forward to a friend
started this rumor is wrong. I have a Master of Arts in Civil
War History and I have seen the Hunley numerous times at the
Naval Base in Charleston. The sub has already been cleared of
bodies and artifacts. This was accomplished by numerous
anthropologists that were secured by NUMA (Clive Cussler) and
specially selected others. Anthropologists from The University
of South Carolina assisted in removing all of the artifacts from
the sub. The only thing left to restore the is insuring that the
steel hull does not break down in oxygen after it is removed
from it's controlled water tank. If you need any more
information on the Hunley, seek the advice of an expert. Coach
Neal Original Message----- From: The Hunley.com Newsletter [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 6:32 PM To: email@example.com
are available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m.
Sundays. Tours are not available on weekdays so that
the archaeologists can continue their preservation
Tickets are $10 plus a service
charge and can be purchased by either calling
1-877-448-6539 or on the Internet at
Children under 5 are free. Tickets can be purchased in
advance, and walk-up tickets are also available on a
first-come, first-served basis.
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