1) Welcome to the new Hunley Newsletter

Midshipmen, Staff Re-Create Turtle Submersible"



A special welcome to all the new subscribers. This newsletter is published every two weeks so no one is bombarded with mail.  This issue is about some submarine history starting back with the "Turtle".  The Civil War was a tough time as all wars are and I just want to thank our troops in IRAQ for what they do to allows us our freedom. I have the freedom to write this newsletter and we all have the freedom to read it.  so "THANK YOU TROOPS AND GET ON HOME"     Comments and feedback are always welcome.

This weeks special at The Hunley store

Free Hunley Pin with any order over $10.00 offer ends May 1 2003





by George W. Penington   The

At the outset of the Civil War, the Union Navy and the Southern Confederacy embarked on somewhat comparable courses of submersible craft development which, resulted in a race to produce a successful submersible weapon.

Americans, as we were before the war, were involved in the development of undersea vessels

David Bushnell's Turtle- first use of a submersible vessel in combat against an enemy warship.

Robert Fulton's Nautilus- developed the first practical navigable submersible vessel, and demonstrated that a ship was capable of controlled underwater navigation and could be built and used to meet limited military targets. ( ) 
The Confederacy was building: Pioneer,   
American Diver
H.L. Hunley
James McClintock's first successful use of a submersible vessel to destroy an enemy naval vessel under combat conditions.
The Union was building  the Alligator, and later the Intelligent Whale. The original mission for the Alligator was for it to be transported to Hampton Roads to face the Confederate Ironclad CSS Virginia, but ran into logistical problems.

Intelligent Whale Was hand-propelled, and steered by horizontal and vertical rudders. Wooden doors on the bottom allowed a diver to exit with a mine. She was purchased by the U.S. Navy in 1869, and brought to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for testing. In September 1872, in her only official Navy test, Intelligent Whale flooded. The crew escaped, but the Navy's interest in her ceased.
Length: 28 feet, 8 inches
Beam: 7 feet
Operating crew: 6 to 13
Displacement: 2 tons
Submerged endurance: 10 hours
Buoyancy Control: Water buoyancy control; Compressed air for positive buoyancy and sea water for negative buoyancy


The Civil War and particularly the South needed a manned submersible in combat and to accomplish this they needed three design factors to work.:

1) a workable and buildable design and a construction method.  
2) a design and construction of a weapon to be employed by the submersible, and
3) a system to deliver the weapon.

 The vitals for underwater survival included the design and construction of an air supply system including a possible storage method and certainly replenishment, a ballast method and balance arrangement with a regulator, design for steering and depth control, and instruments for navigation and depth gauging.

 (A self-powered propulsion system capable of operation while running submerged was a challenge that had not been completed. )

Bushnell had designed into his vessel the new innovation of hand powered (Manual power was the primary means of propulsion for the vessels built before and during the war) "oar[s]...based upon the principle of the screw"

There were three types of tactical delivery of an explosive weapon: 

1)  A time-delay explosive charge (a limpet mine) carried on the outside of the boat and manually attached to the hull of the enemy vessel  ( Bushnell's Turtle;)

2)   The towing of a contact torpedo in the wake of the torpedo craft in which the idea was to detonate the charge by diving beneath the target in such a way that the charge would collide with the target; and

3)  The bow-mounted spar torpedo concept originated by Fulton.

McClintock's series of boats would utilize all tthe above methods at various stages to develop three classes of ships.
A) a modified surface craft
B) steam-powered semi-submersible boats (or "davids "), and
C) hand-powered boats capable of complete submergence such as H.L. Hunley.


While the Union was bogging down in typical Naval bureaucratic hindrances, the Confederates, not fully organized and desperate, benefited from private development by licensing and authorizing privateers.

 James McClintock and Baxter Watson's New Orleans-built Pioneer was considered an experimental prototype of the H.L. Hunley.  NOTE: The Pioneer was the only submersible provided with a letter of marque and reprisal by the Confederate States.

 At least four Confederate boats, American Diver, H.L. Hunley, St. Patrick, and the unnamed vessel or vessels constructed at the Tredegar Iron Works, were either built at government facilities or with the assistance of military personnel. McClintock's Hunley and John P. Halligan's St. Patrick, were seized as a result of the military's disenchantment and impatience with their civilian operators. The vessels built at Tredegar were the only boats constructed under a full-fledged Confederate Navy Department building program, but did not prove successful.

Submersible ship construction was initiated in four areas:

A) Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia,

B) The Leeds Foundry in New Orleans, Louisiana

C) The Park & Lyons Machine Shops in Mobile, Alabama

D) The Confederate naval facilities at Selma, Alabama .

"...thoroughly impressed with the intelligence of Mr. McClintock, and with his knowledge of all points chemical and mechanical connected with torpedoes and submarine vessels...He is, I believe, entirely self-taught, and was much employed by the Confederates on torpedo work, on which he has much practical information which he seems ready to communicate. He hates his countrymen, Americans, and hopes to some day be a British subject ("Report on a submarine boat invented by Mr. McClintock of Mobile, U.S. of America," PRO, Adm. Series 1/6236, File 39455)."


McClintock admitted that his boats suffered from three basic problems: the lack of a self-propelling motive power, inaccurate compass readings, and an inability to measure the horizontal movement while running submerged.

"...One difficulty which Mr. McClintock very frankly pointed out was the uncertain action of the compass in such a vessel...He also pointed out another requirement which he had not succeeded in applying - rather from want of means than from want of skill, or from any great difficulty in the requirement [illegible]. He states that when under weigh beneath the surface, it is quite impossible to ascertain whether the vessel is progressing as there are no passing objects by which to recognize the fact of motion; on several occasions when experimenting with his boat they continued working the crank while all the time the boat was hard and fast in the mud ("Report on a submarine boat invented by Mr. McClintock of Mobile, U.S. of America," PRO, Adm. Series 1/6236, File 39455).


Figure1. One of the 1872 drawings of McClintock's submarine design, from the Public Record Office. This sketch presents an external elevation view of the boat (PRO Adm. Ser. 1/6236, File 39455). 



  mercurial syphon gauge

Internal plan view and cross section drawing of McClintock's submarine designFigure 2.Another of the PRO drawings, this one showing the internal plan view of the boat and a transverse cross-section at the aft face of the forward bulkhead. "The pilot is represented looking through a bull's eye, his right hand on the vertical steering control, and his left on the lever for working an ordinary stern rudder... The depth being constantly indicated on an ordinary mercurial syphon gauge fixed immediately opposite the pilot--one end of which is open to the outside water--each 1/2 inch of mercury represents about one foot of immersion." (PRO Adm. Ser. 1/6236, File 39455)

Enclosed with their intelligence summary were copies of McClintock's letters of endorsement from former Confederate officers Matthew F. Maury, James E. Slaughter, J.D. Johnstone, Raphael Semmes, and P. Murphy. But perhaps the most valuable piece of historical evidence is the four page narrative, written in McClintock's own hand, describing the construction of the three boats he designed and saw built during the war.


Major General Maury, CSA, commanding troops at Mobile, wired Secretary of War Seddon: "Farragut has gone North. The Hartford and other heavy vessels have disappeared from down bay." Maury also commented on John P. Halligan, builder of torpedo boat Saint Patrick.' "Halligan, recently appointed lieutenant, has not yet used his torpedo boat. I do not believe he ever will. His boat is reported a most valuable invention." Next day, Maury wrote Commodore Farrand, commanding naval forces at Mobile: "Every opportunity and facility having been afforded Mr. Halligan to enable him to use his boat against the enemy, and he evidently not being a proper man to conduct such an enterprise, please order a suitable officer of your command to take charge of the Saint Patrick at once and attack without unnecessary delay." In January 1865 Saint Patrick was transferred to Maury's authority and an energetic young naval officer, Lieutenant John T. Walker, put in command.



TB:  l. 30';  cpl. 6;  a. 1 torpedo


ST. PATRICK, a submersible torpedo boat which could "be sunk and raised

as desired " was built privately at Mobile, Ala., by John P. Halligan in

1864. She was transferred to the Confederate States Army on January 24th

1865, but placed under the command of Lt. J. T. Walker, CSN. An hour

after midnight on  January 28 this little vessel struck the Federal ship

OCTORARA abaft her wheelhouse with a torpedo which misfired and did no

damage. When the Federals returned artillery and musket fire ST. PATRICK

escaped to the protection of the Confederate batteries at Mobile.

Major General Maury, CSA, commanding troops at Mobile, wired Secretary of War Seddon: "Farragut has gone North. The Hartford and other heavy vessels have disappeared from down bay." Maury also commented on John P. Halligan, builder of torpedo boat Saint Patrick: " Halligan, recently appointed lieutenant, has not yet used his torpedo boat. I do not believe he ever will. His boat is reported a most valuable invention." Next day, Maury wrote Commodore Farrand, commanding naval forces at Mobile: "Every opportunity and facility having been afforded Mr. Halligan to enable him to use his boat against the enemy, and he evidently not being a proper man to conduct such an enterprise, please order a suitable officer of your command to take charge of the Saint Patrick at once and attack without unnecessary delay." In January 1865 Saint Patrick was transferred to Maury's authority and an energetic young naval officer, Lieutenant John T. Walker, put in command.

Saint Patrick (Confederate torpedo boat, 1864-1865)

Saint Patrick, a small semi-submersible torpedo boat, was privately built at Selma, Alabama, in 1864. Operating under the Confederate Army's control, but with a C.S. Navy commanding officer, she attacked USS Octorara in Mobile Bay on 28 January 1865. However, her torpedo misfired, and the Union ship was not damaged. St. Patrick was able to escape the return fire and return to Mobile.


As the war entered its fourth year, Halligan’s Saint Patrick joined the battle, making an unsuccessful attack against the U.S.S. Octorora in Mobile Bay. The Saint Patrick ended the war running supplies under the blockading squadron to the outlying forts ringing the Bay. In the final act of the Civil War, Union naval forces were sent up the Red River to Shreveport to demand the surrender of the C.S.S. Missouri and a small CSN squadron stationed there. The Confederate squadron included four boats of the Singer Submarine Corps, of which the Union ships had been warned. By the time the Yankee sailors arrived, however, the submarines had all been scuttled.

A Gallery of Civil War Submarines
(generated imagery courtesy of and copyright 2000 Daniel Dowdey,

Pioneer I

Pioneer I

Pioneer II (above)
C.S.S. Hunley





U.S.S. Alligator
Paddled design (top)
Screw Propeller (below)

Intelligent Whale

Excerpts borrowed from: Submarines in the Civil War - NOTES ABOUT THE TURTLE  By Chuck Veit


 Midshipman recreate the "Turtle"    Thu 2/6/2003

OLD SAYBROOK (AP)- With the ceremonial snap of a chalk line, a high school project to build a working replica of the country's first submarine is under way.  In the very town where the underwater warship was constructed and launched 226 years ago, a crowd of television people, school officials, historians and a direct descendant of the builder looked on as two
students found the centerline on the plan for the primitive craft, dubbed the "Turtle."
More than 50 people squeezed in the high school's workshop, among workbenches and electric saws, where the six-foot high submersible is to be built. High School Principal Scott Shoemaker and National Maritime Historical Society Director David Allen thanked a long list of supporters for the role in launching the groundbreaking project.
The History Channel plans to document the building of the vessel.
Looking on was shop teacher Fred Frese, who built the first replica of the Turtle in 1977.
"Fred is probably one of the few in the country that can build this thing," Allen said. "There's very little information written down for plans, but Fred has done it before and we know he can do it again."
Frese first took on the project a year after David Bushnell's notes became public record at Yale University, Bushnell's alma mater. The replica is on display at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex.
Frese and the nine-student construction team will also use Bushnell's four-page description of the Turtle to Thomas Jefferson and a set of notes from Benjamin Franklin.
Bushnell, a Saybrook native, built the Turtle in 1776, launching it in the Connecticut River off Ayers Point.
The barrel shaped craft, looking like two tortoise shells joined together, was piloted by Old Lyme's Ezra Lee.
The country's first submersible had but a single mission - to attach a bomb to the hull of a British warship during the Revolutionary War. The Turtle had its chance in the Hudson River in September of 1776, but the mission failed, the bomb never reaching its target.
Frese of East Haddam has been in contact with the school for the last two years, urging them to help him with the project. The project was slated for Sept. 7 but was set back by the events of Sept. 11 and budget constraints. The effort moved ahead when Frese was
hired this year as the part-time high school technology education teacher.
But the biggest boost came when Leighton Lee, president of the Lee Corp. in Westbrook, gave $10,000 toward the project. After signing the ceremonial check during the Wednesday ceremony, Lee presented the school with an 1899 book of "David Bushnell and his
American Turtle" to add to the school's library.  Once the sub is completed, the New York Maritime Historical Society will take it into schools across the country. When the actual construction begins, the History Channel will be there to tape it.
Also on hand was Roy Manstan, manager at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. When the vessel is launched, it will manned by a diver and will be equipped with state-of-the-art electronics to monitor its progress. Later, it will be used in a battle recreation on the Hudson River in an attempt to find out what went wrong over 200 years ago.
The high school students and faculty will help write the curriculum that goes along with the traveling exhibit and a Web site devoted to the project.
Frese hopes the construction project will be completed by the end of the school year but will incorporate other historic and archaeological programs in the school to include over 200 students.
Jocelyn Wallace, a high school junior and the only girl on the planning and construction team, said she has enjoyed working alongside Frese. "We're going to do it right, so it's going to take
some time," she said. "I'm glad we're working with Mr. Frese on it - he's one of those teachers you can talk to and get along with."
High school student John Bushnell, a direct descendant of David Bushnell, said he'll be helping with the project and has been asked to sit in the vessel when it's launched.
"I'm definitely not going to be in it underwater, though - no way," he said.

4) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - "Midshipmen, Staff Re-Create Turtle Submersible"

Midshipmen, Staff Re-Create Turtle Submersible
Story Number: NNS030204-08
Release Date: 2/4/2003 10:02:00 PM

By Judy Campbell, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The peach-shaped, wooden submersible slipped beneath the waves of Snug Harbor, Duxbury, Mass., on a cold January morning.

Two midshipmen and a professor from the naval architecture and ocean engineering department stood among the crowd ashore, watching the re-creation of the launch of the first American submersible, Turtle.

Originally designed in great secrecy by David Bushnell of Saybrook, Conn., in 1776, Turtle was the first American submersible to be deployed in war. The U.S. Naval Academy, Massachusetts College of Art, the Timber Framers Guild, Virginia Military Institute and expert artisans collaborated on the re-creation, which will be featured on the Discovery Channel's Reinventing the Past.

In August 2002, Michael Barnes, a producer for the documentary, contacted professor Lew Nuckols of the naval architecture and ocean engineering department.

Rick and Laura Brown, professors at Massachusetts College of Art, were planning to re-create Turtle from two solid pieces of wood. Since there are no surviving plans from Bushnell, this was a "new" way of building Turtle.

Previous incarnations had employed a barrel-type construction with bent staves. Nuckols was asked to bring an engineer's perspective to the project.

"The folks at Massachusetts College of Art are great artists and craftsmen, but they don't have an engineering background, a perspective that the project greatly needed," said Nuckols, who quickly involved his ocean engineering class and Lt. Cmdr. Rich Schoenwiesner's underwater work systems class.

Both instructors said the project fit what their classes were learning about the principles of underwater vehicles.

"The project allowed the group to take what they have learned in their ocean engineering classes and apply it to a real-world project and a project that has particular significance to the Navy," said Schoenwiesner.

Nuckols, Schoenwiesner and Midshipmen 1st Class Jim Vandevort and Doug Raineault flew to Boston Jan. 6 to meet with the construction team and add their engineering expertise to the end stages of construction and testing.

Standing about seven-feet tall and six-feet wide, the hand-hewn wooden hull was hanging from the rafters at Rick and Laura Brown's Handshouse Studio. Art students and Timber Framers Guild members were everywhere, working on brass fittings, wrought-iron bracings, the wooden bomb and the Turtle.

Workers were melting and pouring lead for the ballast, doing metal work for the ballast pumps and being interviewed by the production crew.

Finally, the Turtle was ready for in-water testing. At nearly 4:45 a.m. Jan. 10, Turtle was lowered into the water with a Timber Framers Guild member at the helm. Onshore, Vandevort and Schoenwiesner stood by in scuba gear in case of an emergency. Turtle drafted as predicted and had minimal leakage. The pumps, valves and propeller were all tested and found to be in superb working order.

Currently, drag testing is ongoing at the academy with a model made by the midshipmen with help from the academy's Technical Support Department. The Turtle will be brought to Annapolis for tank testing in the spring.

The midshipmen agree the teamwork and openness displayed at the construction site combined with the practical knowledge gained in pumps and ballast made this experience their best academic week.

Nuckols said, "The project continues to help focus engineering fundamentals into a real world design and keeps student enthusiasm for underwater engineering high."

Submitted by: Mike Burleson   
Charleston SC


From: jdzullo
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2003 7:04 PM

I was watching the Antique Roadshow on channel 8 on sat April 5 and they had a few things about H.L. Hunley. And it had a book on it It was either called The Captain And The Hunley or The Captain And The Submarine by Ruth Duncan.  I was wanting to find out about it. They said it was extremely rare. So I was wondering if there would be anyway to find it? Thank You, Mrs Enid Zullo

 NOTE:  The research answer is below

Hello there…..sorry it took so long to get back to you, but it took awhile to find what you were looking for. Hope this information will help.  If you get a copy let me know.  Thanks for the interest and stay in touch.  George W. Penington

  Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2003 12:06 PM

My Brother forwarded your email letter to me as I have been researching our family tree.

I have found that John Hunley married Louisa H. Lawson on 2/20/1822 and had two children, Horace (12/29/1823) and Volumina 1825. Horace was the son of John Hunley (my 6th Great Uncle). John was the son of Henry Joseph Hundley(1747) and Mary Johnson. They had ten children, Nehemiah (1778 was my direct line), Archabald (1785), William (1780), Arabella, John, Nancy (1779), Polly & Patty (1787 twins), Robert and Amos.

Volumina Hunley married Robert Ruffin Barrow in 1850 and they had two children, Volumina Roberta (1/8/1854) and Robert Ruffin Jr. (1/25/1857)

Nehemiah Hundley (1727) fought in the Revolutionary War under General McIntosh in the 13th Virginia Regiment. Peter Meredith Hundley(1825) fought in the Civil War, Peter was the Great Grandson of Nehemiah.

This is some of the information I have gathered with the help of relatives and I have documentation to prove all of this.

Just thought you might be interested.  I would like to receive your news letters, thank you.

Barbara Jean Hunley Freitag

Hello there and thanks for writing.  Sorry it took so long to get back to you.  While I was doing research for the next newsletter, I came across this information and thought I would forward it in case you missed it. In "The Captain and Submarine CSS H. L. Hunley" by Ruth H. Duncan, 1965, there is an extensive list of H. L. Hunley's ancestors.


William HUNLEY

— Anthony HUNLEY —


— Unknown

— Unknown —



— Unknown





— Unknown

— Unknown —



— Unknown

— William HUNLEY

— Ann DUPUY ——————


— Unknown

— Unknown —



— Unknown





— Unknown

— Unknown —



— Unknown


Notes  !SOURCE: Bobbie Wright, 2750 Branch Rd., Loudon, TN

Much of the information regarding William & Luctreia Hunley and their
descendants is taken from : "THE CAPTAIN & THE SUBMARINE" by Ruth H.
Duncan, in which she gives information copied in 1964 from the
HUNLEY/WINN Bible owned by Mrs. Willis Hunley Winn of Lauderdale Co., TN.

  George W. Penington


"The Captain and submarine CSS H. L. Hunley"

Title: The Captain and submarine CSS H. L. Hunley. Author: Duncan, Ruth Henley.   Published: Memphis, Author, c1965. Edition: 1st. ed., manufactured by S. C. Toof & Co.
·         Hunley, Horace Lawson, 1823-1863.   ·         Hunley family.   ·         H.L. Hunley (Submarine)
         United States --History --Civil War, 1861-1865 --Naval operations --Submarine.
Material: 109 p. illus. Note: Copies no. 120-121 of the first edition. Other ID no: 374651 System ID no: ABF-9889  Holdings:  Central/4thFl-History   CALL NUMBER: 92 H936D -- BOOK -- Checked-in  Central/4thFl-Memphis Room   CALL NUMBER: [MPHS RM] 92 H937D -- REF BOOK -- NonCirculating/NonRequest


 -----Original Message-----
From: Ron and Glynnis
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 5:42 PM
Subject: Recovery

Dear Sir,               Has the Hunley been recovered yet ? If not are there any plans to raise her soon? I saw the reproduction outside the museum in Charleston a few year back , very impressed, what brave men they were !

Best wishes, Ron

Oh Absolutely….The whole site is about the recovery and restoration efforts underway.  Take your time and browse around.  Also you may want to sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date.  Thanks for your interest and stay in touch. 

George W. Penington

HEW!!...Had to be kind about that one...LOL

-----Original Message-----
From: druhin
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 9:35 PM
Subject: PLease Help me...

Dear Sir or Mam,

    My name is Jesse E Dixon, and I would like to find out as much info about Lt. Dixon as I can. I have been looking into my family past for three years now and have found out that my fathers side has strong ties to the south. I will not go as far as to say that I'm related to Lt.Dixon, but my interest has been peaked. If you can please help me in any way that would be great. You can email me At:                                   

    Thanks So Much,    Jesse Dixon

Hello Jesse….sorry it took so long to get back to you. I need to go through the guest books because there was some other Dixons that signed in.  If you like I can post this letter in the bi-monthly newsletter and see what kind of response we get.  You may also want to write Mark Ragan  [ ]  Good luck…let me know what you find out and stay in touch.  

George W. Penington

PS:  If you get time look through some of the back issues of the guest book, there were some Hunley's and Dixon's that signed up.  Ya'll may be the last surviving owners of the Confederate Submarine Hunley and can claim ownership.

Date: 01 Apr 2003


It is a great thing that people take such great interest in it's history. I'm glad I found this web site. Remember, not to know one's history is to remain a child. CW4 M. Suggs - Kuwait

Date: 04 Apr 2003



Date: 08 Apr 2003


when did the hunley wreck or who was in it you need more information on the submarine!

Date: 08 Apr 2003


Hi, I'm so glad I've found your site. Ever since I've heard about the Hunley sub., I've always wondered about Horace's family. Is there anything written about his family??? My name is Helen (KYER) Fest and my Grandmother, Dora Frances (Hunley) Kyer was d.o. Silas Hunley who mar. in 1896 in Monroe Co., W.Va., to Isaella Catherine Fulknier. Silas was s.o. Valentine Hunley who mar. 1835 in Virginia to Mary Merritt. If there's any cousins out there, I'd love hearing from you.

Date: 09 Apr 2003


this site stinks

Date: 10 Apr 2003


Thank you for creating this website and adding my e-mail address to your newsletter subscriber list. I am looking forward to receiving your newsletter in the future. I long for the day when the confederate submarine H. L. Hunley is appropriately displayed and becomes the centerpiece attraction for all who visit Charleston, SC. Truly, the ultimate sacrifice given by all who served their country in the Hunley deserve to be reverently remembered. Indeed, one of America's remarkable generations.

Date: 11 Apr 2003


I saw the reproduction Hunley outside the museum in Charleston a few years ago , just had my interest rekindled by a friend who lent me the video of the film . I can not imagine the bravery of men undertaking such a mission for their country , such a pity they paid the ultimate price. Let's hope they may be buried with full honors some day.

Date: 12 Apr 2003


I just saw the National Geographic TV show about the Hunley. It was very interesting! Wanted to find out more about what happened when you opened the submarine and what you found inside. Is there a book or DVD on this subject for sale?? Thank you for all of your efforts and for bringing us all a piece of history!!!!

Date: 14 Apr 2003



Date: 14 Apr 2003


I'm just glad I found this great site i read it all i have to do a large report on the CSS H.L. Hunley and this site became my best hit. American by birth southern by the grace of god.--NS

Date: 14 Apr 2003


Hi I first heard about the Hunley from the Clive Cussler book, and then saw the recovery on Nat. Geo. TV. I wanted to find out more and found your web site. Great job. I may buy the model next! Bob Schroth Twin Peaks CA


Is to provide specialized information to those who are interested in the recovery efforts and history of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley. It is available free to anyone who might benefit from the information it contains, for example, students and history buffs. Our mailing list will always be kept private and will never be sold.

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