The Hunley.com
NEWSLETTER # 23

1) WELCOME TO THE NEW HUNLEY NEWSLETTER
2) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- The Uncivilized Engine of War
3) ARTICLE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE FORWARD HATCH
4) E-MAIL SENT TO PRODUCERS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS
5) RECENT E-MAILS

6) NEW MAP AND CHART OF THE CIVIL WAR BATTLE HISTORY     AROUND   CHARLESTON HARBOR
7) FROM THE GUEST BOOK
8) OUR PURPOSE AND GOALS

 

1) WELCOME TO THE NEW HUNLEY NEWSLETTER:

We are now publishing our newsletters in HTML. One of the primary highlights is that we can now inserts images. We hope that you will like the new newsletter.

***************** SPONSOR ***************************************************************************************

This weeks special at The Hunley store.

The Civil War at Charleston,  The new Hunley pen, and the Charleston harbor Civil War battle map by George Penington for only $20.00 plus  S&H.

www.hunleystore.com

 

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 2) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - The Uncivilized Engine of War


 Scientific American Frontiers - Mysteries of the Deep Segment 1 The Uncivilized Engine of War - about The Confederate Submarine H L Hunley.  Aired November 26 on PBS,  South Carolina Educational Television Narrated by Alan Alda

http://www.pbs.org/saf/1305/resources/transcript.htm

http://www.pbs.org/saf/1305/video/watchonline.htm

Anybody that missed this show can go to the above link and watch it online or just read the transcript. It was promoted as if it would solve the mystery of the forward hatch, but instead actually brought on more questions than answers. I think PBS has done an excellent job of making this information available to the public, but as you will see later in this newsletter there are serious problems with the facts.  I have included links where the readers can send additional comments or they can be mailed to me and I will forward them.  The pictures are either press photo’s or made available from the CSS H L Hunley Club.

 

3) ARTICLE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE FORWARD HATCH
The following is an excerpt from the transcript where Alan Alda is discussing the forward hatch with Paul Mardikian.

PAUL MARDIKIAN This is the cover of the forward hatch here, okay? And this is the hatch itself. Now, if you measure this. At the front of the conning tower, there's a gap. If you play on the density, you see it is black. It means that there's no density. That's rubber. This is a rubber seal that sealed the submarine closed.

ALAN ALDA Now why is the rubber thicker here than it is over here?

PAUL MARDIKIAN You are going to draw the conclusion yourself.

ALAN ALDA I am guessing there was some kind of a leak here or some kind of a separation.

PAUL MARDIKIAN Or it's open.

ALAN ALDA It's open? You think it's definitely open?

PAUL MARDIKIAN My theory is that this is unlocked. The closing mechanism is unlocked.

ALAN ALDA The hinge is over here. So it's compressing this part of the rubber, but it's not compressing this because it's not tied down.

PAUL MARDIKIAN And the rubber itself has a tendency to pop up

ALAN ALDA ...pushes back if you're not locking it in place.

PAUL MARDIKIAN Exactly. You've got it.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATOR) If the crew really did signal their success on the surface after the attack - which means they'd survived their own explosion - then something subsequently made them dive the boat. Maybe in a hurry, rushing to avoid an approaching ship, they didn't fully lock the hatch, it sprang open…we'll probably never know. Somehow this "engine of war not recognized by civilized nations" -- as a Union admiral described it -- went to the bottom.

We know from information that has been released that the aft hatch is latched closed.

 The forward latch is not engaged and an x-ray shows the hatch is slightly opened a small amount, less than one degree.  The forward hatch was neither latched nor closed all the way which is vital to reconstruct what happened the night of February 17, 1864.

We know from witness accounts that the blue light signal was given.
Did the hatch never get fully closed after giving the lamp signal? Did this somehow contribute to the sinking or was the Hunley already lethally damaged.  The signal may have been their last act before diving.

Did something else happen, like the Canandaigua coming along and swamping her?
Dixon was in command from the forward hatch, was he trying to get the hatch open to escape after the Hunley started sinking

The theory that the Hunley may have been running submerged or waiting it out on the floor of the harbor for the Canandaigua and other rescue vessels to leave the area has been discussed. 


The theory that the interior stayed dry by evidence of stalactites has been discussed.  Some have said no that stalagmites or “rustites” were found on the Titanic as well.  If the hatch was open even a little bit did the interior stay dry as long as the stalagmites would suggest it did or were there just air pockets that lasted for years?

My opinion is that the hatch had to have leaked like a sieve.  The evidence is strong that there was no catastrophic breach of the hull until years later.  The analysis of the Hunley interior sediments shows that several hull penetrations happened latter: Does it seem likely that Dixon would have intentionally gone for the bottom with the hatch unlocked, no matter how heavy it was.                                                                            

Maria Jacobsen has stated that it was not possible for him to look out the hatch portholes when the latch was engaged. You can’t fit your head in the conning tower with the latch locked down.  Therefore Dixon left it unlatched for surface operations

A more quantitative assessment of how much air there was in the sub while it lay on the bottom has not been made available.  Even if there was no hull breach there is doubt whether they would have been able to surface the boat after a collision.

The Hunley controlled her depth using a combination of two things: the ballast tanks and the dive planes. The normal mode of operation was to trim the tanks to neutral buoyancy and then use the planes to control the depth.

If the propeller shaft was damaged the dive planes were rendered useless without forward motion. The command had to be given to close the hatches and latch them down when suddenly, the boat was pushed underwater causing water spills out of the ballast tanks into
the crew compartment.  The Sub now is suddenly in a dive mode and in order to surface the command is given to release the ballast.  The keel release mechanism fails.


A more quantitative assessment of how much air there was in the sub while it lay on the bottom has not been made available.  Even if there was no hull breach there is doubt whether they would have been able to surface the boat after a collision.

The Hunley controlled her depth using a combination of two things: the ballast tanks and the dive planes. The normal mode of operation was to trim the tanks to neutral buoyancy and then use the planes to control the depth.

If the propeller shaft was damaged the dive planes were rendered useless without forward motion. The command had to be given to close the hatches and latch them down when suddenly, the boat was pushed underwater causing water spills out of the ballast tanks into
the crew compartment.  The Sub now is suddenly in a dive mode and in order to surface the command is given to release the ballast.  The keel release mechanism fails.                                 
THE AFT TURRET-NOTE Hinge is opposite of forward hatch



Pumping out excess water may have been the only way to survive and return the ship to the surface. “Blowing the ballast” had to occur in two stages. First, one had to pump or manually bail the water back into the ballast tanks. Then once in the tanks a crewman had to pump it out of the boat. The same pump was used for both purposes with a valve to switch modes. Eight men in the dark are now faced with ………………………….

 

 

 

 

4) E-MAIL SENT TO PRODUCERS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS

 

The following is the E-mail I sent the producers and to Alan Alda about some of the more serious errors we encountered on the show.  I don’t hold Alan Alda accountable and feel he relied on and trusted in others to supply him with correct data.  Since he is the front man and the one that we see, hopefully he will make sure that corrections are made. Every fact that I have stated can be documented and proven. Sources that can cited are: RAISING THE HUNLEY by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf,  The Post and Courier,  www.hunleyarchives.org/hunley.htm,  and NUMA


To:
The Chedd-Angier Production Company

12/04/02

Scientific American Frontiers - Mysteries of the Deep Segment 1 The Uncivilized Engine of War - about The Confederate Submarine H L Hunley.  Aired November 26 on PBS,  South Carolina Educational Television Narrated by Alan alda
http://www.pbs.org/saf/1305/video/watchonline.htm

This past week Hunley discussion groups and internet sites have been thrashing out the inaccuracies and errors made during the airing of the above show which was filmed in Charleston, S.C. at the Warren Lasch Laboratory, the temporary home of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley.  Here is the first error from the transcript: http://www.pbs.org/saf/1305/resources/transcript.htm

WARREN LASCH This is all the controls for the tank area and here's the Hunley.

ALAN ALDA God, it's really...

WARREN LASCH Can you see how small it is?

ALAN ALDA It's really small.

WARREN LASCH Isn't that your first reaction? How could people get inside?

ALAN ALDA It's so tiny. How many people were in there?

WARREN LASCH Nine men.

ALAN ALDA Nine people?

WARREN LASCH Nine men.

We have known for over a year that there were only eight crewmen on board.  http://www.thehunley.com/Crew/allaccountedfor.htm

 The inaccuracy that causes the most harm and concern involves the following quote:

 

“In 1995, after a 14-year search, a team led by author and shipwreck hunter Clive Cussler found the Hunley, completely covered by silt, close to the spot where the Housatonic had gone down.” 

 

And from the transcript: http://www.pbs.org/saf/1305/resources/transcript.htm

 

ALAN ALDA (NARRATOR) But she didn't come back. She was lost. Until, that is, a team led by Clive Cussler, the author and shipwreck hunter, found the sub in 1995, after 14 years of searching. Cussler used a towed magnetometer to detect the Hunley's hull, which was completely covered by silt. The sub was further out to sea than where the Housatonic had sunk -- not where you'd expect her to be if she was already on the way back.

 

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS is produced by The Chedd-Angier Production Company in association with SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazine, and presented on PBS by Connecticut Public Television. Underwriting for the series is provided by public television viewers and PBS.

The producers Chedd-Angier call themselves one of the nation's most experienced documentary and educational television, video and multimedia production companies.  They state “Our award-winning projects, developed for adults and children alike, are produced to inform, educate and entertain.”

       Just for the record, Clive Cussler spent two weeks looking for the Hunley  in Charleston in 1980 partying on the beach and running his cabin cruiser aground on the Charleston Jetties in what he called his “Great Trauma of 80”.  The following summer he spent another two weeks in Charleston on what was called “the NUMA FOLLIES”.  When he left he was quoted as saying “We don’t know where the Hunley is, but we know where it ain’t”.  He was convinced that the Hunley was not anywhere within 2 miles of the Housatonic. Cussler did not leave Charleston before claiming as his own shipwreck discoveries in Charleston Harbor that were previously recorded by Dr. E. Lee Spence and charted by NOAA. Cussler’s plotted record of the Housatonic was over 700 yards from her actual location. Cussler did not return to Charleston until 1994 after being contacted by South Carolina Institute of Archeology and Anthropology and Mark Newell.  This third search was a total boondoggle and failure, where everything had gone wrong.  Newell called Cussler a “glory-hunting millionaire”.  In 1995, the NUMA team without Cussler at hand , but with access to additional information, went back to a site that had previously been discarded as the Hunley to claim their discovery.

Is it possible that the researchers from "Scientific American Frontiers" were unaware that Dr. E. Lee Spence discovered the Hunley prior to 1995? If they were not aware of his claim, why weren't they? The quality of their research should be held to a higher standard than that of others.

    When doing research we often count on others to provide us with vital information.  It may be possible that the full details on the Hunley were not supplied and vital information was left out about Spence's discovery. It is also possible that someone intentionally covered up or hid information from them?

And there is always a possibility that they were made aware of Spence’s claim but were told that his claim was not convincing.    If "Scientific American Frontiers" was actually aware of Spence's prior claim, did they interview him about it? There was no mention of Spence or the Hunley’s history between 1864 and 1970 on this particular segment.

 

    It could be as I’ve heard on occasion that a prejudicial authority told a naive researcher that Spence did not have sufficient documentation to substantiate his claim.  

Is it possible that someone in the government intentionally falsified the facts or simply lied by omission of the whole story? A real question would be “why would they do so?”  It would be extremely naďve to believe that wasn’t possible.   As great a job as ninety-nine point nine percent of the Friends of the Hunley, Inc. and the Hunley Commission are at doing their jobs there is the odds that information was withheld and that the researchers were spoon fed data about Cussler’s claim.

    There was an interesting fact brought out in this film.  "Cussler's" team found the Hunley at a location where they had not expected to find it. Alan Alda stated: "The Sub was further out to sea than where the Housatonic had sunk -- not where you'd expect her to be if she was already on the way back." As a researcher myself, I wondered how Cussler's team was led to looking there?

To follow a line of investigation the facts are: Spence had already published the correct location of the Hunley well prior to the Hunley's being dug up in 1995. Even Dr. Mark Newell, the official director of the 1994/95 Hunley expedition, has repeatedly stated that he used Spence's maps and that he believes Spence found the Hunley first.

    How could professional researchers smother blatant facts, credit Cussler alone, and not at least mention Spence's claim?

 

   If hypothetically Spence didn't find the Hunley first then underwater archaeologist Mark Newell did.

The question that needs to be answered is “Why did "Scientific American Frontiers" credit Cussler?”  The facts are that Newell, not Cussler, was the originator and director of the 1994/95 Hunley Search Project. Newell was an employee of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology at the time. Cussler was actually just one of many of the people involved in supporting Newell's 1994/95 search. The facts without dispute are that Newell first started searching for the Hunley years before Cussler got involved.  Documentation shows that Spence, first reported finding the Hunley in 1970, and that no one else claimed to have found it until 1994/95, when Newell once again searched for the Hunley. Newell has stated he used maps Spence had sent the State decades earlier. For further information and documentation visit:  www.hunleyarchives.org/hunley.htm

The facts record that even so, no one dug up the Hunley until after Spence had published his correct location in a book. When it was finally dug up in 1995, it was officially done as part of the expedition Newell directed.

So why are so many people, to the point of being ragingly adamant, willing to credit Cussler? Why not at least credit Newell? One opinion is that it is all economic. The dollars Cussler donates and the even larger amounts his name has helped to bring in the form of generous corporate and private donations has certainly helped many, including the Hunley, but at a very expensive fee. The price tag and final tally will be lodged somewhere between the desecration of the simple truth and the destruction of honesty; the loss of the freedom of information and the absolute entitlement to know the facts.

 A final truth remains intact: that once Dr. Mark Newell was aware of all of the facts, he proved himself to be a gentleman by crediting Spence with the discovery of the Hunley instead of trying to grab the credit for himself.  Cussler and cronies may bask in undeserved glory, but will have to live with themselves and fear that once history wrenches itself straight the truth will prevail.

The shame of it all is that the untruth is so self perpetuating that like a runaway train it is difficult to stop it, get it back on track and repair the damage that was done.  Fallacious statements told over and over are, in spite of everything, finally believed by the ones that propagate them.

George W. Penington

www.thehunley.com

 

5) RECENT E-MAILS
 

Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2002 11:49 AM
To: mistergwp@thehunley.com

Subject: Re: Hunley newsletter #22
Thanks so much for the newsletter. Very informative, well documented providing historical accuracy to what has been mostly theory over the years. Really puts the humanism back into cold hard historical fact.

One question: Have the remains of the crewmen been ceremoniously interred? If not, approximately when will this event take place?

B Johnson

Crew Burial will be in 2003   http://www.thehunley.com/Crew/Crew%20Burial%20in%202003.htm

Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 5:33 AM
To:
mistergwp@thehunley.com

Subject: Re: Hunley newsletter #22
This is in response to some of the comments I have seen on the newsletter from people saying that these men were traitors or that they were enemies of the United States. If they can not get the history straight they need to not make any comments at all. All of the men who fought in the Civil War fought for what they believed. In fact if you really look close you will find that the War was fought not over slavery but the rights of states to choose for themselves. Granted the Slave issue was not helping matters any but the southern men who fought are just as patriotic as any American they stood up for what they believe. Also as a good point to this the US Military gives campaign credit to Southern Regiments. Units that were organized as a Union unit is given a campaign streamer for the Civil War with blue on top of grey, units that were given campaign credit as a Confederate force are given a streamer that is grey on top of blue. We should remember the sacrifices that the soldiers and sailors made on both sides they both contributed to the growth and the greatness of our country. These men were NOT traitors they embellish the traits of all good men that are not afraid to stand for what they believe, they deserve the recognition and a hero’s burial no matter how you look at it.

6) NEW MAP AND CHART OF THE CIVIL WAR BATTLE HISTORY AROUND CHARLESTON HARBOR.


(Section showing Crews temporary quarters in Mt. Pleasant and the Hunley Submarine Dock at Breach Inlet)

The map based around the Civil War in Charleston Harbor has expanded to include the Stono River area. I have taken the NOAA Chart 11521 and reduced it to a manageable size of 11 x 17. The Latitudes and Longitudes are scaled so that tracking can be accurately done. Each map graphically shows the ships around the harbor and their appropriate location on specified dates. I have plotted the locations of wrecks such as the Blockade runner "Ruby" off Folly Beach. The Housatonic and the Hunley are accurately charted according to records and research that are publicly available.

Using available Naval Records and History, reports, and documents I have been able to discern the locations of such ships as the Canandaigua, the probable course of The Hunley, and the location of various other blockading ships in relation to Hunley the night of February 17, 1864. I have kept the depth gages of the waters around Charleston and have included the locations of the first and second sinking of the Hunley. All the time and research in making this map has been extremely interesting and gives a great perspective of the battles in and around Charleston Harbor from 1861-1865. The Charleston Harbor Map is available threw www.hunleystore.com

7) FROM THE GUEST BOOK
 

Date: 17 Nov 2002

Comments: Very good site I am a member of Friends of the Hunley. Is there anyway to purchase gifts off of your website? When I was there in Nov. I saw some articles that I would like to purchase as Christmas gifts. wrhunt@whro.net


Date: 18 Nov 2002

Comments: As I viewed your photographs and read your articles, I was overcome with how much these men gave in service to the Confederacy. What magnificent pioneers they were and their bravery beyond comprehension. I eagerly look forward to your updates. BeverMort@aol.com


Date: 19 Nov 2002

Comments: great site


Date: 23 Nov 2002

Comments: Being a Submariner myself, I can appreciate the sacrifice and pioneering feats the crews of the CSS Hunley made. I will make it a point to visit the museum when it opens. Bryan Richardson Goose Creek,SC


Date: 23 Nov 2002

Comments: Great website! Thanks for all your hard work in bringing the news of the hunley home to us. The yamndankee ship our Hunley submarine sunk was in fact an ENEMY ship. They were enemy's to our heritage and way of life. They tried to kill us all and didn't succeed and it shows in the building of the Hunley that we weren't ignorant and we sure weren't going to stand by and do nothing. HOOORRAAAAYYY! to the hero's of the Hunley and may God raise up more lovers of freedom and DIXIE. DEO VINDICE


Date: 25 Nov 2002

Comments

Great website, super newsletter. I read Melissa N's thoughtful comments with interest, and appreciated you-alls reply. I was struck by these thoughts: the items in Lt Dixon's pockets were the things that he wanted to have with him if he died, which he must have known was a possibility given Hunley's history, and his personal experience with the elephant at Shiloh and elsewhere. I thought about my personal experiences and observations when faced with similar circumstances as a US Marine, and it occurred to me that perhaps the most fitting fate for the pinky ring, gold coin and brooch might be with the remains of Lt Dixon’ when ultimately re-interred. Perhaps an extensive laser or other mapping could allow reproduction to pains-taking accuracy, but shouldn't those things with which Lt Dixon chose to have at his final moment stay with him? I offer this only for discussion, and would like to hear other thoughts. I believe the work being done on Hunley to be historic in itself, and exceptionally valuable to this and future generations. I am a former Charlestonian, College of Charleston graduate, and history buff, too! R/tgr


 

Date: 25 Nov 2002

Comments:

Is the Hunley on public display as yet? If so, where may it be seen? I am doing sketches for my Civil War 2003 Art Calendar, and would like to find good accurate photos of the TOP SIDE, above the water-line, part of the Hunley. Thanks, Willie Smith


Date: 01 Dec 2002

Comments

I always read the "Hunley " newsletters with great interest , however it amazes me to see how the discovery of a military artifact 100 + years later can lift the lid on so many OLD wounds . In the Fall of 99 I visited the Confederate Museum - Richmond Va . And while there noticed several folks in tears while viewing the exhibits. I asked one woman - why the tears ? She replied ,that her Great Grand Daddy had been killed during the Civil War .Her Great Grand Ma mourned his death till her own passing . The story of this man had been passed down through the generations and she felt that out of respect for her long passed relative she should visit the Museum . She said , to me with gallons of flowing tears she did not EVER expect to ," go to pieces " ! . She found the reality of seeing the exhibits 1st hand brought all of her families PAIN right up to the surface .Even after 100 + years. My view is the Hunley and its crew was lost in one of modern histories most bloody battle, a long, hard, bloody war killing more men then all the wars of the 20th century combined. Having met WW2 veterans on both sides, folks should to drop the politically correct view of the Civil War. And simply focus on the fact - right or wrong, the Hunley crew members were doing there job, fighting a war under orders and nothing more. The victims of war are indeed the dead; however the death of a soldier for any cause has a long lasting legacy. Lest we forget!!! . So when the time is right, let us bury our dead with the honor and respect they deserve as military men - simply following orders!!! Let’s not kill them all over again. And let us all pray that we get through this current world crisis in one piece. A-men!!


Date: 01 Dec 2002

Comments: wonderful


Date: 03 Dec 2002

Comments

You have a super site and very informative. I am married to a girl from the 'holy city' and two of our children went to school there and now call Charleston home. We like to keep up with the events that make that area of S.C. such an interesting area to visit, plus all of the great historical information you are adding concerning the tragic events that resulted in the lost of lives on both sides during the War between the states. Congratulations on the work you have done to save this noble vessel and good luck for the preservation that lays ahead....E.M.


Date: 04 Dec 2002

Comments

Love the site! so smart and well thought out! keep it coming!

8) OUR PURPOSE AND GOALS
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.

Feel free to forward this newsletter to any friends or associates

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George W. Penington

 

 

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