The Confederate States Submarine H L Hunley
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Hunley Newsletter 29  March 7 2003

1) Welcome to the new Hunley Newsletter
2) Queenie Bennett and George Dixon – More Questions

3) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
THE "LITTLE REBEL" AND THE CAPTAIN
  
4) THE HUNLEY NEWSLETTERS 2002 E-BOOK

5)
BUILDING THE HUNLEY MODEL   
6) FROM THE GUEST BOOK
7) HOW TO VOLUNTEER
8)
”THEY WERE FIVE IN ONE COFFIN” WAS “ABSOLUM WILLIAMS” THE ONLY AFRO-AMERICAN CREWMAN
9)
The Play “Raising Blue” IS NOW IN PRODUCTION
10) OUR PURPOSE AND GOALS

 


This weeks special at The Hunley store

The Hunley store now has models. The kit was created from first hand observations and archeological measurements  to create a truly accurate and magnificent finished piece for display.  Only a small amount of modeling experience & a few tools are recommended to complete the kit.  Simple instructions included indicate what tools are necessary. (Glue and paint are not included.)  Scale is 1/72. Length 11.50". Kit number #72-001.  $29.95 each

www.hunleystore.com


1) WELCOME TO THE NEW HUNLEY NEWSLETTER

A special welcome to all the new subscribers. This newsletter is published every two weeks so no one is bombarded with mail.  It is now in html format which allows us to post pictures and text.  Sometimes they get a little heavy but if you wait patiently all the pictures should download to you. It may be best to save the letter to your computer so you can read it at your leisure. If you ever have a problem with it and need some help just write me and let me know.  We even throw in a few free computer lessons for neophytes.  If you get the urge to write articles send them on.  Comments and feedback are always welcome.

2) Queenie Bennett and George Dixon – More Questions by George W. Penington
the Hunley.com

You remember the picture of the cute young kid that they said was Dixon, Commander of one of the greatest top secret submarines the south ever had, a guy that had stamina, brains, ability to lead men to their death….. well it may not have been him or was it Dixon at an earlier age. The picture was always ‘suspect’ in that such a baby faced kid would be able to handle submarine warfare, much less a women like the “Queen” Bennett. This week new information from Senator Glenn McConnell has been released.

It appears that the family of the Queen Bennett, Dixon’s wartime sweetheart, produced some interesting memorabilia that may unravel the mystery of Dixon’s identity.

The impression is that two items, family heirlooms, which include a locket and an engraved pocket watch, may provide details into the relationship between “Queenie Bennett” and “Lt. George E. Dixon”. They are just a couple of the many Bennett keepsakes passed down through the generations.  George Bennett Walker, Jr. who had possession of the watch believed it belonged to his great-grandmother. He inherited it in the 1970’s and all this time he sat intrigued by the gold ladies pocket watch with a Swiss wind-up , an ornate case embedded with emeralds and other precious stones as a rare possession. The two pieces which were finally released this week are being used by scientists to unravel the mystery of Dixon's identity. “The miniature photograph inside the locket was found among family heirlooms held by the great-grandchildren of Queen Bennett, Dixon's sweetheart” said the family.

“He is handsome, dapper and well coiffed, with penetrating eyes and a stylish mustache that may make him appear older than he really is. His expression is serious, perhaps a reflection of the times. “  BRIAN HICKS

PHOTO PROVIDED BY GEORGE BENNETT WALKER

 

Queen Bennett's The great-grandchildren of Queen Bennett can't identify the man in the picture inside her pocket watch. They feel sure that this man is not a member of their family. Scientists working for the Hunley conservation and recovery effort will attempt to overlay the face on an image of Dixon's skull to see if this could actually be the Hunley commander. There is a remarkable resemblance to the younger man who was popularly believed to be Dixon.. 

 

 

This image was enhanced to accurately show ‘Dixon’ as a mature rugged looking character, similar to the one preserved in a locket the size of a twenty dollar gold piece for over one hundred thirty-nine years. This looks more like a “George E. Dixon”, captain of the H. L. Hunley than the younger version.  Are these pictures of the same person?

 

The photo in the locket will be now be compared to Dixon's remains, which were found inside the recovered Confederate sub. News several weeks ago stated that the face prepared by forensic scientist was already complete and that scientist were ready to put a face on the remains of the Commander but this new information may cause a  major set back.

          

Meanwhile researchers will try to trace the watch back to its source in hopes of picking up George Dixon’s whereabouts in Mobile, Ala.

Sen. McConnell is quoted as saying of the watch "This fits into the pattern of the brooch and ring found among Dixon's things. He liked nice things and could evidently afford them,” "The picture resembles descriptions of him and appears to be the way he dressed. This opens up a whole bunch of new questions."

Another interesting note is that the engraving on the watch is very similar to that of Dixon’s gold coin, particularly the “D”


3) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: THE  "LITTLE REBEL" AND THE CAPTAIN  
By Brian Hicks    Sunday, March 3, 2003
Used with permission from the Post and Courier and Charleston.Net

The pocket watch above belonged to Queen Bennett, the wartime sweetheart of Hunley commander George E. Dixon. The inscription suggests the watch was an 1862 Christmas gift. The lettering is similar to the engraving on Dixon's gold coin good luck piece, leading some to believe it was a gift from Dixon.

 Born and raised in Mobile, Queen Bennett was the oldest of Robert and Sarah Bennett's eight children. One of the oft-told stories of Queenie recounted in a contemporary newspaper article, concerned her arrest soon after the Union occupation of Mobile in 1865. Bennett and four other girls marched down to the federals' headquarters and cut the halyard holding up the U.S. flag, allowing the banner to fall to the ground. A surviving photograph of her is captioned "A little Rebel."

The most famous story of Queen Bennett, however, is the one about her lost first love, a dashing Confederate lieutenant named George E. Dixon. Few details of the story remain, but those that do elevate the story to legend.

Before the war, Dixon is believed to have worked as an auxiliary police officer and on steamboats. Bennett's father was a steamboat pilot, and that may have been how the two met.

Dixon was several years older than she, but there was a powerful connection, symbolized by a gold $20 coin that Bennett gave Dixon when he enlisted in the Confederate Army in October 1861. He carried the coin off to war in his left pants pocket.

On April 6, 1862, his company -- the 21st Alabama -- stormed the battlefield at Shiloh in West Tennessee. Early in the fighting, Dixon was shot in the leg. The coin deflected the bullet and saved his life.

Dixon had it inscribed with the date and name of the battle, his initials and the legend "My life preserver." He would carry the coin, and a limp, for the rest of his life.

Dixon was sent back to Mobile to convalesce, and there he spent more time with Bennett throughout 1862 and the first half of 1863. By day, he worked in a machine shop, where he helped build two odd contraptions the engineers called submarine boats.

The first of the fish-boats (what the rest of the guys called the subs) was lost in Mobile Bay; the second, christened the H.L. Hunley after its financier, was shipped to Charleston for use against the blockade.

After the Hunley sank twice on test runs, Dixon left Mobile and Bennett for South Carolina. Here, he salvaged and refit the Hunley and raised a third crew. All the while, he was writing letters home to Bennett.

One day, however, the letters stopped coming.

 On Feb. 17, 1864, Dixon and his crew made history when the Hunley traveled four miles off Sullivan's Island and sank the USS Housatonic, a 200-foot Union warship. It marked the first time a submarine sank an enemy ship in battle, a feat that would not be repeated for more than 50 years.

Dixon and the Hunley disappeared that night, lost until the submarine was found and raised off the Atlantic floor in August 2000.

Seven years after Dixon disappeared, Queen Bennett married and moved to Mississippi.

CLUES FROM THE PAST

Walker and his sister, Sally Necessary -- the great-grandchildren of Bennett -- had always believed that the pocket watch was far too ornate to have been a present from her father. They had even suspected that Dixon gave it to her, although they had no proof.

Their suspicions were raised while inspecting the watch last year. They opened the back of the watch's casing, where she would have inserted a key to wind it. Inside, they found this inscription: Queen Bennett, December 25th, 1862.

"When we opened that you could have heard a pin drop," Necessary said.

"I thought, 'Oh my gosh. She and Dixon were very close. He probably gave her the watch,' " Walker said.

Christmas 1862 was the last the couple spent together; in December 1863, Dixon was in Charleston.

The inscription caught the attention of people connected to the Hunley project when they saw a photograph of the engraving. The lettering is similar to the inscription on Dixon's gold coin. McConnell, Walker and Necessary suspect that Dixon might have had both engravings done at the same time.

Scientists want to know about the watch's origins, where it was manufactured and where in Mobile it might have been sold. They also want to know if it is similar to Dixon's own pocket watch, found among his belongings on the Hunley. Scientists at the Hunley lab will open Dixon's watch this week, and officials with the project say they would be thrilled to find a similar inscription.

The family plans to provide Hunley scientists access to more of Bennett's belongings, to see if they find more clues from the little Rebel.

A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER

Although Bennett's watch may provide another connection to Dixon, the locket may prove the more important find. It may finally put a face on the elusive Hunley commander.

Enhanced from Photo found in a locket owned my Queenie Bennett –Could this be Lt. George E. Dixon?

Walker and Necessary, who are well-versed in their family's history and have many photos of their ancestors, could only say that they did not recognize the man.

"We have a picture of her father, and this man looks nothing like him," Necessary said. "He could be a family member, but he doesn't look like the rest of our family."

Walker says that, in their extensive collection of family photographs, there is not another image of the man found in Bennett's broken locket, which was found in a tin box filled with her jewelry.

This information has intrigued McConnell, who says scientists have proven that an earlier photo believed to be Dixon isn't the sub captain. Scientists used a process called facial overlay to transpose a digital version of the photo onto Dixon's skull to see if the features matched up. That earlier candidate was nowhere close.

"As our hopes on the other photo fade, here comes something else from Queen Bennett," McConnell says. "Now we have a new face to look at."

McConnell sees several similarities between the man in the locket photo and Dixon. Both seem to have high, sloping foreheads and strong brows. There is a mark on the man's chin that could be a cleft, which forensic anthropologists suggest Dixon had.

There are other encouraging signs. The man in the photograph has light hair, and contemporary descriptions of Dixon suggest he had fair hair. The man appears to be wearing a uniform. Though it is not a Confederate uniform, it could be that of a police officer or steamboat crewman.

When Dixon's pockets were searched, scientists found ornate jewelry that some suggest the captain planned to give to Bennett. In the photo, there is something on the man's collar that bears a resemblance to the brooch found in Dixon's pocket, although it may be larger than that piece.

When Dixon was recovered from the Hunley in 2001, scientists noted that his clothing was much nicer than that of other crewmen, fitting Dixon's reputation as a stylish man. McConnell says the man in the locket photo certainly appears to share that trait with Dixon.

Ultimately, it is too early to tell if this is Dixon. McConnell says he will ask scientists to examine the photo and run tests as soon as possible. The laboratory has made a three-dimensional image of Dixon's skull and the University of Tennessee. which debunked the earlier supposed Dixon photo, can reproduce a digital image of the photo and attempt another facial overlay.

It also may be possible to match the photo with the facial reconstructions that a team of experts is preparing for the Hunley project. Using the skulls of the eight men found on board, scientists say they can reconstruct the men's faces to a 98 percent degree of accuracy.

That, if nothing else, may finally settle the question.

"This opens up a whole bunch of questions, and it could answer some or just add more to the mystery," McConnell said. "This really starts to put the human side to the Hunley's story. It adds depth to it."

Contact Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or bhicks@postandcourier.com.

NOTE:  It has just been announced that the scientist are now opening the gold watch that belonged to Lt. George E. Dixon. Dixon's watch is  a high quality expensive watch.  The glass face is solid but discolored so that the time it stopped cannot be seen. X-rays have been made and the mechanics are in good shape. There is a good possibility that there may be an inscription inside. Curiosity surrounds us  about the time that will be found on the watch. The Housatonic sank around 8:45 – 9:00 PM February 17, 1864.  It is assumed that the Hunley sank within an hour after that.

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

 

4) THE HUNLEY NEWSLETTERS 2002 E-BOOK

FOR ALL THOSE SUBSCRIBERS THAT HAVE SIGNED UP RECENTLY OR THOSE THAT SIGNED UP MID YEAR AND MISSED THE EARLY ISSUES THEY ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK FORM ONLINE FOR $6.00. WE PUT A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT COMPILING THESE ISSUES IN BOOK FORM WHICH CAME OUT TO AROUND 200 PAGES OF INFORMATION.

To order the Hunley 2002 E-Book click here.
_____________________________________________________________

 5) BUILDING THE HUNLEY MODEL   

    BUILDING THE HUNLEY MODEL    March 4, 2003

So before I could give a recommendation about the Hunley Model, I decided I better build one and see what happens.  When I first received the model I looked at it skeptically. It didn't seem like much to it but I got my tools together and gave it a shot.  Basically I used small pliers, tweezers are handy, wire cutter, emery board or sand paper, facto knife and gel type super glue. I also had a Dremel on hand because I use any excuse to bring it out.     

The model kit #72-001 came with various sized brass rods and aluminum tubes, a sprue with the smaller parts attached and the hull. My first perception was 'man these parts are small and they were. You got to remember that this is a  1/72 scale model.  I left the hull on its sprue to act as a stand.  In hind site I would cut away most of the sprue because it gave me a fight later when I tried to get it off, but it worked great as a temporary stand.

The small parts like the rudder, propeller and shroud are small so make sure you have a sharp knife and take your time cutting them loose. I did find that if something breaks the resin if vary forgiving and the gel-type super glue gives you time to patch and adjust.  It also works as a great filler so don't sweat the small stuff. There are some extra parts but I can't say enuff ...take your time.  The instructions sometimes get a little confusing because they combine with the larger 1/32 model which I am going to try next.  

There was no stand included with the model but it is easy to get creative on ways to display your model. I bought a wood display at a hobby shop and painted it, but I am looking for some other ways to do it and will let you know what I come up with.

Over all my opinion went from skepticism to great pleasure.  I like resin, it is nice to work with, the glue holds great to it, and it sands and drills agreeably.  I took one of the extra brass rods and used it to mount the ship. The acrylic paint went on great and it looks good. The torpedo lance I made simply by crimping the aluminum pipe and filing it to give it the harpoon look. The lance actually comes off and the spar can be adjusted up and down depending on how you want to display it.

In my opinion this is a great model. It is fantastic to hold and look at.  It gives an accurate and true perspective of what a sleek machine the Hunley was. The technical designs that the builders and inventors had can truly be appreciated. I give it my stamp of approval and highly recommend it.

George W. Penington

 

 

6) FROM THE GUEST BOOK

Date: 20 Feb 2003

Comments:   very informative.. its great


Date: 22 Feb 2003
 

Comments:  Following the progress of The Hunley thus far has provided more political intrigue than any adventure novel to ever grace a bookstore . For the sake of future generations , it is me fervent hope that this story is TOLD - factually and unbiased .The Hunley story has to be taught nationally in our school system and not simply " overlooked " by our educators who prefer to serve up a politically correct version of the nations history . She must have her rightful place - IN OUR HISTORY BOOKS .


Date: 22 Feb 2003

Comments:   I love your newsletter and appreciate all the work you put into it. I also would like to say that I think the Hunley should rest in Charleston and certainly not in North Charleston. North Charleston only wants the Hunley to aid in their urban renewal projections. Thanks for all the updates and I'm looking forward to visiting the Hunley someday. J.D. Porter

 


Date: 22 Feb 2003
 

Comments I just finished reading Thomas Campbell's interesting and well-written book on the CSS H.L. Hunley, written in 1999. In anticipation of a trip to Charleston soon, I went to the 'net seeking more up-to-date information of the progress of the Hunley; I was amazed to find that the "offical" websites seemed to have ceased updating in 1998 or so. Yours is apparently the only site keeping interest in the Hunley alive. Glad to know that someone continues to show such interest in what has to be the ultimate Civil War artifact. It is sad and too bad that, like a lot of other endeavors, politics and money seem to be getting in the way of forward progress. Thanks again for this site. Mitch Simmons, an interested Tar Hell


Date: 27 Feb 2003
 

Comments:  Thank you. This site is very informative, and a good help for me. (high school term paper)

 


Date: 27 Feb 2003
 

Comments:  Gentlemen, I am very impressed with your web site. I ran across it via a link through the Kentucky Colonel's web site. As a Kentucky Colonel, and a southerner, I sincerely hope that you will see to it that these gentlemen receive a proper confederate burial. They died to defend the confederacy, and I know that they would want no less. Nor do they deserve any less. Thank you for having such a site, and the time and effort it takes to maintain it. May God be with you. Sincerely, Col. L.R. King

 


Date: 28 Feb 2003
 
 

Comments:  Gentleman, you are doing an absolutely out standing job keep up the good work. Joe Marx Maybrook, n.y.

 


Date: 28 Feb 2003
 

Comments  I saw the hunley in national geographic at first. also have known of this. so I'm impressed. It's interesting to me. Thank you for your researching to inform us.


 

Date: 05 Mar 2003
 

Comments  Your site was very informing to me. The hunley played a very big part in history. Me and my husband first heard about the hunley on the radio. Ever since we have been staying up dated on it. And your web sight was one of the best ways. WE love you guys keep up the good work.

 


Date: 05 Mar 2003
 

Comments  I heard the episode of Lt. Dixon's "good luck coin" this morning on the John Boy and Billy Big Show, and just had to visit your website. Thanks for your efforts in finding, raising and documenting the Hunley.

 


Date: 05 Mar 2003
 

Comments  Great website. I enjoy it very much. Lots of info for me and my family to have access to. Thanks

 


Date: 05 Mar 2003
 

Comments  I think this is one of the best sites on the computer. my ancestors resided in Charleston at that time and this has increased our interest in the history of Charleston.

 


Date: 05 Mar 2003
 

Comments  This is some of the most interesting reading I have ever done. I really enjoy American history and this is by far some of the best I have read. Our praises to all involved in this historic event, keep up the fine work. Daryl & Michelle Nachlinger, Texas

 

7) BE A HUNLEY VOLUNTEER

 

The Hunley is open for tours every Saturday and Sunday (except Christmas weekend) and all proceeds go directly to support the Hunley conservation project. The Hunley tours could not be a success if it were not for the dedicated people who volunteer an immeasurable amount of time. When you visit the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, it's clear that these committed volunteers have not only a genuine interest in the Hunley project, but a passion and respect for the submarine and her crew. Some drive hours, or even fly from states like Indiana to work the tours.

Those participating in this program provide the principal link between the organization and the public. In addition to welcoming visitors to the center, volunteers provide a broad range of information about the Hunley, whether it is exhibitions, activities, or services.

Help the Hunley project by becoming a volunteer! To become a volunteer, an interview and background check is required. For more information, call Allison Hutto at (843) 744-2186 or email her at allison@hunley.org.

Click here to view a SLED background check


Stand Honor Guard

Infantry, Artillery, Navy, Cavalry and Marine Reenactors!!!

Units and/or individuals interested in participating in the Hunley Honor Guard please contact Allison Hutto at (843) 744-2186 or email her at allison@hunley.org.

 

8) ”THEY WERE FIVE IN ONE COFFIN”  WAS “ABSOLUM WILLIAMS” THE ONLY AFRO-AMERICAN CREWMAN
Glenn McConnell announced some interesting and astonishing facts this week.  In a television interview the Head of the Hunley Commission discussed forensics of the Hunley crew. Careful attention had to be held regarding the announcement that crewman Absolum Williams was the only afro-American to be on the crew of the Hunley. The following research shows that Absolum Williams was actually on the first Charleston Hunley crew. The quote below refers to the five who died in the coffin "Hunley" The five were actually buried in a cemetery later discovered under Johnson Hagood Stadium outside the new Citadel.  McConnell stated that two men of the Hunley were found stacked together in one grave, one of them being Absolum Williams.  We know that this was a common occurrence and that some of these men had to be cut apart to be removed from the hull of the Hunley, so that some of the discovered bodies were found in parts.  We need to also recall that these men were buried hastily due to the continuous bombing of the city.  The following are notes about this crew and the confirmation that Absolum Williams did exist.

FIRST CHARLESTON CREW of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley:

AUGUST 29th, 1863
”THEY WERE FIVE IN ONE COFFIN”

Crewmen


Charles Hasker (survived)
Lt. John A. Payne (survived)
Charles Sprague (survived) -  the only one to sink twice. Died with the second crew
William Robinson or Jeremiah Donivan (survived) ? – may be the unknown crewman who escaped the sinking.
Nicholas Davis
Frank Doyle
John Kelly
Michael Cane
Absolum Williams

 

Note:  (Charles Sprague, one of the two who escaped through the rear hatch of the Hunley, was a torpedo expert assigned after the Hunley was taken over by the Confederate Navy.  Payne and Hasker escaped through forward hatch. )

 

On Saturday the 29th day of August 1863, The Hunley was docked at Fort Johnson, the harbor end of James Island, South Carolina. Fort Johnson considered a safe place, protected and hidden by Fort Sumter was out of view of the Yankee blockade fleet. The week before Federals had bombed the City of Charleston for the first time from their marsh battery, the “Swamp Angel” located on Morris Island, the next island over,. John Payne, Lieutenant with the Confederate States Navy was commissioned as commander of the Hunley, a privately owned submarine until General Beauregard took custody of her.  Lt. Payne recruited volunteers from the Confederate Rams, the Chicora and the Palmetto State. Lt. Charles Hasker was recruited that day to sit in for Charles Stanton who had other duties on the Chicora. Lt. Hasker was to take the second position behind Commander Payne. Another four crewmen, Frank Doyle, John Kelly, Michael Cane, and Nicholas Davis were volunteers from the Chicora; Absolum Williams was on board from the Palmetto State. The Number 8 crewman’s name is unknown.

The five men were anonymously buried in the Seaman’s Burial Ground and became quickly forgotten until 1999 when archaeologist found the lost graves under the Booster Club Lounge in the Johnson Hagood Stadium nicknamed the “Boneyard” .  (Newsletter #16)

 

“Following its arrival in South Carolina, the boat experienced a number of operational difficulties. The Army became increasingly unhappy with McClintock's management of the boat, and as a result seized it, replacing the civilian crew with C.S. Navy personnel. It was following this transition that the boat was twice accidentally lost in Charleston Harbor with fatalities, being both times subsequently salvaged. The first incident killed five members of the crew of nine, most of whom were volunteers from the CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State. Lieutenant C.L. Stanton, CSN provides the background of this misfortune:

One day when Lieutenant Payne, my friend and shipmate, was aboard the Chicora I arranged to go down under the water with him; but as the boat was obliged to leave before my watch on deck was over, Lieutenant Charles H. Hooker [sic, he means Hasker] took my place. She dived about the harbor successfully for an hour or two and finally went over to Fort Johnson, where the little steamer Etiwan was lying alongside the wharf. She fastened to her side with a light line with the fins in position for diving... “(Stanton 1914).

Lieutenant Charles H. Hasker, CSN (a former U.S. Navy hand who had been the boatswain on the CSS Virginia during the Battle of Hampton Roads) was sitting immediately behind Payne in the lead cranksman's position at the time of the accident, and related the following experience:

We were lying astern of the steamer Etowah [one of several names by which the CSS Etiwan was known], near Fort Johnson, in Charleston Harbor. Lieutenant Payne, who had charge, got fouled in the manhole by the hawser and in trying to clear himself got his foot on the lever which controlled the fins.  He had just previously given the order to go ahead. The boat made a dive with the manholes open and filled rapidly. Payne got out of the forward hole and two others out of the aft hole. Six of us went down with the boat.  (Total of Nine) I had to get over the bar which connected the fins and through the column of water which was rapidly filling the boat. The manhole plate came down on my back; but I worked my way out until my left leg was caught by the plate, pressing the calf of my leg in two. Held in this manner, I was carried to the bottom in forty-two feet of water. When the boat touched bottom I felt the pressure relax. Stooping down, I took hold of the manhole plate, drew out my wounded limb, and swam to the surface. Five men were drowned on this occasion (Fort 1914).

Payne and Hasker escaped the forward hatch, while the team's explosives expert, Charles L. Sprague, and another unidentified crewmember managed to fight their way out through the aft coaming. Carried to the bottom and drowned were sailors Frederick (Frank) Doyle, John Kelly, Nicholas (Nick) Davis, and Michael Kane (or Cane) of the Chicora, and Absolum Williams of the Palmetto State (Ragan 1995, 54). Following this tragedy, the military sent a request to Mobile asking for people more familiar with the boat to come to Charleston to take over its operation upon its recovery. http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org12-7b.htm

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
*****************

Soon the submarine was making daily practice dives with her new commander at the helm. But Payne’s experiences on the boat will be short lived. On Aug 29 the little craft was struck by tragedy. Just as the submarine cast off from a dock, Lt. Payne, who was still attempting to position himself while standing in the forward turret, became entangled in a hawser (a mooring rope). While attempting to clear himself, he accidentally stepped on the lever which controlled the diving fins. The boat which was under power suddenly dove directly toward the bottom of the bay. As both hatches were yet open water immediately spilled into the interior of the vessel. Lt. Payne exited the forward hatch, two others, Jeremiah Donivan ???, and Charles L. Sprague vacated the aft hole. The Hunley sank quickly to a depth of 42 feet, closing the turret covers as it descended. After it struck bottom, one other crewman, Lt. Charles Hasker waited for the pressure against the now closed cover of the manhole above him to stabilize.  He then pushed open the cap and raced for the freedom and fresh air of the surface. The other five member of the crew were not so lucky.  The CSS Hunley  had claimed the first of what would be the lives of 22  brave men.  The names of the five were, Michael Cane, Nicholas Davis, Frank Doyle, John Kelley, and Absolum Williams.

 CSS. H.L. HUNLEY/Shortened Terry L. Coats C.S.S.  H.L. Hunley 

 In a letter dated August 30th, 1863 from Theodore A Honour to his wife talks about the sinking of the Hunley (South Carolina Library)    …” an accident happened which caused the boat to go under the water before they were prepared for such a thing, and five out of the nine went down in her and were drowned.  The other four made their escape. They had not up to last night recovered either the boat or the bodies. Poor fellows they were five in one coffin.”

 Charleston Daily Courier reported that ….four of the men belonged to the gunboat Chicora, and were named Frank Doyle, John Kelly, Michael Cane and Nicholas Davis. The fifth man, whose name we did not learn, was attached to the Palmetto State.”

 “From the book of pay receipts issued to the crew of the C.S.S. Palmetto State for the months of July and August, 1863, we find the following entry penned next to the name of Absolum Williams: Drowned in submarine batter on 29th August, 1863.  With the name of this fifth unfortunate crew man at last having come to light, perhaps one day Williams’ name can be inscribed next to those of his comrades on the Hunley monument at the foot of Meeting Street in Charleston.”  (Ragan,1995)

 

 

9) The Play “Raising Blue” IS NOW IN PRODUCTION

In Newsletter #25  January 5, 2003  Excerpt:

    " Eighteen members of the Actors' Center of Chicago Production Co. are scheduled to make a research visit to the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley in its temporary home at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston.
     The actors, director, theater owner and artistic director are preparing to stage "Raising Blue," a new play by G. Riley Mills, set to open Feb. 13 in Chicago for a four- to six-week run. The title refers to the Hunley's exterior blue light.   And Charleston's Footlight Players, headed by artistic director Sheri Grace Wenger, are in negotiations with the Actors' Center to bring "Raising Blue" to the Footlight Players' theater at 20 Queen
St. as its season-opener in August.     "We are still talking to the Footlight board about this but
can't make an official announcement until the board officially votes and gives its approval," said Wenger.

     The
Chicago theater group got in touch with the Footlight Players' after a member of the Chicago theater staff saw the Footlight Players' theater and thought it would be the perfect venue for a Southern premiere of “Raising Blue."" 

EMAIL FROM THE STAR OF "RAISING BLUE"  -----Original Message-----From: Christopher Gausselin

> I'm portraying H.L Hunley in the Play "Raising Blue" in Chicago in Feb. so any info you have on the man would come in handy-sincerely--Christopher Gausselin

THANKS FOR WRITING CHRISTOPHER; YOU WILL FIND TONS OF FREE INFORMATION ON SITE.  IF YOU NEED ANY ADDDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO ASK. I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN CHARLESTON. GEORGE

Prop Theatre Group's 22nd Anniversary Season

 

Starting with the World Premiere of

G. Riley Mills'

RAISING BLUE

    Prop Theater Group is pleased to announce the opening of its 22nd Anniversary Season with G. Riley Mills' new play RAISING BLUE. Mr. Mills is the two time Jeff Citation recipient for new work including Prop's Sawdust & Spangles. RAISING BLUE, one of the winners of the Prop's New Play 2002 Festival, is inspired by true events. This fundamentally American story illuminates one of the most fascinating chapters in our country's history.

 

The year is 1863. As the Civil War rages on, the city of Charleston stands in grim ruins. Determined to break up the Union blockade that has decimated the South, a young soldier named George Dixon and a small group of passionate privateers secretly begin work on an invention -a crude submarine- which they believe will finally turn the war around for the Confederacy. A submersible torpedo boat. Is what they believe is the last hope for survival against the approaching Union forces. Essentially the first submarine ever successfully used in battle, this primitive, hand-cranked vessel would provide Dixon with his greatest legacy, as well as his most tragic end. This is the story of that submarine, the H.L. Hunley, and the courageous men who risked their lives to man it.

Inspired by actual events, Raising Blue captures the brutal realities of life during the Civil War and tells a gripping story of courage and heroism in one of the most fascinating chapters of our nations history.


BOX OFFICE: (773) 348-PROP (7767)
WEB SITE: www.raisingblue.com

RAISING BLUE will feature:
 (George Dixon ), Matthew Brumlow
 (William Alexander Jason Denuszek),
 (Baxter Watson ), James Eldrenkamp
 (Horace Hunley Christopher Gausselin),
 (Frederick Wicks ), James Wm. Joseph
 (General Pierre G. T. Beauregard ), Jonathan Lavan
 (Queenie Bennett ), Sarah McMaster
 (Augustus Miller ), Benjamin Newton
 (Thomas Park ), Ryan Pfeiffer
 (James McClintock ), Whit Spurgeon
 (Robert Brookbank ) E. Vincent Teninty


Designers: Set Design; Eric Appleton, Lighting Design; Dustin Riedel, Sound Design; Joseph Fosco, Costume Design; Stacy Ellen Rich, Assistant Director; Clare Arena, Dramaturg; Sarah Freeman, Music created and performed; David Smith, Stage Manager; Pauline Fatyga, Asst. Light Design/Props: Molly Neylan.

Executive Producer for RAISING BLUE will be Lance Gordon, G. Riley Mills (Playwright), Adam Theisen (Director), Jonathan Lavan (Producer), Scott Vehill (Producer), G. Riley Mills (Associate Producer), Jonathan Lavan (Production Manager), Eric Appleton (Technical Director/Scenic Designer), Dustin Riedel (Technical Director/Lighting Designer), Joseph Fosco (Sound Designer), Stacy Ellen Rich (Costume Designer), David Algeo Smith (Original Music written and performed), Clare Arena (Assistant Director), Sara Freeman (Dramaturg), Pauline Fatyga (Stage Manager), Molly Neylan (Assistant Light Design/Prop Master), Scott Vehill (Publicity/Public Relations), Benjamin Newton (Photographer), Jonathan Lavan (Dialect and Vocal Instruction), Jo Mills (Graphic Designer), Annie Hackett (Hair and Make up)

The Actors' Center of Chicago Production Company. The Actors' Center of Chicago is one of the oldest, most respected actor training centers in the Midwest.

The production will open Thursday February 13th, 2003 at 7:00 pm. The play will be performed at Prop Theatre 4225 N. Lincoln Avenue (entrance on Hutchinson). RAISING BLUE will be performed through March 23rd, 2002. Performances will be Thursday - Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm and a Sunday matinee at 3:00 pm. Tickets will be $ 18.00 on Thursday and Friday and $ 20.00 on Saturday and Sunday. Credit cards will be accepted and their will be group, student and senior rates available. Call the Prop Theatre box office at 773-348-7767 for ticket information. For more background about the true story and the play, please visit www.raisingblue.com.

 BOX OFFICE: (773) 348-PROP (7767)  Toll free phone  (877) 893-8494   info@stagechannel.com
WEB SITE: www.raisingblue.com

  Here is a link to see a preview of the play "Raising Blue"   The song that is played is the "Bonnie Blue Flag"  To hear and see the words to Bonnie Blue Flag         

                                                                             


10) 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.

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