The Hunley.com

MAY 30, 2003

ISSUE  #35

1) Welcome to the new Hunley Newsletter>
2) SINKING THEORIES POLL RESULTS 
3) “Fort Johnson" Subscriber Response
4)THE TORPEDO AND SPAR

5) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT-REINTERMENT NEWS -NEW ANNOUNCEMENT
6) E-MAIL 
7) FROM THE GUEST BOOK
8) OUR PURPOSE AND GOALS
 

 


 

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.  This issue contains  the results of the Sinking Theories Poll we started with issue # 33, also a follow-up on the article about Fort Johnson.

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The South Carolina Flag


Photography:

Confederate Submarine H L Hunley

 

Scientist are removing the subs compass

 

Photo's from the CSS H L HUNLEY CLUB

 

 

H. L. Hunley model 1/72 :Special Price: 29.95

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

 

 

 2) SINKING THEORIES POLL RESULTS

 

The Bonnie Blue  Flag - the unofficial first flag of the Confederacy

SINKING THEORIES

Newsletter # 33 we asked everyone to vote on their favorite,  most logical or acceptable theory on the sinking of the Hunley.  The final result are in and we have had a great response. The tallies are a not scientific because people had to vote more than once if they thought that it was a combination of things, which it probably was. I think voters didn't want to say that Dixon miscalculated, but admitted it could be in combination with other factors. I was surprised that number (IX) "Tether fouled the propeller" received 20%, and was the number 2 choice that was a late entry by club member AH aka tigone 
HERE IS ANDREWS RESPONSE:

George wrote:
 
> AH's theory about "Tether fouled propeller" was the
> second most popular theory just after "Equipment
> malfunction" That's interesting.
 
Thanks for passing this on. After the brief discussion of the idea on the list recently, I kinda thought this theory wasn't especially well received. It sure seems a plausible one to me, although there would likely be little or no physical evidence to support it now.
 
Cheers, 
-------------> AH

 

Theories Re-votes Unique Totals Average

(I) Dixon miscalculated..

170 

 

100 270  15%

(II) RUNNING SUBMERGED WAITING IT OUT

120  

 

70 190  10%

(III) EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTION

270 

 

150 420  24%

(IV) SWAMPED

150  

 

60 210   9%

(V) Single-bullet theory (Lucky Shot)

50 

 

20 70  3%

(VI)  The Hunley was destroyed by the same explosion that sank the Housatonic?

60 

 

40 100  6%

(VII) SANK IN A GALE:

60    

 

4 0 100  5%

(VIII) SUICIDE

50 

 

50  100  8%

(IX) DETONATING TETHER FOULED THE PROPELLER

190 

 

 

130 320  20%

(X) TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

12   5    

 

Here is an additional theory we received:                                 

 

 Hi: My name is Jim McClinton.  I'm a retired Coast Guard Commander and was

on scene (I work for the Sheriff Cannon) when Hunley was raised.  I've had

two lengthy articles published in the Confederate Veteran and was a tour guide

(on the platform) at the Warren Lasch facility.

 

Based on my high-seas experiences in the Coast Guard, I've always maintained

that Lt. Dixon did in fact open the hatch in order to give give the famous

"blue light signal." 

 

A powerless vessel - especially one that may be damaged and with rudder

problems - is at the complete mercy of the sea...and the wind.  When (not

if) the Hunley drifted into the trough, she would have found herself in the

worst possible position of taking on the seas broadside (perpendicularly).

This would have caused Hunley to roll like a pig in the mud. 

 

Given the weight of the hatch cover (as I remember, it was about 150 lbs.),

the low freeboard of the vessel, any possible injuries Dixon may have

experienced and the resultant difficulty he would have had trying to handle

the hatch (while making his signal), I'm convinced that he was hit broadside

by a swell which poured down the open hatch. 

 

Because of the heavy rolling (on the surface and in the trough), the weight

of the hatch and other factors, I believe he was unable to respond quickly

enough. 

It seems likely that seams and rivets would have been jarred loose by the

black powder explosion (greatly amplified in the water), and some number of

Dixon's crew may have been dead or disabled and unable to react as the water

poured down the open hatch (and seeped in through any number leaky rivets or

seams).

 

A related possibility (though less likely) is that one of the vessels

responding to Housatonic simply steered on the blue light (or didn't see it)

and either hit the Hunley or sank it with it's resultant wake.

 

As I put myself in Dixon's shoes and try to imagine what was going on at

that critical moment, I can see no other logical reason for the Hunley to

drop like a rock.

 

Thanks for your interest and all your work.  It's obvious that you care

enough about our heritage (both Southern and American) to keep the Hunley

alive.

James L. McClinton, Ph.D

 

Hello Jim...nice to hear from you. You sent me some pictures back in 1996 or right after the Hunley was raised will have to check...They are still on the site.  http://www.thehunley.com/sheriff_pictures.htm  I think your theory is right on target. I am putting the results of the Sinking Theory Poll in Fridays newsletter.  Of course the outcome to me will be that it was a solid combination of things that caused the sinking. As we both know – when you are on the water – if anything can go wrong on a boat – it will.  Thanks for staying in touch. Hope to meet you soon in person.
 

 
 3) “Fort Johnson" Subscriber Response

 

“Fort Johnson is the key of Charleston” COMMANDER MARCHAND

FORT JOHNSON - AREA WHERE THE HUNLEY SANK

 James Island played a major role in the defense of Charleston and the saga of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley during the Civil War. This is a footnote follow-up from one of our subscribers:

-----Original Message-----

From: carl gibson

Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2003 3:43 PM

If Fort Johnson was the "key" to the defense of Charleston. The Hunley Newsletter should have made note of the "Tower Battery." Located southwest of Fort Johnson on James Island, it was their gallant defense against overwhelming odds that prevented Federal troops from reaching Fort Johnson from the interior of James Island. The Tower Battery, later named Fort Lamar for Confederate Colonel in charge of the Tower Battery, was the sight of the Battle of Secessionville on June 16, 1862. Two hundred Confederate defenders in an earthen fort with four cannon were attacked by over 7000 Federals. Hand to hand combat was underway as Federals got inside the fort. Three hundred Confederate reinforcements arrived and the Federals were driven from the fort with heavy losses. The Tower Battery was never taken by assault. The outnumbered defenders saved Fort Johnson "the key to Charleston" . If they had failed, Fort Johnson would have been very vulnerable to an over land attack from the interior of James Island. The hugely outnumbered defenders of the Tower Battery have been overlooked by history.
*****
That's great Carl...Thanks. Since these newsletters are a voluntary effort and something I enjoy immensely, I can use all the fodder I can get. .It keeps me on my toes with no pun intended. I mean that in a good way. Thanks again.  George W. Penington
*****
George, you are welcome to use the information I sent on Fort Lamar. An informative book on the Tower Battery, Fort Lamar, is "Secessionville, Assault on Charleston" , by Patrick Brennan. My opinion of the book is the basic historical information is correct, but some of the details are questionable. I think some liberties have been taken by the author. The book was first published in 1996. I am interested in the Fort Johnson area because my great great grandfather James W. Gibson, from Orangeburg S.C. enlisted at Fort Johnson, South Carolina in 1862, was a private in Lamar's South Carolina Artillery at the Tower Battery during the Battle of Secessionville and was one of the Confederates killed during the battle. His privates uniform was donated to the Charleston Museum by the family where it is housed today along with a letter he wrote his wife and children a few days before the battle. Your Friend, Carl Gibson

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4)THE TORPEDO AND SPAR -NEW THEORY

THE TORPEDO AND SPAR of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley

A Design feature may not of caused the sinking of the Hunley but was certainly a factor.

On the night of February 17, 1864 the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley rammed a 135 lb. barrel shaped charge into the U.S.S. Housatonic.  This charge was mounted on a hollow harpoon

From Mike "The Torpedo Man" Kochan

 designed to penetrate the hull of an enemy ship and disengage from the spar as the submarine backed away feeding out a lanyard.
Once the Hunley reached a reasonably safe distance of 150' the lanyard was pulled setting off a triggering device. Of the many things that went wrong that night one serious malfunction occurred -the torpedo did not disengage but instead broke off. The design feature was to bolt the torpedo harpoon to a middle hollow shaft of iron.  A lead wrap was used at the joint to eliminate warble but yet be pliable enough to give under force.  I have to assume that the backing motion of the Housatonic and the rip tide effect on the Hunley's position after the harpoon was rammed home, caused a lateral pressure on the shaft joints that would not allow the two sections to disengage.  We know that when the spar was found that it was bent possibly due to this wrenching action.  The pressure finally caused the harpoon to break off but not before a serious delay in the attack/retreat plan. In the timeline of events there were only minutes left before the tremendous explosion of the Housatonic's hull and the delay of breaking loose had to have been devastating.

Photo posted in the CSS HUNLEY CLUB - NOT SURE WHO THE ARTIST IS

SPAR SECTIONS

LOWER SPAR MOUNTING

 
5) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT-REINTERMENT NEWS -NEW ANNOUNCEMENT
 

Hunley Memorial at the end of Meeting Street where the Re-burial procession will begin.
THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED TO THE THREE CREWS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES ABOARD THE "HUNLEY"
GIFT FROM THE DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY IN 1889

APRIL 17, 2004 IS THE PROJECTED DATE FOR THE REINTERMENT OF THE LAST CREW FROM THE CONFEDERATE SUBMARINE H.L. HUNLEY.
WITH THE  PASSING OF THE 21 HUNLEY CREWMEN  IN CHARLESTON HARBOR MAYBE THE "LOST CAUSE" WILL INCLUDE THIS AS A DIGNIFIED END.

In the next newsletter I will publish a map of the route to be used with a preliminary timeline, locations of some of the hotels and as much useful information as I can.
Remember we will make every effort to keep you up to date as information becomes available.


"Soon as I finish this weeks newsletter I will get on helping track
and coordinate the re-burial plans. I will make some calls and meet
with some people, get us some rate ideas for lodging and build a map
to show everyone where things are happening. One of the ladies at the Friends of the Hunley said she was going to build a tree house in one of the big Oak trees at Magnolia Cemetery, so I think I will join her there,  lol  George  www.thehunley.com"

 


6) E-MAIL

 

Carey Nikonchuk

Organization: The South Carolina Historical Society

email: carey.lucas@schistory.org

Phone: 843-723-3225x14

Fax: 843-723-8584

Street1: 100 Meeting Street

 Charleston, SC   29401

Country: USA

message:

I am searching for biographical information on a member of the second crew of the Hunley, Joe Patterson. Any clues you can give me would be helpful or where I might go to find out that kind of information.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Carey Lucas Nikonchuk

Research Consultant

SCHS


-----Original Message-----

message:
FROM: mdsgville 5/22/03
This statement was in your most recent newsletter: NOTE:
"We now know that the 5th crewman was Absolum Williams - the only Afro-American crewman to die associated with the Hunley." Questions: Is this confirmed? How did he become associated with the Hunley? Was he a member of the Confederate Military? If so, how long had he been in service? Thanks much.

REPLY:

As far as I can tell without getting it from the horse's mouth, i.e. Glenn McConnell, I believe this to be factual until someone convinces me otherwise.  Here is a link to Newsletter 29  http://www.thehunley.com/Newsletter/newsletter29-emailed.htm 
You will see I talk about how Absolum Williams was found buried..."McConnell stated that two men of the Hunley were found stacked together in one grave, one of them being Absolum Williams"
Glenn stated that the forensics confirmed that Absolum was black. My research shows he was in the Confederate States Navy and that he was a volunteer from the Palmetto State.
There was also an article about it in the Civil War Times, have to hunt the issue which quotes McConnell when he was at the Shiloh Re-enactment several years ago. I will dig it up and let you know. 
 
I also wrote an article in Newsletter # 16 about this incident and finding the graves but I have not put it on line, will try to do that latter.
 
Another place that it is mentioned is Mark Ragan's book.. The Hunley: Submarines, Sacrifice, & Success in the Civil War
 
My interest would be that they engrave Absolum William's name on the monument at the end of Meeting St. since that is where the re-burial of the last Hunley Crew will begin and now that we know his name..
 
 If you find anything additional let me know.  Thanks for your interest and for subscribing to the newsletter.  Stay in touch,  George W. Penington  webmaster  www.thehunley.com

*****

Please tell me how to get the Hunley newsletter.

Many thanks,
Kay

You can post your e-mail address in the box right here when you are online, or you can e-mail me and I will do it.  Thanks for your interest.

STAY UP TO DATE on THE HUNLEY EVENTS Subscribe to our free news letter .
ENTER E-MAIL ADDRESS
   
NOTE: Your address is protected and will not be sold
 
******

From: JLORIORDAN
Thursday, May 22, 2003 9:01 PM
 

Yes!  I'm working on how I think the Hunley went down and I'll send it in as soon as I get it done.  I think you will be surprised at what I've come up with on this subject.

Thanks,
Jackie

 

 

 

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7) FROM THE GUEST BOOK
 

I'm very interested in The Hunley and reburial of the crew. Please post story and photos of the reburial when it occurs. It's not often we get to be a part of history. I'm so glad the crew will be laid to rest with honor.
Janice Cowden Graham
Athens, AL USA - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 12:43:00 (PDT)


Will visit the Hunley the weekend of June7. Can hardly wait.
Barbara Gilbert
Longview, TX USA - Saturday, May 24, 2003 at 08:54:14 (PDT)


your site is great with information. thank you to all. from: http://www.geocities.com/shambhunmc
shambhu dutta joshi
kathamandu, bag nepal - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 04:20:29 (PDT)


Trying to keep up with the progress of the Hunley and Her Crew. Like any information you can give me when it will be possible to get a chance to see the Hunley. THANK-YOU
William Wilson
Williamston, SC USA - Thursday, May 22, 2003 at 18:56:15 (PDT)


Great site. As a CW reenactor I would LOVE to be a part of the funeral procession. Please let me know how to "enlist" for this.
Fritz Jacobs
Winchester, KY USA - Wednesday, May 21, 2003 at 12:06:59 (PDT)


I came to your site through searching for the lyrics of John Huff's song "The Ballad of the CSS H.L. Hunley". I guess I'll just have to transcribe them myself from the CD ("At High Tide" by Clam Chowder; see http://members.aol.com/sirharper/chowder/ ). [I'm not associated with them except by enjoying their music. See also http://world.std.com/~mam/filk.html .]
Mark A. Mandel
Philadelphia, Pa USA - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 14:28:33 (PDT)


You have a great site. Love Civil War History
Judy Womack
Brownwood, TX USA - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 22:58:10 (PDT)


I HEY I FIND THIS PAGE VERY INTERESTING BECAUSE I LEARNED OF THE HUNLEY IN 8TH GRADE I REALLY FEEL SORRY FOR DICKSON AND HIS CREW
Daisy
los angeles , ca USA - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 21:25:23 (PDT)


MUGU
MUGU
, - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 02:55:21 (PDT)


What a truly amazing craft. What effect did the ideas of Jules Verne have upon the design, I wonder.
Robert Selby
Portland , OR USA - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 23:47:03 (PDT)
 

Jules Verne did not come out with his submarine in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea until eight years after the Hunley.


This is one of the most interesting sites on the entire internet. The truth of the struggle should be told and this is one of the more truthful sites I've seen. You have my vote for site of the century!!
Billy Lee Brown
Parsons, TN USA/CSA - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 17:12:15 (PDT)


This is a fantastic historical find for our country's history. Being a U.S. Civil War student or buff, the whole story of the Hunley is amazing. Thanks for this website.
Bob Martin
O'Fallon, MO USA - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 16:31:34 (PDT)


Fantastic ! I am interested in Dixons watch fob, it has the shape of a Royal Arch Masonic charm. This is a outstanding project.
William D. Robertson
Napa, Ca USA - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 15:22:55 (PDT)


TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE PROGRESS OF THE HUNLEY AND HER CREW
PHILIP CRAVENS
WEST SENECA, NY USA - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 07:10:23 (PDT)


As a submariner (qualified July 4, 1968) I hope to visit the Hunley the summer 2003.
Lawrence Check
Conyers, Ga USA - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 19:24:21 (PDT)


I am very interested in this because we are related to someone who died in hunley. I am not sure who but I am curious who it would be. Dyar,Smith,Mississippi,Moncks cornor.
stephen a smith
Seneca, S.C. USA - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 09:44:00 (PDT)

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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