ADMIRAL RAPHAEL SEMMES CAMP #11
SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
~~ The continuing Legend ~~
EXPERTS FIND NEW EVIDENCE IN SUBMARINE MYSTERY
BY BRUCE SMITH Associated Press
January 28, 2013 3:36PM EST
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Researchers say they may have the final clues needed to solve the mystery of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which never resurfaced after it became the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship, taking its eight-man crew to a watery grave. Scientists said Monday that the Hunley apparently was less than 20 feet away from the Housatonic when the crew ignited a torpedo that sank the Union blockade ship off South Carolina in 1864. That means it may have been close enough for the crew to be knocked unconscious by the explosion, long enough that they may have died before awakening.
For years, historians thought the Hunley was much farther away and had speculated the crew ran out of air before they were able to return to shore. The discovery was based on a recent examination of the spar - the iron pole in front of the hand-cranked sub that held the torpedo. The Hunley, built in Mobile, Ala., and deployed off Charleston in an attempt to break the Union blockade during the Civil War, was finally found in 1995. It was raised five years later and brought to a lab in North Charleston, where it is being conserved. Conservator Paul Mardikian had to remove material crusted onto one end of the spar after 150 years at the bottom of the ocean. Beneath the muck he found evidence of a cooper sleeve. The sleeve is in keeping with a diagram of the purported design of a Hunley torpedo that a Union general acquired after the war and is in the National Archives in Washington.
"The sleeve is an indication the torpedo was attached to the end of the spar," Mardikian said. He said the rest of the 16-foot spar shows deformities in keeping with it being bent during an explosion. Now it may be that the crew, found at their seats when the sub was raised with no evidence of an attempt to abandon ship, may have been knocked out by the concussion of an explosion so close by, said Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a member of the South Carolina Hunley Commission.
Yankees on alert as Hunley surfaces in New York
post and courier, charleston, sc
Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:10 a.m
￼File/Associated Press The H.L. Hunley Traveling Exhibit alarmed motorists last week as it pass through New York City on its way to Connecticut for a Civil War show at Mystic Seaport. Local, state and federal authorities had to track down the replice of the Confederate sub after folks worried terrorists were bringing a torpedo to town.
Obviously, the South is the only place where old times are not forgotten. On Friday afternoon, a New York motorist called police with a tip about a potential terror threat. Seems someone was hauling a suspicious-looking object — it resembled a torpedo — on the highways around the city.
Before long 30 agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, were searching for this potential menace. Even Coast Guard cutters in the area were on the lookout, since the thing looked sort of like a boat. They should have set the terror color chart to Rebel Gray, because they were just hunting for a bunch of good ol’ boys from Summerville hauling a replica of the H.L. Hunley to Connecticut for the weekend.
“It’s pretty bad when four Confederates and a replica of the Hunley can cause all this,” says Mark Clark, general manager of the exhibit.
“Maybe they were worried we were here to get them back.” You know, this is the most trouble the Hunley has caused Yankees in nearly 150 years.
EDUCATE, NOT DESTRUCT
The H.L. Hunley Traveling Exhibit has been cruising American highways for more than a decade. In all that time, it hasn’t sunk any U.S. warships, although it did get a flat tire outside of Atlanta last year. The sub model, built by John Dangerfield, is a life-size iron replica of the first successful combat submarine in history.
These days, the exhibit is its own charitable education organization, set up by the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ H.L. Hunley camp in Summerville. It travels from California to Connecticut, Mississippi to Tennessee, teaching folks about the Hunley and its attack on the USS Housatonic outside Charleston on Feb. 17, 1864.
Apparently, it’s missed a few folks in New York. Because for a while Friday and Saturday, local, state and federal authorities spent an inordinate amount of time looking for the replica.
“I’ve heard a lot of things, a lot of strange stories related to this project over the years, but this is the best one,” says Kellen Correia, executive director of Friends of the Hunley.
Yeah, since the Hunley very briefly became a weapon of mass distraction.
Investigators finally turned up a surveillance photo of the Hunley exhibit rolling through a toll booth. That was the first clue something was not amiss. Terrorists don’t use toll booths. Except maybe in “Blazing Saddles.”
New York police eventually called the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, home of the Hunley. They were able to direct authorities to Clark. Clark says the police were extremely nice when they reached him by phone in Connecticut on Saturday. That’s probably because, by that time, they realized that a handcranked submarine bolted to a flat-bed trailer wasn’t much of a threat to the Big Apple. In fact, the Hunley Traveling Exhibit was at a Civil War show at Mystic Seaport — where it was received warmly, by the way. No hard feelings among Connecticut Yankees.
Clark told New York police when the exhibit would be coming back through, gave them his license tag number. They didn’t offer an escort, but they didn’t try to set up another blockade, either.
On Monday, New York Police did not even remember the incident but said, “We get a lot of bizarre calls here.”
The upshot is the Hunley got a little publicity, and may have educated a few folks — which is the replica’s purpose. Not to blow up New York.
Reach Brian Hicks at email@example.com.
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