- Mar 16, 2016
Antebellum house near Charleston served as secret weapon-building site during Civil War
By Warren L. Wise [email protected]
Mar 23, 2019
Thirty miles up the Cooper River from Charleston’s history-steeped lore sits a tucked-away part of the region’s Colonial, antebellum and Civil War past.
Atop a bluff overlooking the headwaters of the Cooper River, the eight-room Stony Landing House is all that remains of a critical inland trading juncture and the secret manufacturing site of the first semi-submersible craft to attack an enemy ship.
With Stoney’s encouragement and financial backing, Ravenel, a Southern defender, designed a semi-submersible torpedo boat based on a model created by Ross Winan, a northern sympathizer from Baltimore.
Head mechanic David Ebaugh oversaw the clandestine construction in a shop on the grounds of the Stony Landing House. The exact location of the former shop is not known, said Sale, the park director.
The Little David’s first attack is noteworthy because it came four months before the more famous Confederate-operated Hunley became the world’s first combat submarine to sink a warship. That occurred in Charleston Harbor on Feb. 17, 1864, when the federal ship Housatonic sunk. The Hunley did not return.
“It should be celebrated more,” Sale said of Little David. “It was built here in total secrecy and came before the Hunley.”
Some say Little David was named after its builder while others say the moniker refers to the small craft in a David-versus-Goliath sense.
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