Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley

Stiles/Akin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
2,285
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
#1
Michael K. Shaffer
Adapted from a newspaper article I wrote in February 2014, on the 150th anniversary of the event. Friends of the Hunley #civilwar
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The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley entered the annals of naval warfare on this day in 1864, as she slipped beneath the waters of Charleston Harbor, and navigated toward the USS Housatonic. This unique submersible, made possible with the financing of Horace L. Hunley, traveled via train from Mobile, Alabama, to Charleston in the summer of 1863; General P.G.T. Beauregard sought any method practical to alleviate the ever-increasing effectiveness of the Federal blockade. Soon after arriving at her new home, the Hunley claimed her first victims when five of the crew drowned during an August 29 test. Less than two months passed before eight additional men, including Hunley, joined the watery graves of their mates. Beauregard proved reluctant to allow the submarine operation to continue after the loss of life. Eventually, he relented and permitted Lieutenant George Dixon to assemble a collection of seven brave volunteers to resume training. Their hard work finally paid off on February 17, as the Hunley crew approached the USS Housatonic, anchored outside the harbor, and planted her spar torpedo into the ship’s hull. The resultant explosion ripped the Housatonic apart; in less than five minutes, she sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic. Five sailors onboard the ship died, but the balance of the 155-man crew found safety on the deck of the nearby Canandaigua. Dixon and his men perished during the attack.

‘Atlanta’s Daily Intelligencer’ reported on this incident, noting, “This individual enterprise, aided by unsurpassed heroism, has struck a blow at the United States Navy unsurpassed by any act yet performed by the government navy.” The Charleston Mercury informed readers of the change in United States naval procedure after the loss of the Housatonic, when publishing information gleaned from Federal prisoners, who stated, “…all the wooden vessels of the blockading squadron now go far out to sea every night, being afraid of the risk of riding at anchor in any portion of the outer harbor.”
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Vicksburger

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Messages
1,053
Location
Saint Joseph
#3
I have a question for you Naval experts. In the movie The Hunley there is a scene where the engineer officer, the English chap, is ordered elsewhere and he tells one of the crew that they are going down in history as the men brave enough to take on a warship in a souped up boiler, I can't remember the exact language, but it is clear he is inferring that Hunley was made from an old "Boiler" tank. Is that true or fiction?
 

AndyHall

Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
13,253
#5
"but it is clear he is inferring that Hunley was made from an old "Boiler" tank. Is that true or fiction? "

Fiction. The boat did, in fact, resemble a boiler, and was made with the same basic materials, but it turns out to have been vastly more sophisticated and complex in its construction.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
878
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
#6
"but it is clear he is inferring that Hunley was made from an old "Boiler" tank. Is that true or fiction? "

Fiction. The boat did, in fact, resemble a boiler, and was made with the same basic materials, but it turns out to have been vastly more sophisticated and complex in its construction.
@AndyHall, I am still laughing at confederate 'jargon'. We used to say, "well as soon as we get this bucket of bolts on the road again..."
Imagine the 157th year looking back.
Thanks, Lubliner.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
878
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
#10
Well I guess we can all agree then, that when that confederate said they were to go down in history for being the only men brave enough to take on a warship in a souped up boiler, we know exactly what it is they meant (I am still laughing).
Lubliner.
 



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