Hunley
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Our Next Meeting

Sat., Sept. 20th, 2014 9:30am
Alamo Truck Stop
Sparks, NV
Private Room adjoining the Coffee Shop. It is easy to get to and is visible from I-80 on the south side of the freeway facing Gregg St between Vista and Sparks Blvd. The parking is also easy.


Sat., April 19th, 2014 11:00am
Masonic Lodge /
Escurial #7
Virginia City, NV
164 C Street, Virginia City, NV. This is directly across from the Fire Station. "C" is the main street.


Sat., May 10th, 2014 6:00pm
Lee/Jackson Dinner
Sands Casino
345 N. Arlington Ave, Reno, NV.
Upstairs in the Regency Towers Banquet Rooms.

History of the CSS Hunley


Hunley Ballad

Background:

The creation of The Confederate Torpedo Boat CSS Hunley was one of the South's attempts to break the Union blockade which was becoming increasing effective late in the war. Charleston, South Carolina was the pre-eminent Southern Port and destination for blockade runners and the Union's most hated symbol of Southern Secession. The City of Charleston was under siege for most of the war on land to the south and at sea near the mouth of the harbor. Charleston endured 587 days of constant shelling and there were numerous battles in connection with this siege.

The Submarine:

This submarine was originally built in Mobile, Alabama by Park and Lyons from a cylindrical steam boiler. It was designed by three men: James R. McClintock, Horace L. Hunley and Baxter Watson. To this, tapered ends were added. It had ballast tanks on each end; a hand crank turned by eight men; forward diving planes; and iron weights bolted to the underside of the hull which could be unscrewed from within the sub to give emergency buoyancy. Upon completion, the submarine was transported to Charleston on two railroad flat cars.

Lt. George E. Dixon:

DixonHis pre-war home was Mobile, Alabama, where he is believed to have been a steamboat engineer and auxiliary policeman. It was here he became close to Queenie Bennett the oldest of 8 children of a steamboat captain. He was, however, many years her senior, which seemed to make no difference at all.

In 1861 George Dixon went to war in the 21st Alabama Infantry where he was wounded at Shiloh. At this time his romance with Queenie Bennett becomes legendary. Before his departure she had given him a twenty-dollar gold piece for good luck; and it was this gold coin that saved his leg and possibly his life as it stopped a minie ball that went crashing into his leg at Shiloh.

After Shiloh, Dixon returned to Mobile to convalesce where he also worked in the machine shop preparing the submarine for service.

Queenie Bennett and Lt. Dixon are known to have spent Christmas together in 1862. The contents of the Hunley later revealed the gold coin that Queenie Bennett had given him. On it was an engraving similar to the one found on Queenie Bennett's pocketwatch which had the inscription Queen Bennett, December 25th, 1862. The watch also contained the photo of the man shown left, who is unknown to any of Queenie Bennett's descendants and not her father, but undoubtedly that of George E. Dixon.

Horace Lawson Hunley:

HunleyHorace Lawson Hunley was born in Sumner County, Tennessee, on 29 December 1823. As an adult, he served in the Louisiana State Legislature, practiced law in New Orleans, served as deputy collector of U.S. Customs, and was a generally notable figure in that area.

In 1861, after the start of the American Civil War, Horace Lawson Hunley joined James R. McClintock and Baxter Watson in building the submarine Pioneer, which was scuttled in 1862 to prevent its capture. The three men later constructed two submarines at Mobile, Alabama, the second of which was named H.L. Hunley. On August 7, 1863 Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard called Hunley to Charleston to help break the blockade. This vessel was taken to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1863, where it was to be used to attack blockading Union ships.

During a test dive on 15 October 1863, with Horace Lawson Hunley in charge, the submarine failed to surface. All on board, including Horace Lawson Hunley, lost their lives.


Park and Lyons Machine Shop
Park and Lyons Machine Shop in Mobile

Hunley Disasters:

The Hunley actually sank three times during its career. There were always plenty of volunteers willing to try again.

The First Sinking:

On August 29, 1863, the Hunley was swamped while moored by a passing ship when swells entered its open hatches. Five of its nine crewmen drowned. They were:

  • Frank Doyle
  • John Kelly
  • Michael Cane
  • Nicholas Davis
  • Absolum Williams

The Second Sinking:

On October 15, 1863, the Hunley sank with all hands when unable to recover from a dive. The crew was unable to release the ballast which would have enabled them to resurface. All eight crewmen drowned. They were:

  • H. L. Hunley, Creator
  • Thomas Parks, Civilian
  • Robert Brockbank, CSN
  • Joseph Patterson, CSN
  • Charles McHugh, CSN
  • John Marchall, CSN
  • Henry Beard, CSN
  • Charles Sprague, Civilian

The Hunley Strikes:

On Feb 17, 1864 the H. L. Hunley made a night attack against the USS Housatonic, an 1800 ton blockading warship mounting 23 guns. The Hunley rammed the Housatonic with a harpoon-like spar, having an explosive charge of about ninety pounds attached to it. After embedding the spar into the Union warship's wooden side, the Hunley backed off several yards; a lanyard was pulled inside the submarine triggering the explosive charge against the Housatonic's hull. The Union warship sank, becoming the first victim of a submarine attack in history.

Housatonic

Third Sinking:

There was to be a pre-arranged blue carbide signal from the Hunley that the attack had been completed and that the sub was coming home. This signal was actually observed from shore. The Hunley however was lost and not rediscovered for another 131 years until found by author Clive Cussler and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency in partnership with the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology.

On August 8th, 2000 at 8:37 a.m. the Hunley was lifted to the surface by a crane from the Clarissa B. 136 years after setting out on its attack. The images of the third crew shown below are reconstructions by forensic experts:

  • Lt. George E. Dixon, CSA
  • Arnold Becker, CSN
  • C. F. Carlson, CSA
  • F. Collins, CSN
  • Miller,CSN
  • Ridgeway, CSN
  • Lumpkin, CSN
  • James A. Wicks, CSN


Header

Dixon

Header

Becker

Header

Carlsen

Header

Collins

Header

Miller

Header

Ridgaway

Header

Lumpkin

Header

Wicks


For more information on The Hunley,

please visit the Friends of the Hunley website.

Another good site is: www.thehunley.com.

This site offers a free subscription to their newsletter.

_______________________________


We highly recommend viewing the Hollywood

production of the movie entitled "The Hunley"

with Armand Assante and Donald Sutherland.

Highly entertaining and captures the spirit

of the times.

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