Home 21st century technology Technology and War — Part 3: This was a first.
Search for the C. The story of the Hunley has been told and retold many times since her disappearance in Constructed by the Confederacy in Mobile, she was later shipped to Charleston in an optimistic hope of breaking the Union blockade.
Despite the fact she dispatched four of her crews, she was quite advanced for her time. She gained her everlasting fame when her crew of nine propelled her out with the tide on the evening of February 17th,and laid her spar torpedo under the side of the new Union navy sloop-or-war, Housatonic. He went two steps past the other archivists and found the Naval Board of Inquiry record into the sinking of the Housatonic.
The pages were, of course, written in longhand and the wax seal was still unbroken on the folder. This suggests to me that she survived the blast and is not buried under or inside the remains of the Union ship. Also, in November ofAdmiral Dahlgren ordered a survey of the wreck.
The salvage officer reported that he had dragged the seabed for yards around the Housatonic and found no trace of the torpedo boat. Several salvage projects in the next forty years could not find the hulk of the Hunley either.
Oddly, the evidence that seems to be consistently ignored came from Lieutenant Colonel Dantzler, Commander of Battery Marshall, the fortification where the Hunley was based.
Historians assumed he was trying to cover his tail for neglect with the following report. The signals agreed upon to be given in case the boat wished a light to be exposed at this post as a guide for its return were observed and answered.
An earlier report would have been made of this matter, but the officer of the day for yesterday was under the impression that the boat had returned, and so informed me ….
From there, we worked out to sea about a mile before we had to break off the search attempt and head for Virginia. Doc Edgerton came down with his side scan sonar and confirmed that anything that sank outside of Charleston Harbor quickly settled and was covered over by extremely soft silt.
Our divers found they could easily push their arms into it up to their shoulders. It came as no surprise when we discovered the remains of the Housatonic totally buried and quite scattered. Our divers extensively probed the debris area outside her boilers and found mostly shattered bits and pieces.
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No intellectual giant was required to conclude that the Hunley lies elsewhere under four to ten feet under the mud. We used two boats for our preliminary, data finding search. Our smaller Zodiac with Bill Shea operating a proton magnetometer, Dirk Cussler at the steering arm of the outboard, and marine archaeologist Dan Koski-Karell taking the navigating chores, slipped over the bar at Breech Inlet and ran search lines up and down the surf line, moving out with each lane.
Our second boat, a thirty-two footer with twin Chrysler engines called the Coastal Explorer, doubled as a search vessel and dive boat.
Forgive me for dwelling on the CE and her crew. The skipper, I beg his forgiveness for losing his name, was a really nice guy.Be at the forefront of the mega trends driving the future of the industry—connected technologies, efficiency, electrification, alternative fuels, sustainability, and more.
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