(Click on This LinkFor Latest and Most Recent Developments)
July 3, 1999 - From Charleston Post and Courier story -A hunt is on for the remains of Confederate sailors that sailed on the Hunley. The main goal is to find four members of the submarine H.L. Hunley's first crew. It appears work crews were halfway successful, finding two coffins stacked in one grave. Sixteen bodies have been found so far. The remains represent the bodies of Confederate sailors who died during the war and were buried in what was then a mariner's cemetery. The site was covered over in 1948 when the city of Charleston built the 21,000-seat stadium. The graves were left behind because of a clerical accident. City Council gave the builders permission to move the graves, but a letter spelled out permission to move the headstones.
July 11, 1999- Turner Network Television begins showing its full length TV movie on the Hunley. Movie has wonderful action shots of sub. However, there are many discrepancies between movie and real Hunley story. Imaginary characters and events are introduced and historical characters are changed. Crew operation of sub was changed, evidently, to facilitate filming. Movie does excellent job of showing extreme crowded conditions and danger involved.
Week of July 12, 1999 - From Charleston Post and Courier story - Two more Hunley crew members found in dig under stadium. Can be identified by oversize, stacked caskets and dismemberment required to be removed from submarine.
Charleston Post and Courier has available its special edition on the Hunley at: (http://www.charleston.net/news/hunleytab.html)
Friends of the Hunley, group dedicated to raise funds to recover and display the Hunley, has new web site at: (http://www.hunley.org/)
July 22, 1999- From Charleston Post and Courier story- The Hunley Commission has decided to use a part of the former Charleston Naval Shipyard for the Hunley restoration project. In this phase, the sub will be placed in a large water tank and treated. This may take as long as six years. This is part of the long range plan to put the Hunley on eventual display at the Charleston Museum. They also announced that the sub may be raised as early as May of next year, rather than 2001, as first announced.
October 27, 1999 - From Charleston Post and Courier story - A military funeral is scheduled for remains of the first Hunley crew and other Confederate sailors and marines. On Friday, November 12, 1999 a funeral will be held for 22 Confederate dead that were removed from under Johnson Hagood Stadium. The impressive ceremony will include an escort of more than 1,000 Civil War re-enactors. They will provide a funeral procession for the five mile trip from the Confederate Memorial at the Battery to the burial site at Magnolia Cemetery. A Confederate funeral of this magnitude and formality has not been seen in South Carolina in over a hundred years.
November 19, 1999 - According to a story by Rachel Graves in the Charleston Post and Courier, the recovered submarine Hunley will likely be raised next year, about six months earlier than originally planned. State Sen. Glenn McConnell has said that recovery efforts for the Hunley will begin in June or July if the conservation facility at the closed Charleston Navy Base is ready in time. The recovery effort was originally planned for January 2001. Recovery cannot be completed during hurricane season, so doing it earlier required a six-month leap. "Everything seems to be falling into place," said McConnell, R-Charleston, the chairman of the state's Hunley Commission.
January 7, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story - The remains of the last man from the first Hunley crew is believed to have been found. The remains were located beneath the parking lot of the Citadel football stadium. The coffin was only about 15 or 20 feet where the four other Hunley sailors were found. However, their graves were actually under the stadium. Like the other four, this coffin was also oversize to accomodate the bloated and possibly dismembered body. The article states that the five crew members were Irish immigrant sailors who had joined the Confederate Navy in New Orleans. Their names were given as Frank Doyle, John Kelly, Michael Cane, Nicholas Davis and Absolum Williams. It is planned to re-inter all five men in a special ceremony at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery on March 25 of this year.
February 11, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story - The state Hunley Commission has decided to try to raise the submarine on July 17 of this year. This is about 6 months earlier than planned previously. The Commission has contracted with the company, Oceaneering International Inc., to actually raise the sub. The sub will be moved into a building at the former Charleston Naval Base for cleaning and long term preservation. This process will take several years. Eventually, the Hunley will be moved to a new home at the Charleston Museum.
March 10, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story - The Charleston Naval Base Redevelopment Authority (RDA) has agreed to extend the lease for the building that will be used in the Hunley restoration. If required, the lease can extend to the year 2013. The original lease was until 2007. It is estimated that emptying and cleaning the sub will take from six months to ten months. Conserving and preserving the vessel could take up to 10 years. The Friends of the Hunley, the non-profit group raising the money for the effort , are estimating that they will spend up to 2.7 million dollars in remodeling the building in which the sub will be housed.
March 10, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story - A funeral is scheduled on Saturday, March 25, for the remains of five members of the first Hunley crew. They have been identified as Frank Doyle, John Kelly, Michael Cane, Nicholas Davis and Absolum Williams. They were Irish immigrant sailors who had joined the Confederate Navy in New Orleans.They were removed from under Johnson Hagood Stadium. The ceremony will include an escort of Civil War re-enactors and retired submarine veterans. They will provide a funeral procession for the five mile trip from the Confederate Memorial at the Battery to the burial site at Magnolia Cemetery. The march will start at 10 a.m. and the burial is planned for 12:30 p.m.
March 21, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story on Sunday, March 19 - "Scientists studying the skeletal remains of five supposed Confederate submarine Hunley crewmen say it appears one of the sailors was a 13-year-old boy. According to a preliminary forensics report, this sailor never achieved physical maturity. The most telling clues are: The sailor's teeth hadn't moved into their adult position at the time of death, and his arm and leg bones never developed to adult size. Investigators believe the youth probably was 13 years old, but he might have been a little older. Younger individuals on navy ships were not uncommon. Also, the sub's tiny space for the eight men needed to crank the propeller shaft would have made smaller crewmen preferable."
May 7, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story on Sunday, May 7 - Preparation for the operation to raise the Hunley will begin on Friday, May 12. The submarine will be encased in a special cage to support it when it is lifted out of the water. The actual removal from the water is now scheduled for July 17.
May 13, 2000 - From Charleston Post and Courier story on Saturday, May 13 - The South Carolina Hunley Commission held a news conference on Friday, May 12 at the former Charleston Naval Base. Commission Chairman, state Senator Glenn McConnell, announced that the Hunley recovery effort was to start that day. Senator McConnell stressed that it was important that the sub be raised to prevent it being plundered. The sub is in shallow water and close to the shore.
The National Geographic Society has agreed to make a documentary of the recovery, including filming the difficult underwater segments. NGS will pay $200,000 for the film rights. The Discovery Channel pulled out of negotiations for those rights last month.
The recovery effort was scheduled to begin later on Friday when the workboat Marks Tide leaves the former Charleston Navy Base and heads to the Hunley wreck site, 4 1/2 miles off Sullivan's Island.
The vessel will carry divers, archaeologists and engineers who will take part in the recovery work. The first major step will be to vacuum away the sand from around the sub so that archaeologists can locate any hidden objects that may have fallen from the sub.
The Hunley will be raised by placing a strong rigid truss over the sub and pulling it to the surface via a cradle and a floating crane.
Plans are to keep the sub in a conservation tank at the former Naval Base for five to 10 years.
An actual recovery date of sometime in mid July is scheduled but that may change based on conditions and problems encountered.
May 28, 2000 - The recovery operations for the Hunley are now underway. New discoveries about the sub are now made almost daily. It has been found that there is a 3 foot hole in the sub’s aft section. No explanation for the hole has yet been found. Probably the major discovery is completely new information about the spar that carried the torpedo. A metal spar about 17 feet long has been located. It has also been found that this spar mounted on the front of the sub, not on the top as stated in most historical sources. The prevalent thinking among most historians was that the spar was made of wood and mounted on the top of the sub, as shown on the replica at the Charleston Museum. The Charleston Post and Courier Newspaper now is running a special on-line section entitled "Special Report - Solving the Mystery". This site is very detailed and gives all the latest newspaper accounts of the recovery effort. It is :
June 2, 2000 - Work is proceeding very well on the Hunley recovery. Things are going so good that the date for raising the sub has been moved forward by three weeks. Senator Glenn McConnell, Chairman of the Hunley Commission, announced that the target date for recovery is now June 27, if things go well.
July 8, 2000 - It appears that another crane has been located to raise the Hunley. The recovery efforts have been stopped since mid -June. It was discovered that the original barge and crane planned for use could not handle the 5 foot offshore waves. It pitched and moved too much. When this was discovered the Hunley was recovered with sand bags and the recovery effort halted until the crane problem was solved. The new crane is named the Karlissa B and is 175 feet long. As soon as Federal regulations are met for the new crane, the recovery effort can start again. It is believed now that the Hunley will be raised in early August meaning that the recovery is three weeks or so behind.
July 25, 2000 - The Hunley recovery crane and barge have been towed into place above the site of the sunken submarine. The legs of the crane barge have been lowered to sit on the ocean floor. Once the legs were down, the crane platform was raised to be about 1 foot higher than the high tide level. The next step will be lowering and placing the very large, circular foundation pilings that will support the cage that will be used to raise the submarine. Present plans are for the sub to be raised on August 7.
August 7, 2000 - Plans are now that the Hunley will be raised early in the morning of tomorrow, Tuesday, August 8. Divers have completed placing all of the 32 slings that will support the submarine as it is being lifted. The submarine is now hanging in the lifting cradle. If there are are no problems, the submarine will be raised to the surface about 8:00 am. It is estimated that the sand filled submarine will weigh about 65,000 pounds. The submarine will be moved to the former Naval Shipyard for its future preservation. The indirect route to the Shipyard will take the submarine close to areas where it may be seen by the public. It is estimated that thousands of Charlestonians and tourists will turn out to see the homecoming of the Hunley.
August 8, 2000 - The lost submarine is raised and brought home to Charleston. Shortly after 8:30 am this morning, the sub was slowly lifted to the surface. It was in the sunshine for the first time in 136 years. The sub was placed on a barge and carried to its new, temporary home on the former Charleston Naval Base. Thousands of Charlestonians and tourists gathered along its route to see the boat procession and to see a part of history. I was able to see the raising of the submarine from up very close. Click on this link for an eye witness account and photographs of the event.
August 26, 2000 - There is great public interest in seeing the recently recovered Hunley. Presently, public viewing of the sub is not possible. The sub is in a chilled water tank in the Lasch Conservation Center. The Hunley Commission will meet on September 1 to discuss the possibility of public tours of the sub and the facility. The income from the tours could be be very useful in the effort to preserve and display the vessel.
September 1, 2000 - The Hunley Commission is planning to allow public viewing of the submarine starting as early as Saturday, September 16, 2000. Details are still being worked out but public access is expected on every Saturday into November. The system of how tickets will be alloted must still be worked out. It is expected that the public demand for tickets will be huge.
September 29, 2000 - It was announced today that public viewing of the Hunley will start on Saturday, October 14 and continue on for five weekends after that. Viewing will on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 5 p.m. Tickets will be $10 each and are on a first come basis. For more information about the tickets see the Hunley web site at (http://www.hunley.org/)
November 6 - 2000; Tours to see the submarine will be extended through the Thanksgiving weekend. Group size will be increased from 30 to 40 at a time. There has been an enormous demand for the tickets to the tour. The web site offering the tickets was swamped with over two million hits when they went on sale in October.
November 12 - 2000; I was fortunate enough to be able to take the tour to see the Hunley up close. Click on this link for my eyewitness account of seeing the submarine.
December 2, 2000 - The scientists investigating the Hunley will begin excavating the inside of the submarine on January 22, 2001. Also, high frequency sonar scans of the sub show that artifacts do exist inside the silt that fills the boat. Many of the artifacts are in the forward end of the submarine indicating it sank bow first. This information was made available in an announcement by Senator Glenn McConnell, Chairman of the SC Hunley Commission. Public viewing will be continued until the excavation begins. Tickets are required.
January 22, 2001 - The removal of the contents of the submarine will begin this week. The scientists studying the Hunley have decided how to get inside the boat with the least damage to the vessel. They will drill out the rivets holding some of the iron panels in place. Once this is done, alternating panels on the top half of the sub will be removed. This will allow the contents to be taken out. However, before this is started, some material will be removed through an existing tear in the rear part of the boat. The complete clearing of the boat will take several weeks. It is not known at this time whether or not any traces of the crew will be found. It will be possible for the public to watch the excavation on wide screen televisions at the Lasch Center where the work is being done. The Friends of the Hunley are expected to have a web cam showing the excavation on their web site (http://www.hunley.org/) but this is not yet operational.
February 13, 2001 - Efforts are now underway to drill out and remove rivets holding some of the iron panels in place. Several alternate panels on the top half of the sub will be removed. This will enable the scientists to begin the excavation of the main portion of the boat.
The Friends of the Hunley have a web cam showing the excavation on their web site (http://www.hunley.org/) but this is only available to their members. It requires a password for access.
February 23, 2001 - Scientists working on the Hunley have successfully removed one of the three hull plates that will allow excavation of the sub's interior. A second panel has had the rivets removed. However, the panel itself has not yet been lifted out of its place just before the rear conning tower. The third plate will have the rivets removed next week. It is just aft of the forward conning tower.The plates have almost 100 rivets each holding them in place. When all three plates have been removed the excavation and sifting of the sediment inside the sub can begin. It is estimated that removal of the sub's contents will take about two months.
March 11, 2001 - Three hull plates have now been removed from the sub and allow access to the contents. Excavation of the interior has started. So far, only silt containing sea shells has been found. There is evidence that the sediment had a low oxygen content raising hope that the artifacts may be well preserved.
Another potential controversy about the Hunley project has also arisen. State Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, has said that the space offered by the Charleston Museum may much smaller than what is needed for a proper display of the submarine. The commission may need to look some where else to put it on permanent display.
This announcement brought a quick reply from Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman, an original Hunley Commission member. He wants to bring the sub to the Patriot's Point Maritime Museum in his city. He said he would ask the Mount Pleasant Town Council for funds to build a facility if required.
The prospect of losing the submarine is not well received by city of Charleston officials. Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. has said he would like the sub to remain downtown and be housed in cooperation with the Charleston Museum. However, he also said that arrangement could include moving the sub to a new museum site, near the new Charleston aquarium and the Fort Sumter tour boat facility.
March 19, 2001 - Scientists excavating the Hunley are beginning to find small artifacts. The first items were two brass uniform buttons that have been identified as being from the uniform of a soldier in an artillery unit from Alabama. A board that was either part of a shelf or a seat was also found. Since then, a corked glass bottle and another wooden shelf has been found. The inside of the sub is so small that scientists are planning to remove another hull plate to give better access for their search.
April 21, 2001 - The pace of discovery of items on the submarine continues to accelerate:
Remains of eight of the nine crewmen have been discovered. This includes the skull and nearly complete skeleton that was located aft in the vicinity where one of the sub's officer would have operated the aft ballast tank. It appears that the only crew member not yet found is Lt. Dixon, the sub commander. His position in the sub was in the extreme forward part of the boat.
A variety of artifacts are being uncovered. One of these appears to be a bellows that may have been used to increase air flow in and out of the air box.
Items include pieces of cloth uniforms, buttons and a leather shoe. Other personnel items found are a wooden tobacco pipe, a short pencil and a tin canteen.
The excavators have found what may be the steering rods for the sub. They are located beneath the bench that the crew sat on. This is not in the location shown on W.A. Alexander's historical sketches of the sub. Further excavation will be required to determine if the objects are indeed part of the steering mechanism.
A major contest is emerging for the site of the Hunley's permanent home. Original plans called for the sub to be housed at the Charleston Museum. Concerns about the need for a larger space has brought about new offers. The cities of Charleston, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston are now making overtures to be the display site.
May 21, 2001
One of the most amazing discoveries is that there is still brain tissue preserved in the skulls that have been uncovered. This will add to the research information found but may complicate the preservation of the crews remains.
An amazing variety of artifacts continue to be recovered . Recent items include a candle and holder, a hat and an identification tag for a FEDERAL soldier from Connecticut that was thought to be killed during an attack on Battery Wagner on Morris Island.
It is now thought that the remains of the crew will not be interred at Magnolia Cemetery until late in the year 2002. Previous plans were for later this year.
At some time in the future the Hunley commission hopes to build a working replica of the submarine for experimentation. However, this will have the safety features that the real one lacked. Estimated cost of the replica is around $100,000.
May 22, 2001
The remains of the final crewman have been found in the forward part of the sub. They are believed to be that of Lt. Dixon, the sub's commander. He is the last of the crew to be found.
New discoveries have been made about the Hunley and its crew. Several long held ideas about the sub have been found to be wrong such as:
New, unexpected features of the vessel have been discovered. A bellows has been found that is connected to the piping of the air box. This helped force air into the boat and made the air box more efficient than natural air flow. The bellows has obstructed entry to the forward portion of the boat and must be carefully removed. Evidence has also been found that the air from the bellows may have been distributed to the crew members that were sitting further away .
- Eight men actually cranked the boat - This is not true. There are only seven crank stations. Evidently, the ships officer stationed in the stern of the sub performed other duties and did not operate the crank.
- The crew was positioned on both sides of the crank - This also appears wrong. It seems that all of the men sat on the left side of the boat to crank. Means were provided to offset their weight either by the weight of the crank support brackets or by another method not yet known.
May 28, 2001
The story of Dixon's gold coin has proven to be true. The Hunley scientists have found the legendary coin. It is an 1860 U.S. $20 eagle gold piece. The coin was supposed to have been given to Lt. Dixon by his fiancé Queenie Bennett of Mobile, Alabama. Dixon was carrying the coin in his pocket when his unit, the 21st Alabama Infantry, was involved in the battle of Shiloh in April, 1862. Dixon was shot, but the bullet that hit him struck the coin in his pocket. The coin was deformed and Dixon was left with a limp. The story was told that he always carried the coin with him afterwards. This was confirmed when the bent coin was recovered from the area of Dixon's remains. The coin was not corroded and almost as bright as when the sub sank. The coin was engraved on the back with:
April 6, 1862
My life Preserver
(G.E.D. was for George E. Dixon)
Also found close to Lt. Dixon was a lantern that may have been used to signal the success of the sub's mission. Further excavation of the Hunley will be stopped until the fall. During this time the tours of the sub will be started again. Information about the tours can be obtained from the Friends of the Hunley organization.
July 26, 2001 - Tours of the Hunley have started again while excavation and inspection of the sub have been suspended until the fall. Future home of the submarine is still uncertain. The cities of Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant all want the Hunley to be permanently located there.
October 1, 2001 - Final excavation of the Hunley is scheduled to start today after being halted over the summer. Approximately 80% of the sub has been cleared of silt but some areas remain covered. One major point of interest is the space under the crew's wooden bench. There is speculation that if a log book was kept of the submarine's operation this is where it might be found. This final part of the excavation is expected to be finished by Christmas.
November 5, 2001
It has been found that the Hunley only had a crew of eight men. Past accounts all said that there were nine men in the crew. However, the remains of only eight were onboard. It was also found that there were only seven crank stations, not eight as had been previously thought. Investigation of the remains show that the crew ranged in age from 19 to their early 40's.
Hunley Commission Chairman Glenn F. McConnell expects at least one million people a year will visit the sub when it first goes on display, possibly as soon as 2007. The sub will possibly will become the largest single tourism draw in all of South Carolina when it goes on full public display.
The propeller driving system has been found to be more complex than originally thought. It was believed that the crank was fastened directly to the propeller. However, the drive has been found to have a set of gears and a flywheel.
The scientists working on the submarine have confirmed that the sub's ballast tanks were open at the top. The W.A. Alexander account of the submarine described the open tanks. The aft bulkhead is located about a foot-and-a-half behind the rear conning tower-and it is open to the after ballast tank. The iron wall stops almost a foot from the ceiling of the hull. This open tank top would allow water from the ballast tank to pour into the Hunley's central compartment if the sub were tipped or lost an even keel.
The scientists have found three of the bolts that were used to release the sub's lead keel ballast in an emergency.
More details have been found about the crewbench mounted along the portside wall of the sub. It has been found to be made of three wooden sections, supported by a number of brackets. Beneath that bench, workers have uncovered another artillery button and four more canteens.
A photograph thought to be that of Lt. Dixon has been found to be of someone else. Details of the photograph provided the time clues: the man's tie, the lapels on his coat, his boots - even the furniture and the draperies in the room - all indicate the tintype photograph was taken after 1870 - six years after the Hunley sank - and perhaps even as late as 1890.
"All those items together - it just isn't possible," Jonathan Leader, a state archaeologist with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology who did research on the photo.
December 6, 2001
The investigators have finished the work on the sub's central compartment. Work still must be done in the forward and aft ballast tanks.
April 22, 2001
The future home of the submarine is still in doubt. Three Charleston area communities are competing to be the location for the Hunley museum. The Hunley is expected to bring tourists from all over the world to Charleston. The cities of Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant have made proposals to the Hunley Commission about how they would support and display the Hunley when it has been preserved. The time of preservation may be much less than the original estimate of seven years because of the potential of a new method of preservation. The final decision is expected within a month. The summary of each city's proposal is as follows:
City of CharlestonThe city of Charleston has proposed the Hunley Museum be built on Liberty Square between the new National Park Service Fort Sumter Visitors Center and the Dockside Condominiums. The site is very close to the spot where the Hunley was first put into Charleston harbor in 1863. The site also has a view of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. The site would benefit from being in the area now visited by thousands of tourists. City of North CharlestonNorth Charleston proposes to permanently house the recovered vessel on a Cooper River site adjoining the northern end of the former Charleston Navy Base. This is an 11 acre site near the Warren Lasch laboratory where the Hunley is undergoing preservation. This would be part of the planned 20-year, 3,000-acre, $1 billion Noisette project to revitalize North Charleston. The North Charleston project team brings international talent to the Hunley project, including the firm of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, designers of the Washington, D.C.-area Newseum and United States Holocaust Museum, Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Richmond's Civil War Visitor Center. City of Mount Pleasant
The city plans to display the Hunley at the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum. This is the Naval and Maritime Museum for South Carolina. The Hunley would be a centerpiece for one of the most successful museums of its kind in the United States, with its own facility, designed specifically for its unique exhibition. Patriot's Point already has over 400,000 visitors per year.
May 9, 2002 - State Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the Hunley Commission, said that the city of Charleston may have lost out on its bid to be the permanent home of the Hunley. He said the city's financial offer and its parking plan falls short. The cities of Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and Charleston are competing to be the final home of the sub. The winner is expected to be announced soon.
June 8, 2002 -Hunley scientists have recovered the gold pocket watch of sub commander George E. Dixon . The watch was found in a block of sediment holding some of Dixon's remains and appears to be intact.
June 27, 2002 - The scientists and genealogists are beginning to unravel the story about the individual members of the Hunley crew. They are studying the human remains found in the sub and trying to learn everything they can about each crew member’s story. Only eight bodies were found on the submarine. Generally accepted accounts of the sub had said, wrongly, that there were nine crewman. The men range in age from about 18 or 20 to their early 40s. It may take the researchers 18 months before they finish their work. The final step in the work will be for the scientists to reconstruct the facial features of each person.
June 28, 2002 - A proposal to name the new bridge across Breach Inlet for the Hunley has led to unexpected controversy. The new bridge replaces a bridge named for William Thompson of Revolutionary War fame. Thompson and his colonial troops prevented British soldiers from crossing the Inlet and attacking the American fort there during a battle in July, 1776. When the announcement was made that the new bridge was to be named after the Hunley, many people did not like the idea of removing the Thompson name. A "compromise" of sorts was reached. A historical marker for Thompson and his men will be erected on the Sullivans Island side of the inlet. This latest controversy is only the latest of many that have followed the Hunley ever since it was built.
August 14, 2002 - The South Carolina Hunley Commission had a three hour meeting in Columbia, SC and decided to postpone the decision on the Hunley’s permanent home. The Commission Chairman, Senator Glenn McConnell, announced that more evaluation was needed of the financial bids made by the cities of Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant. The state Budget and Control Board will be given the material to evaluate all financial aspects related to displaying the sub in each of the three proposed locations. The Budget and Control Board review is expected to be completed in about 45 days and a Hunley Commission final decision should be made about two weeks later.
August 22, 2002 - Divers investigating the Hunley wreck site have made an unusual find. They found and recovered a three foot long iron piece with five points on it. It is not clear if the piece was a grappling hook used by the Federal navy looking for the Hunley or the anchor from the Hunley itself. The hook, covered with marine growth, was actually in the right place to be the anchor of the Hunley. It was 18 feet straight off the bow and was pointed back at the sub. The recovered hook is being stored in fresh water in the Warren Lasch Center and its use is still being studied.
August 28, 2002 - Scientists studying the Hunley and its crew have found that the femur bone in Lt. Dixon’s left leg has a severe dent in it. They think that the dent was made when a bullet hit the $20.00 gold coin in Dixon’s pocket during the battle of Shiloh. They say that if the coin had not slowed and deflected the bullet Dixon would have been crippled or killed. The coin itself was recovered from the sub in 2001. Since the coin recovery, it has been investigated by scientists with the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division. They have determined that the black marks on the coin are lead streaks. This supports the romantic story of the coin since Civil War bullets were made of lead. Hunley scientists will do further testing on the bone to determine if it contains minute particles of lead from the bullet. They will also examine Dixon’s bones and leg and ankle joints to see if they can determine if he walked with a limp from the wound.
October 12, 2002 - The decision about the Hunley's permanent location will be delayed until November. The Budget and Control Board review is taking longer than first expected. The financial bids made by the cities of Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant are being evaluated.
October 22, 2002 - ( Based on State Newspaper article of Oct. 21, 2002 ) Hunley officials are looking at other methods of preserving the submarine besides the use of electrolysis that is now planned. The basic problem is the removal of corrosive salts that are now on and in the surface of the metal submarine. These salts, if not removed, will eventually destroy the submarine if it is exposed to the air untreated. Electrolysis make use of passing electrical current through the submarine while it remains submerged in fresh water. A major problem with the electrolysis method is that the time of treatment will be about seven years. Another, is that the method does not work efficiently behind bolted or riveted pieces. Hunley scientists are looking at two other methods that may be used and would cut the treatment time dramatically. They will test these methods on pieces from the boiler of a paddle steamer that sank off the coast of Australia in 1880.The first is the use of super and subcritical water to remove the corrosive salts. When water is subjected to intense heat and pressure it acquires some unusual properties. One of these is the ability to quickly dissolve other materials. Clemson University is studying this method and will conduct tests in the Hunley lab in North Charleston in December .November 14, 2002 - Two pieces of diamond jewelry that were in the possession of Lt. George Dixon have been found on the sub. The pieces were a gold pinky ring with nine diamonds and the other a gold brooch with 37 diamonds. It is not known if the jewelry was for a man or woman. The estimated price for the ring today is about $1,500 retail and the brooch about $3,000. This does not reflect the price as valuable historic relics. This find is unusual for a fighting ship and they add another mystery to the Hunley.
The second method is cold plasma technolgy. In this method, hydrogen would be blown over the Hunley in a sealed container and the plasma formed would remove the impurities as a gas. The plasma method will be tested in France.
If either method works on the Hunley the treatment time could be shortened to a matter of hours instead of years. A major drawback to either method is that a large and strong pressure vessel would be needed to treat the entire sub. Otherwise, the sub would have to be taken apart and treated in smaller pressure vessels.
November 19, 2002 - The famous gold coin found on Lt. George Dixon is now on diplay to the public. The coin can now be seen as part of the regular Hunley weekend tours. It is an 1860 gold $20 Lady Liberty coin, bent from a Minie ball's impact. The coin has an inscription added by Dixon. It reads:December 6, 2002 - The decision as to where the Hunley will be permanently located has been postponed indefinitely. Senator Glenn McConnell,chairman of the state Hunley Commission, has said that none of the of the proposals offered for the permanent home offer enough money. McConnell estimates that the money needed for a first class facility will be about $38 million. None of the three cities in competetion are offering anything close to that. Charleston has offered about $5 million for a $29.5 million museum near the South Carolina Aquarium; Mount Pleasant, in partnership with Patriot's Point, has promised about $7 million over 10 years for a $28.5 million museum on the East Cooper side of the harbor; and North Charleston is offering $11 million.
April 6th, 1862
My life Preserver
All of the cities are facing budget restraints due to the slow economy.
February 17, 2003 - A 3-by-5-inch leather wallet found on the submarine was hoped to hold clues of a sailor's personal life. However, when scientists opened the wallet no contents were found.
February 24, 2003 – The Town Council of the city of Mount Pleasant has unanimously voted to withdraw its pledge of $7 million for a proposed Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley museum at Patriot's Point so it can pursue more pressing needs. However, Mayor Hallman and other council members said they remain confident the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum is the best site for the Civil War relic and that they would reconsider funding the museum if authorities in charge of the Hunley choose Patriot's Point at a later date. The cities of North Charleston and Charleston have gone on record stating that they are still in the competition to be the permanent home of the submarine.
March 8, 2003 - The gold pocket watch belonging to Confederate submarine Hunley commander Lt. George Dixon has been found on the submarine. It was opened by the scientists this week . It was found to be stopped between 6 and 9 o'clock, but scientists warn that doesn't mean much in pinpointing the time the sub went down. The watch might have continued to tick for hours after Dixon and the rest of the crew succumbed to their fate, either by suffocating or drowning inside the submarine. Even though the sub sailed at night, scientists don't know if the watch stopped during the a.m. or p.m.
Hunley archaeologists spent this week opening Dixon's watch in the hope it would reveal additional clues into the sub's final mission. An air bubble helped preserve some of its mechanics, although there is a lot of water damage inside and the hour hand is broken at the stem.
The only certainty is that the minute hand points to 22 minutes after the hour, and the second hand points to 20.
"It's a miracle the hands are even still here," said conservator Paul Mardikian. "They are quite damaged, but they are still here and fused to the face."
The team has not opened the back section of the watch where they'd expect to find an inscription either mentioning Dixon or as a message from anyone who might have given it to him as a gift. That will come later.
Several markings stamped into the gold on the outside could help determine who built the watch and where it came from. A purchase point might help the Hunley team find out more about Dixon, who was 26 years old when he commanded the sub. Not much more is known about him. The stamps include a lion, a horse's head that resembles a knight piece from a game of chess, a crown with the number 18 nearby -- meaning it is 18 karat gold and serial numbers. The numbers on the watch face are Roman numerals
The watch is of the highest quality for the time, officials said, and efforts to find another one like it have proved fruitless.
March 21, 2003 COLUMBIA, SC -A decision on where to build the H.L. Hunley museum will not be made before the fall as the cities competing to house the Confederate sub are about to undergo a second round of questioning.
The Hunley Commission's site selection subcommittee voted Thursday, March 20 to submit a dozen questions to Charleston, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston concerning simple matters such as who will own the museum and what grant writers and exhibit developers are available to them. There are more intangible questions, too, such as their commitment to a first-class facility.
Chris Sullivan, the subcommittee's chairman, drew up most of the questions to flesh out the more peripheral benefits associated with each bid. The three cities, with Patriot's Point joining Mount Pleasant, applied for the museum one year ago.
Sullivan said that one of the outstanding questions is the status of Mount Pleasant.Mayor Harry Hallman earlier this year said the town would withdraw its bid, and Town Council redirected the money it had committed to the project, essentially taking the offer off the table.
Town officials said they would consider putting more money back up if the commission decides it would like to put the museum there.
The questions that the sub committee are now asking the bidders concern historical presentation and displays, how they would handle ongoing conservation and whether they are willing to help raise money for the museum, which some estimate could cost up to $40 million. Also, the commission wants to know if the bidder or the Hunley Commission would be responsible for hiring or firing staff at the museum.
Initially the commission expected to make a decision on the museum site last year, but they were delayed when officials associated with the project decided there was not enough money on the table to proceed. With a state budget crisis and flaccid economy looming, the commission has held off on the decision.
February, 2004 - City of North Charleston selected as permanent home of the Hunley
The SC Hunley Commision has selected the city of North Charleston to be the permanent home of the submarine. The proposal of North Charleston won out over the cities of Charleston and Mount Pleasant. North Charleston offered considerably more financial support than the other cities. The SC legislature must still approve the decision.
Funeral ceremony for recovered crew was held on April 17, 2004The funeral ceremony for the eight recovered crewmen was held on Saturday, April 17, 2004. A crowd of approximately 20,000 people witnessed the event.
The burial, with full military honors, was preceded by an eight day memorial period, with a day of images and information devoted to each of the eight crew members.
The ceremony began at 10:00 a.m. at White Point Gardens, along the Battery in downtown Charleston. The ceremony was about an hour long. The funeral procession marched the 4 miles to Magnolia Cemetery. Thousands of Civil War re-eneactors took part in the ceremony. The crew was buried close to the two previous crews of the Hunley.
The submarine Hunley has been surrounded by controversy since it was built. This controversy continues to this day. For a full discussion about the previous controveries click on this link "Controversy and the Submarine H.L. Hunley."
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