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Transcript of H.L. Hunley
Horace Hunley killed by his invention
On this day Horace Lawson Hunley has made his mark on history, this will forever be remembered and will change wars from now on. - Eye Witness
Inside The Hunley
Anatomy Of a Submarnie
Born in Summer County, Tennessee in 1823 Horace Lawson Hunley served in Louisiana State legislative and practiced law in New Orleans. After the Civil War broke out the now Confedrate inventor converted a steam bolier into a submarine along with James R. McClintock and Baxter Wilson with the express purpose of providing a means of overcoming the Union Anaconda Blockade. This submarine called the could be propelled at four knots by a hand driven screw. Unfortunately the submarine sank twice during trials in Charleston, taking the lives of two crews. In the second accident the submarine was stranded on the bottom and Horace himself drowned with eight other crew members
The Man Behind It
Just under 40 feet long, the Hunley resembled a large steam boiler. Its hull was constructed of wrought-iron plates onto which were affixed two conning towers, sets of dive planes for maneuverability underwater, and, on top of the hull, five sets of portholes. A bellows was connected to a snorkel to draw fresh air into the vessel, but the system never worked well, and the boat could remain underwater only as long as the available air held out. For the eight or nine crewmen, that meant two more or less suffocating hours at most.
A crankshaft ran the length of the submarine. Seven or eight seated crewmen turned the shaft, which drove a single screw (propeller). The commander steered, using rods and cables connected to a rudder, and controlled depth with a lever attached to the dive planes and by pumping ballast water in or out using a hand powered pump.
CSS Hunley was fitted with a single weapon: a “torpedo,” packed with 90 pounds of black powder and affixed to a long spar that projected from the bow. The planned method of attack was to aim for the broadside of the target vessel, crank like mad, and then ram the vessel with sufficient force to penetrate the hull with the spar and its torpedo. This accomplished, the crew would crank again, fiercely-- in reverse, leaving the torpedo in the target vessel’s hull. At a safe distance from the enemy ship--about 200 feet--a crewman would tug at a lanyard attached to the torpedo, which would detonate, destroying the enemy
Monday, February 17, 1864
Vol XCIII, No. 311
H.L. HUNLEY SINKS
Brave men, doomed men
Attack on Housatonic
On February 17, 1864, at 8:45 pm., the Hunley rammed the nine-gun Federal ship USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor. Pierced through to her powder magazine, Housatonic was rocked by an explosion, heeled to port, and sank stern first. Five crewmen were drowned but the water in this part of the harbor was so shallow that most of the crew saved themselves simply by clinging to masks and rigging, which remained above the surface as the shattered vessel hit bottom.
According to eyewitnesses on the Housatonic, the Hunley pulled back. But the Hunley was not seen again and generally assumed to have been lost with its victim.
Yet there is a U.S Navy record of a report of light signals exchanged, after the attack, between the shore and “some object” at sea.
Why had the Hunley sank, apparently after the successful completion of its mission? Perhaps the blast had damaged the vessel. Assuming that the Hunley did send a light signal, perhaps an excited crewman had failed
The Ratchet Times
When the hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley torpedoed the mighty USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor on this day of February 17, 1864, it isn't expected to change the course of the Civil War, but by becoming the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship, it will altered naval warfare forever.