An Associated Press story this week provides an update on preservsation efforts on the Confederate submarine Hunley. We have been following the story because of the numismatic connection - the "Lucky Gold Coin" carried by the sub's commander.
A decade after the raising of the Confederate submarine Hunley off the South Carolina coast, the cause of the sinking of the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship remains a mystery. But scientists are edging closer.
On Friday, scientists announced one of the final steps that should help explain what happened after the hand-cranked sub and its eight-man crew rammed a spar with a powder charge into the Union blockade ship Housatonic off Charleston in February, 1864.
Early next year the 23-ton sub will be delicately rotated to an upright position, exposing sections of hull not examined in almost 150 years.
When the Hunley sank, it was buried in sand listing 45 degrees to starboard. It was kept that way as slings were put beneath it and it was raised and brought to a conservation lab in North Charleston a decade ago.
Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the raising of the Hunley, discovered five years earlier by shipwreck hunter Clive Cussler.
As thousands watched from boats and the shoreline, the Hunley was brought from the depths and back to the lab by barge. Thousands turned out again in April 2004 when the crew was buried in what has been called the last Confederate funeral.
During the past 15 years, about $22 million has been spent excavating and conserving the Hunley, according to Friends of Hunley, the nonprofit group that raises money for the project.
To read the complete article, see:
10 Years On, Mystery of Confederate Submarine Remains
There is a numismatic connection: Lt. George Dixon, the
sub's commander, carried with him a special $20 gold piece.
"Early in the war, in Mobile, Ala., Queenie Bennett (Dixon's
fiancée) gave him a $20 gold piece. While at Shiloh, a Union
bullet penetrated his trouser pocket and struck the coin. The
impact left the gold piece shaped like a bell, with the bullet
embedded in it. If it wasn't for that coin, he probably would
have died on the battlefield–and the Hunley might never have
made history. He would carry that coin the rest of his life..."
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
HUNLEY SUB LUCKY GOLD COIN FOUND
Wayne Homren, Editor
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