Skip to comments.The Confederate Submarine
Posted on 02/18/2014 3:58:30 PM PST by Brad from Tennessee
The moonlit sea was unusually calm on the bitterly cold night of Feb. 17, 1864, when a watchman spotted a strange, partially submerged shape gliding steadily toward the side of the Union sloop-of-war Housatonic. The steam-powered warship was serving blockade duty outside Charleston Harbor, and was one of the Unions biggest, best-armed vessels. Its men had heard reports of a new Confederate weapon, a sub-torpedo; still, it took a few minutes for the officer of the deck, John Crosby, to comprehend what he was seeing. By the time he did, it was too late.
The swiftly moving craft had passed under the Housatonics guns, and the small-arms fire now directed at it by the men on deck bounced harmlessly off its iron hull. The men onboard heard a muffled thud as the vessel planted an explosive charge in the Housatonics wooden side, below the waterline. Moments later, the charge detonated, lighting up the sky and sending the Yankee warship to the bottom, along with five of its sailors. The Housatonic had achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the first ship to be sunk by a submarine in combat and the only vessel destined to be destroyed by the H.L. Hunley.
In the wake of the explosion, the Hunleys commander signaled to the rebel lookouts on shore with a blue magnesium light, indicating that the mission had succeeded. The shore party obligingly built huge signal fires, to guide the Hunley home. But as the submarines crew back-powered furiously, something went terribly wrong. Perhaps the concussion from the blast compromised one or more of the seals that kept the ocean out. But shortly after the Housatonic went down, the Hunley and its eight-man crew joined her on the ocean floor. . .
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I learned about this story. Pretty amazing they had submarine warfare during the Civil War. But they did.
the wrong side won in 1865
Both sides were wrong in several ways....
I’ve seen the Hunley in person at the Warran Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, before the interior was even fully excavated.
I saw it years ago in the preservation tank. I had no idea it was that tiny.
I do not have a single male relative who served in Union Blue. Many, many served in the Grey. Two of them entered politics after the war, one of them a Member of Congress and Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee. The other State Governor and United States Senator. Both lost their fortunes during the war, but both have written that the war was tragic and that the preservation of the Union was a good thing.
Another, a 3d generation descendant of President Thomas Jefferson's family was killed in action in 1863. His family were all loyal to the Lost Cause, but firmly supported the decision ratified by the blood of so many Americans.
I know that these people would not support your view. They learned many bitter lessons and they worked to heal the nation, not divide it in the years following. Let Obama be the America hater, he plays that role so well.
6’4, 250ish me would have no prayer of even getting in the hatch so no worries for me. I wouldn’t have been in the Confederate Submarine Service.
“They do not teach this in high school American history class.”
If I’m teaching it, I do. :)
true. I wouldn’t fit in there either.
Years ago when I played ARNG (misguided idea) and went to Ft. Stewart, I saw some of the soviet era stuff that came back from the middle east fun and games.
I was surprised at how small soviet armor, pc’s, and the like were compared to our stuff. I’d be way too big for armor crew in Ivan’s armor corps. They look like deathtraps and from what I have gathered were.
I find it odd you feel compelled to speak for all your relatives, who were evidently Confederates.
“The Lost Cause,” “In Grey,” “Ratified by the blood...”
All of this is very saccharine Victor’s language but I strongly suspect you misunderstand the reasons for secession and the secession itself, as well as the level of understanding men who might well be brighter than you had of their situation, of the state of the Union, and of their cause.
Finally to refer to Confederate sympathizers as ‘un-American’ marks you as, perhaps someone who would do well to read any number of excellent pieces on the subject of the Constitution, State’s rights, powers of the Federal government, etc., all of which changed drastically and permanently after Appomatox.
A weapon of desperation only. It show Confederate Courage and daring if nothing else. They would have been smarter to invest in fast “david” torpedo boats.
SPOT ON! There were many, MANY, southern military that said the very same thing.
My grt gramps gave acreage to southern soldiers that came up north to find work after they were pardoned at Vicksburg. They stayed and prospered.
Joe Johnston went to Shermans funeral and died a few days later. Lee said that in all history, he could not find a general like that of Grant. And that from Lee. These four men, held the union together after it was over since there were those in the administration, after Lincoln was killed, who wanted blood. I believe Grant would have instigated a coup if they persisted. He said it was over, end of story.
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