by George W. Penington  -  Editor


Naval Submarine Alligator - the first submarine in the United States Navy
"The fantastic Nautilus is precisely the submarine of the engineer Brutus Villeroi"
Spies and Craftsmen: Theories of the Mystery Submarine
Hunley’s Attack and Withdrawal
Reports on Hunley cost, legislative role wrong
By Glenn McConnell
tour PLANNED by bus of Confederate Naval sites
Tours of the Hunley



ALL issues are dedicated  to the brave and honorable Men of the Hunley and  to the Subscribers and Contributors to each issue, particularly to the CSS H L HUNLEY CLUB and The Post and Courier, and The State Paper.

Special Thanks to Andrew R. English  for his article "Spies and Craftsmen: Theories of the Mystery Submarine " and
  Steve R. Smith for "THE NEW ORLEANS SUB"  and his monetary donation - That always helps.

I took a break in June to work on some other projects and decided to produce a June/July Issue.   ENJOY

    Naval Submarine Alligator - the first submarine in the United States Navy

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    The Navy has recognized the 'Submarine Propeller' a.k.a. the Naval Submarine Alligator as the first submarine in the United States Navy, dating from 13 June 1862. This in no way supplants the USS Holland as the first "commissioned" submarine in the US Navy. Nor does it supplant the CSS H. L. Hunley as the first submarine built in this country to sink an enemy ship in combat. See the Spring issue of Undersea Warfare.

    I received a kind phone call from Admiral Deloach and a package of Undersea Warfare from Mike Smith who wrote the article and did a fine job. 

    My thanks to Admiral Jay Cohen USN (ret) and Admiral Jay Deloach, and Mr. Dan Basta (NOAA Marine Sanctuaries head) for spearheading this effort. And a special thanks to those intrepid seamen who pitch and roll while looking for this elusive target.  It is through the wonderful dedication of Michiko, Catherine, Alice, Mike, Tim, Chuck and all the Daves that this boat is a living part of our history and not a dead footnote. 

    Out submarine history just keeps getting richer and more interesting.

    Jim Christley

    Among the ongoing research into Alligator's history and the lives of the people associated with her, one gem surfaced that surprised all of us--the story of de Villeroi's 1832 demonstration of his first submarine. Following is a translation of the original French page at We are working to track down the source for Biraud's information in hopes there might be more. (Note: the 1864 date at the end is in error. Alligator was lost in 1863. "Cigar boat" is a common term of the period to describe the shape of a submarine.)

    This report is interesting because we have another document that says Villeroi brought his submarine to America. Thinking in terms of the vessels we were aware of--those being 35 and 47 feet long--this seemed fantastic; but if the "fish-boat" of this article was only 8-10 feet in length, it could easily have made the trip from France in the hold of a passenger ship. Perhaps we now have a third submarine to look for?

    Chuck Veit
    President, Navy & Marine Living History Association

    "The fantastic Nautilus is precisely the submarine of the engineer Brutus Villeroi"

    Extract from Guy Biraud’s book
    "Jules Verne In Nantes"
    Mister Robin, our primary school teacher, would read pages of our History at the end of the year in the lazy days that separate the Certificate of studies from the summer vacation.

    As he had a small house in Noirmoutier, he read us the forgotten history of this fabulous man, Brutus Villeroi, the submarine pioneer.
    This page of our History is also a chapter of the history of the world.

    On August 10, 1832, on the island of Noirmoutier, in the place called La Claire, occurred a notable event, which gave rise to reports from  the academic societies of Vendee and Anjou which upset their subscribers.

    Assistant professor Brutus Villeroi was on the island  as a substitute [teacher] for the brothers of the Christian school. He had been invited to attend upon his experiments in marine engineering, the chronicler journalists from local and of the regional newspapers and some four strong colleagues in the branch of the denomination from his school.

    Cassocks, military hats, frock coats, the beards of the scholars, and the crisp white skirts of the ladies fluttered in a sandy breeze at the edge of the a forest of mimosas.

    Brutus Villeroi arrives, transformed into a sailor-fisherman, hauling a strange device pushed by two sailors on a handcart.  He greets the learned company and declares:

    "Ladies, gentlemen, I have the honor to present to you my boat-fish-ship which was completely conceived and constructed by me.  This boat is submersible unsinkable and it has the ability to sail under water."

    The gentlemen and the ladies look at one another, stunned.  They examined this oblong can box which resembled a wooden dolphin,  a lid that opened to allow the pilot to enter was provided and  had at both extremities  lateral fins comparable to those of a shark.

    In the front, a thick partition inner wall of transparent glass was inlaid in the shell to allow the navigator to guide his device under the sea.

    The speaker continued his explanation:

     I will point out to you that this is in no way comparable to da Vinci’s diving bell or to the diving suit drawn by the same inventor.  It is not linked up to the earth, and it can sail to a depth of thirty or forty meters under waters.  I will have the honor to do to evolve make this machine move the device in front of you. .."

    The assistants pushed the cart to the beach, released the hawsers and the ropes that connected it to the hitch, and the boat-fish-ship settled onto the damp sand.  The pilot entered carefully, nimbly wedged himself on the seat, waved his arms in sign of as a farewell, resealed [closed] the lid and, was vigorously pushed by the two sailors, the boat fish-ship entered [went under] the waves of the Atlantic.
    The spectators watched, stunned.  "There  must be some sorcery, said a priest  or some deception or an some unknown propulsion motor in the interior, said a scholar.
    "He will drown himself", said a lady.
    And for twenty minutes they watched the sea carefully.

    The journalist from the Vendéen Album who was observing the horizon with  a pair of Navy binoculars abruptly uttered a triumph cry:

    "I can see him, it He  has landed on the island.  He is waving at us, making us big signs."  Everyone rushed  to binoculars.  "It is true, it is him. .."

    And on the coast of Fromentine, the first conqueror of the crossing of the Gois underwater waved his arms in a signal sign of victory.  A flotilla of small fishing boats sailed to escort the boat fish-ship.  A quarter of an hour later he was emerging at the place called La Claire, in front of an enthusiastic and delirious helping crowd.  Brutus Villeroi received the welcome reception that Blériot had to have known on the Dover cliffs.

    The life of Brutus Villeroi was marked by mysterious dives and spectacular  discoveries surfacing, as one would expect have been able to judge at the dawn of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the seas.  His biographers will lose his trail trace for a first time for ten years the first time, and then for a  a second time for twenty years.

    Let’s recall for a moment his first reappearance.  

    In 1842, a decade after his amazing demonstration at Noirmoutier, we rediscover Brutus Villeroi as a professor of drawing and mathematics at the College of Saint-Donatien, where the student Jules Verne had just registered.  The local history saluted this above the norm professor as a great innovator.  He enjoyed an undisputable prestige among his students.

    Let us dream a little.  No testimony, no manuscript allows us to shed light on the friendship between the professor and the student.  Nothing, other than  an article by a Mr. Gignoud.  Outside of this article, we are left only with logic.  How could the student Jules Verne, whom his friends described as  keeping himself busy by covering his notebooks with plans of and models of  flying machines, necessarily have been unaware of his drawing professor? Could he, who, according to its his fellow students, use to sketched the outline of a "vaporous steamed elephant bus" on the black-board ­ how would he not have shared his visionary dreams with Brutus Villeroi?  Unthinkable.  Impossible.

    Model of Jules Verne's Nautilus

    Let’s look at them, the teacher and the student, within the walls of the old school when they return in October, under the age-old sycamores as the fall wind strips their crowns of leaves, and let’s imagine their [talks] dialog in the school yard covered  with browning leaves and the first burs of the big chestnuts.  With what eagerness [does] did the child Jules Verne, read to himself hear of the unbelievable adventures of the dive under the ocean [diver!]  With what exquisite delight he collected the secrets of [from] the explorer of the Noirmoutrine abyssal plain!  Extraordinary, [will] would you say?  Indeed.  Who saw them?  Who heard them?  And would that have been pure aberration if thirty years after the school yard and the playground the Nautilus did not arise.

    Again, this may be just pure luck however, the repetitions of the circumstances create firm certainties the submarine in action which offered the greatest analogy and  presented the greatest number of similarities with the fantastic Nautilus is precisely the submarine of the engineer Brutus Villeroi, who took refuge in the United States and who was funded by the American Navy.

    The engineer kept his name, but rechristened his vehicle.

    It is no more the fish, it is now the cigar-boat (built in New York in 1864).  To this day, no French submarine was ever christened with the name of Brutus Villeroi.

    Courtesy of Andy Hall and the CSS H L HUNLEY CLUB

    20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1997)
    The year is 1886 and New England's fishing harbor is the scene for a "creature of unknown origin" destroying all ships at sea. It is the job of a curious marine expert, Professor Pierre Aronnax (Patrick Dempsey) and the iron-willed sailor, Ned Land (Bryan Brown) to learn the truth of the "monster" roaming the depths of the ocean. Their discovery begins when they encounter the reclusive Captain Nemo (Michael Caine) and learn of his surprising relationship with the terrorizing "creature" and all the other secrets lurking in the waters.

    Released by Universal in 1916, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first great special effects spectacular of early cinema. Based on the Jules Verne novel, the story concerns a team of scientists investigating a series of naval disturbances who find the culprit is the Nautilus, a submarine piloted by Captain Nemo, a hate-driven renegade seaman. Over a year-and-a-half in production, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a colorful recreation of Verne's science fiction classic.
    *Available at Monsters in Motion  


    EDITORS NOTE:  Subscribers may recall the following article. It is my opinion that Jules Verne would not have had knowledge of the "Explorer."

    News Flash on Jules Verne Nautilus real-life Submarine
    Date Posted:  Monday, August 08, 2005 (CST) By: 

    Inside scoop on the story behind the story of the recent discovery on the Panama coastline, as you know, according to International news sources, it seems that Jules Verne Nautilus real-life inspiration was found in the coast of Panama, but here is some more interesting details......

    Jules Verne Nautilus real-life ........

    We recently published an article telling the amazing story on the Explorer, an amazing submarine that according to the experts on location was the real life inspiration for Jules Verne Nautilus submarine described in 20,000 leagues under the sea.

    excerpt from

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Spies and Craftsmen: Theories of the Mystery Submarine by Andrew R. English

     A shadow in the gas lamp flicker provides a valuable hint into a war time drama.  On January 11, 1862, New Orleans police officers Anderson and McLaughlin brought two men before a city magistrate on the charge of spying for the Union.  The Crescent City was in the grip of a spy scare as the Federal Navy grew in strength in the Gulf.  The enemy  was on the doorstep and for those residents in the metropolis not native born, the merest sniff of disloyalty could result in imprisonment.  The Daily Picayune  lamented: "everyday they hear one thousand alarming rumors, and their wonder is, every morning they were not made prisoners of war during their sleep, by an invading army.

    The two alleged spies collared by the New Orleans policemen were Erastus Hickok of Harrisonburg, Louisiana and Joseph R. Booth from Vicksburg.  Both men were reportedly carpenters but the story takes an unusual turn as they denied the charge of spying and announced to First District Recorder William Emerson that they had made the plans of an "infernal machine' to destroy the blockading Union warships.  Apparently Emerson believed the story as the clerk of the court did not enter their names into the docket book.  The phrase "infernal machine" was also used in reference to another New Orleans vessel, the first Civil War ironclad.  The turtle back iron plates which gave the ironclad her distinctive silhouette were laid over the sturdy hull of the former towboat ENOCH TRAIN to create the C.S.S. Manassas.  The carpenters claimed they had designed an infernal machine, not converted a steamer.  To have designed a seagoing special weapon meant that the two carpenters had knowledge above the average  cabinet maker or house builder.  These two men were likely pattern makers, a skill usually associated with those who worked in iron to create the finished project.

    No information has been unearthed relating to the mysterious carpenter Hickok however, the 1860 directory of the City of Vicksburg holds intriguing circumstantial evidence regarding Mr. Booth.  In 1860, a John Booth was listed as an "engineer and machinist" and was employed at a Vicksburg foundry.  Ironically another gentleman named George Booth was employed in that city at the Southern Railroad machine shop. The story solidifies a bit more when compared to the 1860 Warren County, Mississippi census. 

    Apparently John Booth ran a boarding house in Vicksburg and all 16 male occupants who were of working age were either blacksmiths or machinist. Most of the ironmongers (including Booth) came from the United Kingdom and a few from Canada.  Only one hailed from the United States and he called Louisiana home.  The Crescent City was the vital center of pre-war commerce for the South; James R. McClintock and Baxter Watson operated a steam gauge manufacturing shop at 31 Front Levee Street.  These forward thinking mechanical engineers built a submarine (1861-1862) known appropriately as the Pioneer with work conducted at the Leeds Foundry.

    By 1861 Booth and perhaps his relatives could have moved to New Orleans to seek more lucrative employment upon the outbreak of the war.  One "J. Booth" was listed as a blacksmith, and lived at Constance and N. Seventh Streets.  A Carpenter named "T Booth" had his residence nearby at Constance and Eighth Streets.  Constance street was a focal point of machine work and metallurgy as one small firm at 32 Constance Street, Thomas H. Borden & Company, also manufactured Steam Gauges. 

    Another point of geographic familiarity, the Leeds Foundry,  a  cradle of American submarine construction, had their office at the corner of DeLord and Constance Streets.  The 1861 New Orleans directory lists only one "Hickok," however this thread can not be easily dismissed as Mr. Daniel S. Hickok resided at Lake House on Shell Road.

    The noted Crescent City naval enthusiast and inventor John Roy, had urged the officials of the embryonic Confederate Navy to build an already designed submarine that would be "equipped with a mechanism capable of raising and depressing the vessel at will, and a separate apparatus for turning the vessel,"  Again another hint as Roy stated the vessel was "an English invention."  As to construction of the mystery submarine, the 2004 broadcast of History Detectives  examined the vaporous history of the small Civil War era submersible formerly housed at the Cabildo.  The detectives claim that the mystery submarine was  'built entirely from scratch"  and states that late in the war the South ran low on resources and had to improvise with existing metal objects. 

    When the Hunley was built in 1863, it was constructed from a converted boiler." Conservator Dave Johnson, working on the project to restore the New Orleans submarine, commented that the "hull plates are  formed in a strange pattern-this is not a converted boiler." During the episode it was reported that "each panel was rolled on the mystery submarine.  The iron panels were one-quarter inch thick iron sheets fastened with five/eights inch counter sunk rivets.

    The claim that the South ran low on resources late in the war is untrue, the South and especially New Orleans, suffered from shortages at the onset of the blockade.  Some New Orleans ship builders snapped up available iron in September 1861, this firm had almost entirely exhausted its then available pig iron stocks.  In a desperate attempt to gather in enough iron to meet its contractual obligation, Tredegar sent agents to New Orleans and other cities to acquire dwindling supplies of scrap metals. As New Orleans firms were transitioning from civilian production to the manufacture of armaments, armor-clad and special weapons, iron and other vital metallurgical materials became scarce overnight.  New Orleans was forced to improvise and cobble together a military manufacturing base as the Union armies marched south and the blockade tightened from Hampton Roads to the Texas shores. 

    The Crescent City experienced a shipbuilding boom yet the government in Richmond was slow to pay its accounts. Partially as a result of unscrupulous ship owners dumping worn out steamers on the fledgling Confederate navy authorities and the penury of the Treasury  Department, Confederate government credit fell to a low level in New Orleans.  Mismanagement, supply shortages and steamships of insufficient quality caused the New Orleans Daily True Delta  to warn "It is clear that there is much dangerously wrong."

    The Crescent City needed a new weapon to counter the Federal numerical and qualitative superiority afloat.  The greatest shortage the South experienced during the war was in skilled workers.  One New Orleans shipbuilder lamented "There was a great deficiency of mechanics of all kinds, especially in the machine shops.. There was a good deal of Government work on hand at all the shops in New Orleans, and they were all pressed for hands."

    William Morrison Robinson, Jr. surveyed the mystery submarine at Camp Nicholls in the mid-1920's and pronounced it " the product of true craftsmanship."  Regarding the strange"  patterned well formed plates used in the construction, a wartime advertisement in a New Orleans newspaper offers a possible source for almost purpose made materials. George M. Longacre, a "Consulting and Mechanical Engineer" offered two steamboat chimneys for sale in the spring of 1862 .  The chimneys were second hand but in good condition and made of "number 10 iron" Accounting for gauges of sheet iron, No. 10 equals app. 1/8 inch thickness, offering a possible explanation if the sheets were folded over and laminated to create the strength of the quarter inch thick rolled plates on the mystery submarine from a steamboat funnel procured from Longacre or another merchant offering similar rolled iron rarities. 

    By the late 1850's steamboat chimneys towered as high as 90 feet above the water. The tall smokestacks increased the forced draft in the  boilers and the sparks were usually extinguished by the great fall before they sprinkled the deck, thereby reducing the threat of fire.  Even light steamers of one hundred tons or smaller frequently carried 50 foot high chimneys.  With one iron funnel of average length, the clandestine shipwrights would have sufficient material with which to build their submarine.

    The arrest of Booth and Hickok in the First ward places them across the river from Algiers, the dockyards where the other more conventional infernal machines, the Manassas, was converted into an ironclad by the workmen at John Hughes Shipyard. The proximity of the Leeds Works could point to the likelihood that a certain type of craftsmanship was required to manufacture experimental   submarine hulls.  Therefore, the same hands who built the Pioneer were possibly also engaged in building a similar sister, the mystery submarine,  Leeds would have had the necessary workforce, as it was the largest iron works in the city during the early years of the war.  Other nearby shops such as the John Clark foundry at Tchoupitoulas & North Orange Streets or the sheet iron works of Charles Byrne at 46 Tchoupitoulas or those of Wheeler  and Forstall at 185 Tchoupitoulas offer other intriguing possibilities for the likely birthplace of the mysterious submarine.

    One report claims that the submersible was made by ""Captain Hunley and two Confederate soldiers during the last few months of 1861 and the early part of 1862." The facts related to this submarine and the Pioneer are interlaced with similar lineage in the secrecy of the times and with those dedicated to creating a unique war machine for  Dixie.  As the Pioneer was the prototype for the Hunley,  it is possible that the mystery submarine was a test bed for the Pioneer.  Indeed the two ironclads Louisiana and Mississippi  stand as wartime examples of naval experimentation in Confederate New Orleans.  Built side by side sometimes using the same workers, the two warships, built by two different teams, were radically different in design.  Clearly the Southerners were not willing to place their faith in only one untried blueprint for their ironclad steam batteries therefore it is possible that the same can be said for the crafting of Crescent City submarines.  The pedestrian proximity is a key feature relating to the two men reportedly engaged in designing the infernal  machine.;  With Farragut's fleet blockading the river delta and the spy scare deepening, anyone could be questioned or apprehended.  Provost Marshal Dufour even ordered Chief of Police McClellan arrested for interfering with a patrol  The Daily Picayune  assessed the climate by announcing "our provost marshals are in earnest."  With the onset of martial law, infernal machine builders, especially those of foreign birth, would have been less likely to travel too far from their homes or places of employment in order to avoid running afoul of the roving Provost guards.

    Meanwhile, others in New Orleans were continuing experiments with new engines of naval warfare. Arthur Barbarian demonstrated his newly fashioned torpedo on Lake Pontchartrain when he blew up a skiff in a shattering explosion.  Wives and daughters of sailors serving the Southland were given preferences for employment at the Naval Ordinance laboratory in New Orleans.  Among the delicate work performed by these women was the fitting of fuses and friction primers.  It is possible that they equipped the experimental torpedoes tested on Lake Pontchartrain with powder and detonation devises.  Torpedoes, later known to modern navies as mines, were confusingly also referred to during the war as "infernal machines."  Midshipman James Morgan, CSN, also referred to the LeMat handgun, a combination shotgun and revolver as an  "infernal machine" further complicating the reference to manned underwater vessels.

    1895 Mystery Submarine

    The mystery submarine apparently had a three-man crew and was powered by two men sitting on iron brackets ":fastened opposite, on each side of the vessel, immediately  under the hatchway" worked a crank shaft by hand to rotate the propeller.  The third member of the crew was the commander who stood forward of the hatch in order to navigate the vessel and to operate the diving planes.  One source claims that at the launch of the submarine in 1862, she slipped beneath the water and never surfaced.  Reportedly two slaves  suffocated on this trial dive.  Another source claims three sailors died within her hull on her only run.

    William Robinson opined that at the bow of the submarine, the two inch wide circular tube " was used for forward observation rather that as a socket for a torpedo spar."  Another reason for the forward tube could be related to an intelligence report received from a pro-union Mobile, Alabama man.  In September 1861, the U.S. Consul in Hamburg, Germany received a report which featured a crude drawing of an ironclad "Turtle"
    then building at a New Orleans dock.  The low lying vessel was capable of deflecting cannon balls with two inches of iron shielding rendering the cigar  shaped vessel virtually imperious to Federal guns.  This was obviously not the mystery submarine but was a somewhat speculative report on the outfitting of the Manassas.  However the report does mention that the "Hellish Engine" was equipped with "a steam borer or auger, about the size of a man's arm above the elbow, which in a moment , bores a hole into the vessel.  It is possible that this intelligence report confused the Manassas with another mysterious weapon.  Perhaps the little submarine was equipped with a hand powered auger with which to install an explosive in a hostile hull, in the same manner Bushnell's Revolutionary War Turtle planned to attack H.M.S. Eagle in 1776.  The French inventor Brutus de Villeroi, designed several improved submarines for the French Navy and included in his specification an auger to attack an unfortunate wooden hulled opponent.  Emperor Napoleon III did not support the idea and de Villeroi's undersea apparatus would have to wait until the next century before France christened a steel shark festooned with the tricolor.

    The Hamburg dispatch was not the only report of a novel Rebel creation preparing to embark on a stealthy crusade against the blockading fleet below New Orleans.  In June 1861, a school teacher from New England had been teaching a little north of New Orleans and had heard of an "infernal submarine" being constructed in the Crescent City equipped with a sharp iron or steel pointed prow to perforate the bottom of the vessel." After she escaped to the North, the school mistress related this information to the Navy Department in Washington through a friend. The unnamed informant also stated that after the Union vessel was perforated, an explosive charge would detonate inside the stricken ship   Although she could have been describing a spar torpedo, it is interesting to note that the account references New Orleans newspapers as a source for supplemental  hints regarding  "infernal machines" constructed by competent engineers, etc." in the area.,  The school teacher's  report gives the impression that she had detailed information regarding the submarine as her sponsor put "implicit reliance in the correctness of this information."

    One newspaper account of the era heralds celebrated New Orleans inventor John Roy as developing the plans for a "gun to load under water" which was to be fired from a submarine into a Yankee warship.  As fantastic as this may seem, before the war, Lodner Phillips had designed and built a submarine  to use as a salvage vessel on the Great Lakes,.  That vessel was successfully employed in that capacity from 1851-1855 and even utilized an underwater cannon with which the crew blew up subsurface obstructions.  The concept of underwater cannon as championed by Roy was also  claimed by an inventor in Europe.  During the war a Spanish inventor in Barcelona named Narciso Mouturiol built a submersible he called "Ictineo." This iron fish was reportedly armed with underwater cannon, a ram and torpedoes.  The tireless de Villeroi also designed a French submarine which was to have been armed with a 4-pounder underwater cannon.

    Early test with Confederate torpedoes were utilized by the attacking vessels towing the torpedo behind in its wake as it approached a floating target.  The famous Hunley would successfully explode a towed torpedo against an anchored scow during trials near Mobile on July 30, 1863.  Robinson claims that over a year before the Hunley trials, the New Orleans mystery submarine was also armed with a "Magazine of Powder" attached to a tow line.  Like Roy's underwater cannon, the torpedo was not a new weapon.  The Russians had used torpedoes in the defense of Kronstadt, their Baltic naval base during the Crimean War of 1854-1856.

    As New Orleans was readying her ironclads, fortifications and infernal machines to meet the Yankee invasion, another Confederate city was experimenting with submarines.  A former U.S. Navy officer, William G. Cheeney, had received a commission in the newborn Confederate Navy in 1861 and was busy in Richmond building a "submarine boat." Records reveal that Cheeney obtained crucial components such as boiler plate, castings, bolts, and an air pump from the Tredegar Iron works with which to build his undersea vessel.  A Union spy employed by the  grandstanding detective Allen Pinkerton, witnessed the trial of the submarine on the James in November 1861. The female informant known as "Mrs. Baker" witnessed the submerged submarine approach a scow anchored in the river, move off and then a "terrific explosion" rent the air and hurled the scow skyward.  The submarine reportedly had attached an explosive charge to the anchored target and after backing away to a safe distance, had detonated the magazine with a long wire trailing back to the submersible.  Mrs. Baker also noted that the submarine was equipped with an air hose which was buoyed by a float painted dark green to blend in with the color of the river waters.  This float device was the only method which permitted the observers to mark the presence of the stealthy subsurface craft..   Another tantalizing clue was included in her report as Mrs. Baker claimed that this submarine was a prototype for a larger submersible then building in Richmond.

    Researcher Frank Furman is investigating the theory that Cheeney's submarine was transported from Richmond to New Orleans with the Tredegar crafted center propeller shaft for the C.S.S. Mississippi, then nearing completion at Jefferson City in April of 1862.  Cheeney had employed five men , one was a Richmond carpenter-probably a pattern maker, to work on "submarine batteries" in December of 1861. Mrs. Baker had referred to the James River submersible as a "submarine battery.  On May 13, 1862, the Tredegar Iron Works submitted an invoice for "alterations to Submarine boat." Included in the modifications were billing cost for Grinding Glass for sight" and "False Bows put on boat." Upon initial review,, the mention of the submarine as a singular entity could support the claim that the prototype was sent to New Orleans.  However no mention is made of a submarine arriving in New Orleans with the Mississippi's propeller shaft.  Indeed, the fifty foot long shaft was too large for any railroad car available in the South.  A  special car had to be fashioned for its transport to the Crescent City.  It is not likely that the Secretary Mallory, their friend and benefactor for months pressing for the rapid completion of the vital propeller shaft, it is also unlikely that they would have omitted any reference to a submarine when the shaft arrived in New Orleans on 'April 9, 1862.

    Acting Master Cheney defected to the Federals in September, 1862 and reported on his work to his old compatriots.  It is certain that any reference to a submarine sent by special train to New Orleans would not have been overlooked by a two time turncoat eager to return to the graces of the Navy Department in Washington.  Further more, as John Roy had mentioned that a submarine diagram, presented to the Confederate Navy authorities in New Orleans was an English invention, Cheeney's creation must be discounted , as he was a native of New York.  The mystery submarine currently undergoing  preservation in Baton Rouge has no "False Bows" therefore discounting yet another connection to a submarine Tredegar billed for in May of 1862.  Another reference to Richmond infernal machines also serves to remove the Louisiana mystery submarine from a James River conception.  As stated previously, many industrial materials were already at a premium in the South as early as 1861.  The James River submarine was possibly built with boiler plate however one Richmond area manufacturer had constructed torpedoes from boiler plate as well.  These "torpedo-tanks" were crafted from boiler plate 1/2 inch in thickness.  The New Orleans mystery submarine was constructed of sheet iron 1/4 in thickness; it is unlikely that boiler plate sheet iron supplies available to manufacture torpedoes in the Richmond area would have been very different from those used to manufacture Cheeney's submarines).

    As the Southerners were busy under the waves, in the North an intrepid inventor was demonstrating his undersea boat.  The ever present de Villeroi, had built a salvage submarine in 1859 reportedly to recover items from wrecked ships and to scour the bottom of the behemoth transatlantic wonder. the Great Easter.  The Frenchman was about the business of preparing to demonstrate the abilities of his submarine near the Philadelphia Navy Yard when the harbor police seized the vessel on May 17, 1862.  The patriotic constables of Philadelphia feared that "it was designed to aid and assist Jefferson Davis in the benevolent occupation of transferring Federal vessels of war into fly morsel of wood and iron  "therefore the "whale" like craft was seized for the Union.  The Federal Navy then rewarded de Villeroi with a contract for a submersible larger that the prototype salvage boat.  The New submarine was appropriately dubbed the Alligator.  Just as de Villeroi built a smaller submarine to demonstrate his mechanical ability, and Cheeney planned to build larger boats from expertise gained from his unnamed prototype, the evidence of practical 19th century mechanical aptitude suggests that the New Orleans mystery submarine was also likely a test bed for a larger submarine.  Again circumstantial evidence points to the Horace Hunley sponsored team of McClintock and Watson as the likely candidates and the Leeds Iron Works as the facility of choice.

    Another defector provides a tenuous clue to Confederate submarine construction along the Gulf Coast.  On February 24, 1863, a dispatch was sent to Union naval officials from the stem sloop U.S.S. Susquehanna then on blockade duty off Mobile bay.  The subject of the report was a deserter from the gunboat C.S.S. Selma, a wooden steamer on station with the Confederate squadron with the bay.  James Carr, a native of Brooklyn, New York, had been a Mississippi River steamboat hand when the war broke out.  He was soon thereafter deposited in the New Orleans Parish prison as a suspected Union spy. He was released when he promised to enlist in the service of the Southern navy then building up in the Crescent City.  While serving aboard the Confederate gunboat McRae, he  was wounded in the uneven contest with Admiral Farragut's juggernaut and eventually reported to Motile and his new ship the Selma.  Carr told his colleagues in the Federal Navy that a submarine ""propelled by a screw which is turned by hand capable of holding 5 persons and having a torpedo" was ready for service at Mobile.  The submarine ventured out to attack the Union fleet near Fort  Morgan on or about February 14, 1863, and the submersible was "in charge of the Frenchman who invented it." The vessel steered toward the enemy warships but had to cut the torpedo adrift, when the current pulled the tiny vessel off course and out to seal  Carr also reported that "three or four other" submarines were being built in Mobile at the time.  One such craft was the Hunley which was shipped by rail to Charleston In August of 1863.  The boat built by the unknown Frenchman was not the Hunley, as the famous refashioned boiler had a nine man crew.  Perhaps the Frenchman was a New Orleans citizen who, like Watson, McClintock, Horace Hunley and others (maybe including torpedo maker Arthur Barbarin ) fled before Union invader Ben Butler's army arrived, and removed to Alabama's port city to start anew.

    Reasons for the dearth of information regarding the mystery submarine were undoubtedly the result of security measures prior to the Union naval attack in April of 1862.  Another reason why so little is known of her early history is due in part to the rapacious needs of the Confederates Navy.  In the fall of 1861, Commodore Hollins was determined to acquire the Manassas in order to attack the Federal ships anchored at the Head of Passes.,  The privateer crew of the Manassas, defied the  requisition order by claiming the Confederates "did not have men enough to take her."  The gunboat McRae steamed up alongside and lowered a boat.  The men on  the armor-clad shouted that they would kill any navy seamen who boarded their privateer.  Undeterred, Lieutenant Alexander F. Worley, CSN, stormed up the deck plates with revolver drawn and the civilian crew submitted without bloodshed.  The ironclad was at a stroke, the property of the Confederate States Navy.  Private capital, toil and the hope of prize money were trampled by the necessities of war.  Captain John A. Stevenson left his privateer dream and went ashore with tears in his eyes.   Any builder of another infernal machine privateer in New Orleans would have been very aware of the Confederate Navy's glory robbing exploits regarding Captain Stevenson and the Manassas and would likely have been more determined to maintain some level of secrecy until their submersible was fully tested.

    The mystery submarine was launched and lost under the uncertainties of war and remained forgotten until 1878 when a dredge clearing a channel in Bayou St. John happened upon her iron skinned carcass buried in the muck.  When subsequently pulled to the surface and dumped ashore that year, this relic became an enigmatic reminder of the genius and desperation that was war time New Orleans.  Over the decades, this pathfinder of subsurface warfare has only sparingly oozed hints of her past.  With the restoration complete she will serve as a fitting triumph to the overlooked hands that formed the streamline shape and those who sank to their graves within her.


    Andrew R. English received a Bachelors degree in History from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984 and a Masters degree in History from the same institution in 1987.  He is currently a Major in the United States Air Force. Having published a history of Hattiesburg, Mississippi entitled: All Off for Gordon's Station  in 2000, this is his second book.





    Back to the Table of Contents


    TOWN TRACKER  All about my favorite cities, where to go and what to see.  I am putting shipwreck sites and history on this in progress between Newsletters

    CONFEDERATE SITES: The forum is now up and running. Check it out, sign up is free

    DISNEY COUPONS: ways to get discounts and coupons at Disney World 


    Back to the Table of Contents

     tour PLANNED by bus of Confederate Naval sites

    I am planning a one week tour by bus of Confederate

    Naval sites and museums from Wilmington (and Kinston), NC to Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Columbus, GA; and ending in Mobile, AL. The cost estimates per person are $1500 to $2000 to include transportation, lodging, meals, and admissions. Participants will have to get to Wilmington and home from Mobile. If enough persons sign up I can line it up for this October, otherwise it will be October 2007.

     Anyone interested please contact me by return e-mail

    at Input welcome.

     PC Coker/Charleston



    Hunley’s Attack and Withdrawal: Comments from the Club

     I recently did some analysis of the testimony of the Housatonic’s
     crewmembers before the official Naval Court of Inquiry into the
    sinking of the Housatonic.  The Court of Inquiry convened about
    a week after the sinking.  The entire proceedings can be found on microfilm at the National Archives and Records Administration [see: Proceedings of the Naval Court of Inquiry on the Sinking of the Housatonic U.S. Area Navy Files (M-265)].  However, Richard Bak includes the proceedings as Appendix A of his book, The CSS Hunley, The Greatest Undersea Adventure of the Civil War (Updated Edition), Cooper Square Press, New York, New York (2003), and I highly recommend his book. 

    Nineteen of the approximately 200 crewmembers aboard the
    Housatonic testified before the Court of Inquiry.  In my recent analysis,
    I combed their testimony for information I thought was relevant to the Hunley’s attack and withdrawal from the target.  What follows is
    relevant testimony from thirteen crewmembers.  It is not presented in
    the order in which the crewmembers testified, nor is their entire
    testimony presented.  Also, due to the nature of the questions asked
    by the Court, I have presented latter parts of a few crewmember’s testimony before earlier parts in order to give the actual chronological sequence of events and make their testimony easier to follow.


    Lewis A. Comthwait, Acting Master’s Mate:  I went on watch
    on the forecastle at 8 P.M. February 17th and about 8:45 P.M. the lookout on the starboard cathead reported something adrift on the water, about two points [i.e., approximately 23 degrees] on the starboard bow, and about 100 yards distant.  I then made it out with my glasses. [later in his testimony] It seemed to be moving and approaching the starboard bow, obliquely to the keel; it looked as though it was only drifting towards us.I saw it [i.e., saw the Hunley again] as I was running forward after reporting it; it was abreast of the starboard forward pivot-gun’s port, about 30 feet off .It was moving astern, parallel to the ship’s keel.


    Henry S. Gifford, Coxswain and Acting 2nd Captain of the Forecastle:  I was on the forecastle. I saw it [the Hunley] about a point [i.e., approximately 12 degrees] forward of the starboard cathead, about 75 yards distant; it was approaching the starboard quarter obliquely at the rate of about 2 ½ knots.  After it got abeam it seemed to be moving faster, but in the same direction.


    James Timmons, Quarter Master:  I went on watch at 8 P.M. on the Quarter Deck .About 8:40 P.M. I was on the Port side looking seaward, when I heard the Officer of the Deck call out  What is this on the Water?  I ran over to the starboard side and saw a white ripple on the water a little forward of the beam about 100 yards distant, heading for the gangway, moving towards the ship at right angles to the keel.  Then the Officer of the Deck called out,  Beat to Quarters  When the gong beat, this object looked like a log, and gave a slew [i.e., a turn] towards the starboard Quarter of the ship.


    John H. Crosby, Acting Master:  I took the deck at 8 P.M. on the night of February 17th.  About 8:45, I saw something on the water, which at first looked to me like a porpoise coming to the surface to blow.  It was about 45 to 100 yards from us on our starboard beam .[later in his testimony] When I first discovered it, it was approaching at right angles to the keel, and head pointed amidships;  as it neared the ship I thought it would strike near the mizzen mast, though it was still approaching at right angles to the keel .[at a different part of his testimony] As I was going forward I looked over the side;  I saw what appeared to me a plank sharp at both ends, about 20 feet from the ship’s side;  I went forward, and as I was coming aft again, the explosion took place.


    F. J. Higginson, Lieutenant and Executive Officer:  [In reference to a question about distance and direction of the Hunley when he first saw it, his answer was:  About 80 yards distant, moving towards the ship at right angles to the keel, and nearly abreast of the mizzen mast.


    John Sanders, Landsman:  I was stationed on lookout on the Starboard Quarter .About 8:45 P.M. I heard the Officer of the Deck say something was coming to blow us up.  I looked and saw something forward of the beam, about 40 or 50 yards off, moving towards the mizzen chairs, quite fast.


    Charles H. Craven, Ensign:  [When asked in what direction the Hunley approached the ship, his answer was:]  Making about 45 degrees with the keel of the ship, approaching the counter, coming from forward .[earlier in his testimony]  I then went to my division which is the second, which consists of four broadside 32 pdr. Guns in the waist, and tried with the Captain of the No. 6 gun to train it on this object, as she was backing from the ship, and about 40 or 50 feet off then.


    George W. Kelly, Cooper:  I was on the Forecastle a few minutes before 9 P.M. February 17.  I saw something on the water looking like a capsized boat, about three points [i.e., approximately 35 degrees] on the starboard bow moving astern nearly parallel with the keel .I was on the Forecastle only a few seconds then went aft to my Quarters at the after pivot gun; when I got to the forward end of this gun’s starboard port I saw this object again about fifteen yards from the ship making a sort of circle towards the starboard quarter.


    Thomas H. Kelly, Seaman and Doing Duty as Quarter Gunner:  I then went directly to the starboard port of the after pivot gun, looked over the side, and saw an object in the water about 10 yards distant, right abreast of this port and moving towards the mizzen rigging.


    Charles W. Pickering, Captain:  its [the Hunley’s] position was at right angles to the ship, bows on, and the bow within two or three feet of the ship’s side, about abreast of the mizzen mast, and I suppose it was then fixing the torpedo on. [Question by the Court]  Did you see the Torpedo craft at any other time than that you have stated?  [his answer]  I did not, although I looked in every direction about the ship from the mizzen rigging after the ship sank [note that Pickering had climbed into the mizzen rigging after the explosion].


    Robert F. Fleming, Landsman and Lookout on the Starboard  Side of the Forecastle: .It was about 8:25 P.M.  I saw something approaching the shipboard off the starboard bow, about two ship’s lengths off….[later in his testimony]  By this time the object had got within about 30 feet of the starboard quarter, they then beat to quarters.  I ran aft and before I got to my quarters, at No. 4 gun, the  explosion took place.  The ship began to settle by the stern immediately, and  I ran forward again and when I got on the forecastle I saw the object about six or eight feet from the starboard quarter, apparently stationary, and I fired my musket at it.[Question by the Court]  Did you see this object at any time after you fired  at it?  [his answer]  I did not.[note that Fleming had climbed into the fore rigging after the explosion].


    F. H. Crandall, Acting Ensign:  I observed the men on deck were firing at something  directly alongside, and had just time to get to the Starboard after pivot-gun’s port and to catch a glimpse of the torpedo boat, which was about five or six feet off, when the explosion occurred. 


    Joseph W. Congdon, Acting Master:  [I] looked over the side to see what they were firing at and saw something that looked like a water logged timber, touching the starboard side of the ship; I was standing in the middle of the after-pivot gun’s port, and this object was about eight feet abaft [i.e., behind] of where I was standing.  I drew my revolver, but, before I could fire, the explosion took place.[Question by the Court]  Did the explosion occur while it [the Hunley] was alongside the ship?  [his answer]  It did.


             Conclusions: I think Patricia Cornwell has her work cut out for her if she wades in on the mystery of the Hunley's sinking. However, my analysis of the somewhat conflicting testimony is as follows. The Hunley was first sighted by Housatonic crewmembers about 100 yards off the Housatonic's starboard bow, heading obliquely to the Housatonic's keel. When the Hunley got a little closer, she made a slow, right turn to begin her attack run in to the target. This turn placed the Hunley's centerline at a right angle to the Housatonic's keel. After fixing the torpedo in the Housatonic's side somewhere in the vicinity of the mizzenmast, Dixon began his withdrawal. Three accounts (Fleming's, Crandall's, and Congdon's) place the Hunley no further than eight feet from the Housatonic at the time of the explosion, while one account (Craven's) puts the distance at 40-50 feet. Interestingly, most of the literature I've seen on the Hunley focuses on this one account of the distance
    being 40-50 feet and usually ignores the much closer distance mentioned by three other eyewitnesses. If the Hunley was within eight feet of the explosion, then I'll say again that I feel there is a strong possibility that Dixon was at least incapacitated for at least 5-10 minutes just after the explosion. That's enough time for the Hunley to make an out-of-control, 2-3 degree stern-first descent to the bottom where she ended up, approximately 300 yards (a little over four Housatonic boat lengths) from the Housatonic . -  Kim Johnson


    Good stuff, Kim. I've posted a picture in the same Files folder with a
    side view of Hunley and cross-section of the Housatonic
    (from "Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield: H. L. Hunley and USS
    Housatonic", Conlin & Russell,
    http://www.blackwell- It shows that if the Hunley were perpendicular to the ship and the spar was angled down, the Hunley's bow could get pretty close. How close might depend on the length of the upper spar, assuming there was one. Still, the main body of the sub would be farther away and farther yet from the explosion, the major force of which would be expended into the ship's hull. If we ask the question "what part of Hunley was each witness looking at?" we might find that the different distances are consistent.

    Michael "jvnautilus"

    The theory that the CSS Hunley sank within minutes of the attack on the USS Housatonic fails to address the facts (also reported in the court martial accounts) that survivors saw signals (the blue lights) exchanged between Battery Marshall and some point on the water between them and the coast line. The exchange of the coded signals was confirmed by the CO of Battery Marshall. This was some time after the sinking - clearly the submarine survived the initial attack. Certainly there would have been some impact on the submarine had it been as close as 8 feet to the hull of its victim - again this is unlikely. The barbed torpedo was attached to a lanyard that did not trigger the explosive until the submarine was a safe distance away. The Confederates well understood the dynamics of explosive forces underwater (tested extensively in Charleston Harbor prior to the development of the David (surface) attack vessels.

    The torpedo rig on the submarine the night of the attack was the same as used on the Davids - surface mounted at the bow, extending forward to approx 2 meters underwater and supported by a brace attached to the bottom edge of the bow. Everyone (archaeologists included) have chosen to ignore this fact even though it was clearly documented in eye witness reports by engineers who adjusted the rig the night of the attack.

    The impact of the explosion on the submarine at a safe distance would have been minimal. The evidence supports the version of the third crewman who reported the CSS Hunley at a greater distance from the Housatonic than his crewmates did. The real remaining mystery is why the submarine ended up as close to the wreck as it did after having traveled several miles away after the attack - the reason for this becomes clear once the tidal dynamics of the area are understood.
    "Mark M. Newell" <>Mark,

    The assertion that the torpedo could have detonated prematurely cannot be dismissed. There are several simple and plausible explanations, including an abnormal separation of torpedo and spar and/or a jammed lanyard spool.

    <<The Confederates well understood the dynamics of explosive forces
    underwater (tested extensively in Charleston Harbor prior to the
    development of the David (surface) attack vessels.>>

    The assertion that the blast could have affected Dixon and others
    cannot be dismissed. Some of the energy of the blast would have caused a shock wave to travel through the water. Consider the effect on fish of a hand grenade exploding under the surface of a pond, as was common in WWII. Research (possibly a simulation) would be needed to determine the magnitude of the shock wave and its effect on a human being at various distances from the hull of the Housatonic. I believe the inverse square law comes into play.

    The assertion that there was an "out-of-control, 2-3 degree
    stern-first descent to the bottom" also cannot be dismissed. The boat
    would have been down at the stern right after the blast. The trim
    would have had to have been adjusted to compensate for the loss of the weight of the torpedo. A shocked and panicked crew frantically
    cranking in reverse without regard to hitting bottom is not beyond the
    realm of possibility.

    <<The theory... fails to address the facts... that survivors saw

    The theory does indeed contradict the sighting of the blue light, and
    I don't find it to be among the most likely scenarios. However,
    because there is no physical evidence that disproves the theory, it
    cannot be eliminated from the list of possible causes of the loss of
    the Hunley.

    <<The torpedo rig on the submarine the night of the attack was the
    same as used on the Davids...>>

    This seems like somewhat of an overstatement to me. We know for
    certain that the spar had a single mount point on the bow of the
    Hunley, unlike the dually mounted Y-shaped spar on the bow of the
    original David class boats. The Hunley's mount point appears to be a
    vertical pivot point but it's still a matter of conjecture whether the
    Hunley cruised with her spar raised out of the water (like the David)
    or lowered into attack position.

    Keep in mind that Dixon did not abandon the towed torpedo idea until very late in the game. The David class boats may have practiced extensively but it's quite unlikely that Dixon had the same
    opportunities to practice an attack with a live torpedo.

    "Barry Rogoff" <> 

    Back to the Table of Contents

    --- In, "Barry Rogoff" <brogoff@...>
    wrote:> the magnitude of the shock wave and its effect on a human being at > various distances from the hull of the Housatonic. I believe the > inverse square law comes into play.>

    The inverse square law certainly comes into play for the shock wave,
    but that doesn't account for all the energy of the explosion. The
    most destructive energy will attempt to move the water away from the
    blast center and will take the path of least resistance. In this
    case that path was through the Housatonic's hull. This is what Lee
    proved with his torpedo boat experiments and is supported by the
    Housatonic eyewitness accounts. There was no plume of water and some of the material Kim quotes reports the torpedo boat or whatever the witnesses were looking at was stationary after the explosion. This
    isn't to discount the effects of the shock wave, but only to characterize it for what it was, a very, very loud noise.

    I like your side-view illustrations of the Hunley's attack on the Housatonic you recently put in the group files under "Sinking Theory." I just added a top view, adapted from an illustration in Dave Conlin's excellent NPS Housatonic Site Assessment.


    Back to the Table of Contents

    "It makes me very sad that The Hunley is being caught up in all the drama that it is. I was there in Charleston when it was brought out of the water. It was amazing the way the town came together and supported the project at that time. It seems now that everyone has forgotten that she is a real gift to behold for people everywhere. What can we do as a group to remind people what the real goal is?" pro_fyrman324

    "I think everyone in this group agrees with you. However, I think the Friends of the Hunley have exacerbated the problem by not releasing information that also belongs to all of us. Many of us have personally experienced the frustration of trying to get information. I'm not talking about the opinions of the scientists. It's their right to withhold those. However, much more raw information such as measurements and photos, and even lists of articles found could have
    been released. If the Friends were a more open organization and treated the Hunley as belonging to all of us, perhaps reminding people of the goal would be an easier task."jvnautilus"


    Back to the Table of Contents


    The New Orleans submarine, now referred to as the LSM  (Louisiana State Museum) submarine is now on display at a newly opened  museum in Baton Rouge, directly across the street from the State Capitol  Building.  I was there prior to the opening, photographing the sub.  I have not had a chance to visit the museum since it opened, but it was built to showcase Louisiana history.  There is a complete, fully restored shrimp boat  there, close to three stories high, about fifty feet from the sub, as well  as the first sugar cane harvester (looks like a corn harvester) from the  1980's.  A beautiful building.


    The pictures attached are from November of 2004.  I was invited to view the sub, and help test fit the reproduction dive plane on the port side, and take pictures and measurements for a scale model I am building for the Baton Rouge and New Orleans (Jackson Square) locations of the Louisiana State Museum.

    The first picture is the sub in the Baton Rouge Museum after conservation, with a replacement prop fitted.  The sub originally went on display in New Orleans, 1895, at the Spanish Fort/Bayou St. John amusement park, which was located on the site of the old Spanish Fort (some brick walls still remain), where Bayou St. John meets Lake Pontchartrain.  In the 1930's due to land reclamation, an additional 500 yards was built up in Lake Pontchartrain, so the Fort is inland from the lake now.

    The sub was located by a boy, swimming in Bayou St. John near the mouth of Pontchartrain, around 1878, and pulled out of the water by the Corps of Engineers, being deemed a hazard to navigation.  It lay on its side, on the bank, until 1895, when it was moved and put on display at the water's edge of the bayou, in the amusement park.

    During the time it laid on its starboard side, the port dive plane, hatch,
    three blades of the prop, and most of the inside was vandalized by souvenir hunters.  Parts were unbolted, or literally torn off.  What survived had been embedded in the ground on the starboard side, which was the starboard dive plane, one blade of the prop, and the front rudder (it was bent to the right, on its shaft, probably when pulled from the water). 

    I have read accounts stating that there were two, or maybe three bodies entombed in the sub when it was opened, after being pulled from the water.  It was thought to have sunk in 1861.  Where is was built is a mystery, but some feel it was built in the shipyard of John Hughes, in Algiers, because the sub resembles the CSS Manassas, which was built there.

    At the amusement park (billed as the Coney Island of the South), it was set in concrete blocks, and eventually the front rudder, last prop blade, and half of the starboard dive plane were stolen.

    When the park closed around 1926, the sub was moved down the bayou, and rested in a new concrete base, in front of the Confederate Veterans Home (now a police department precinct), and years later it ended up in Jackson Square.

    Early attempts at conservation included filling the inside bottom with
    concrete, to stop the rusting, but that only trapped moisture, and
    accelerated the corrosion.  The sub conservation was started in the late 1990's, by Galvotech, in New Orleans.  Due to the low salinity of Lake Pontchartrain, the iron did not contain the salt content of the Hunley, and reverse electrolysis was not needed.

    The sub now belongs to the Louisiana State Museum, which, I believe, funded the conservation with a grant of just under $90,000.00.  It is on public display at the new State Museum in Baton Rouge, across the street on the south side of the State Capitol Building.

    The second picture is the sub with the front and rear reproduction rudders installed, with the prototype dive plane laying on the ground for a test fitting.  The dive planes were stuck in the dive position.  All reproduction parts are made from smooth surfaced aluminum, with no attempt to age them, so they will be known as reproductions and not original.

    Through much research, I have found that the prop blades are actually more massive than the replacements, and resemble the prop found on the David torpedo boat.

    The rudders are not attached to the sub, but are bolted to aluminum brackets rising up from the bottom of the display frame.  The space between the rudders and the hull are filled in with brown wax, to appear as the rudder shaft.  The port dive plane is held on to the broken (almost non-existent) dive shaft with set screws, and the forward replacement piece of the starboard dive plane is clamped onto existing sheet metal.

    The frame the sub hangs from is actually steel I-beam construction, covered with cypress planks (it really looks cool, I suggested they hang some Spanish Moss from it, but don't know if they did), and the sub is suspended from the two rods entering the hatch hole, which are connected to an inner fabricated skeleton frame the sub rests on.  Both lower halves of the hull are new sheet metal, epoxied in place.  The original lower hull was almost gone.

    Many have said that the pipe coming out of the top, in front of the hatch hole, was to a long, flexible snorkel hose.  I think this was due to the illustration in the November 02, 1861 issue of Harper's Weekly, showing a artist's conception of a Confederate sub sunk in the James River that had a snorkel hose.  Upon examination of the sub by myself (I was on a ladder, and leaned into the sub and took pictures), I am convinced that the pipe was a guide tube for a periscope.  Which would make it the first in history.

    It appears that the hole in the nose of the sub was a socket to put the torpedo spar in.

    I have additional pictures of the sub fully fitted with it's replacement
    parts, but they were not taken by me, and I don't have permission to publish them.  I'll try to get down to BR soon, and send some new pictures. More information can be found at the Louisiana State Museum submarine site,

    Steve R. Smith

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Wed, 19 Jul 2006 12:45:24 -0000

    Subject: McConnell responds to allegations

    Reports on Hunley cost, legislative role wrong
    By Glenn McConnell
    You wrote a logical editorial ("Ethically Challenged," July 9) based
    on bad information. The flawed reporting originated from one
    reporter. From there, inaccurate information appeared in newspapers

    News reports gave the impression that the Hunley project has cost
    taxpayers $100 million and that I have "secretly funneled" millions
    to the project. None of that is true. Here are the facts:

    Actually, state appropriations have been about $4.5 million over the
    course of 10 years. If you include $5.3 million in federal grants,
    total public funding is less than $10 million, a far cry from the
    $100 million published.

    Also, no secrecy was involved. All state funds were voted on in open
    session. And no funds at all for restoration of the submarine have
    been appropriated in the past five years.

    The most frustrating allegation is that I secretly funneled millions
    to the project. All funds appropriated were dedicated to the Hunley.
    They could not have been spent for any other purpose.

    As chairman of the Hunley Commission, my duty was to review the
    paperwork before funds were actually spent. Somehow, my efforts to
    protect taxpayers were twisted and described as funneling funds to
    the project. Imagine the criticism I would have received if I had
    failed to review the paperwork before funds were released.

    Also, in my judgment, the reporter grossly inflated monies that
    might be spent in the future. For example, the entire $30 million-
    plus budget for the Clemson Restoration Institute was listed as a
    Hunley expense, which is an absurd method of accounting.

    The institute has been part of Clemson's planning for years, long
    before the Hunley was part of the equation. Clemson has committed
    only $2.4 million to the Hunley. In exchange, under a proposed
    agreement, Clemson would receive assets far exceeding their
    investment in the project.

    Finally, the newspaper reported that nine state representatives
    spontaneously called for a legislative audit. Actually, the
    newspaper's reporters lobbied senators and House members, asking if
    they were willing to support a call for an audit.

    Frankly, I'm surprised only nine yielded to the pressure. One House
    member later asked that his name be removed because he felt he had
    been misled by the newspaper's reports.

    The truth is independent audits have been conducted every year since
    the project began. Those audits have found the books to be
    completely in order.

    I have never opposed audits. The Hunley project has nothing to hide.
    But one reporter should not be able to manipulate the system merely
    to generate controversy, when the result is a needless expense to
    taxpayers for redundant audits.

    All South Carolinians should be proud of what the Hunley project has
    achieved. Our state is now the permanent home of the world's first
    successful combat submarine.

    This amazing technological creation was hidden on the bottom of the
    ocean for 136 years. Since 2000, we have recovered her, excavated
    the contents, buried her crew, made many historic discoveries and
    developed new technologies that promise to help preserve other
    artifacts and materials, like metals used in the construction of
    bridges and ships.

    The Hunley will bring financial and cultural value to South Carolina
    for generations to come. And I'm proud to say we have raised over
    half the cost from private sources, a fact the reporter neglected to

    Fortunately, the Hunley has survived a great deal over the past
    century. I suspect she will survive a series of inaccurate press


    Back to the Table of Contents


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Lady Macbeth
    Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 1:05 AM
    Subject: please read

    I am a descendant of Horace L Hunley, and I would appreciate it if you would have done more research on my ancestor before "reporting" what you believe to be the truth.  Horace L Hunley was a respected lawyer prior to helping build the USS Hunley and commanding it with a second crew.  He was given full military honors for fulfilling his duty to the Confederate Army.  I urge you to research the topic in more detail before you go around calling people "rich old fool"s.  My ancestor was only 39 when he died on October 15th, I do not feel that 39 years of age is old!
      Sarah G. Hunley-Handy

    Dear Lady MacBeth; I've spent eleven years voluntarily honoring the crew of the Hunley with very few donations.  I may have called Horace rich, and I may have called him a fool, but I never said he was "old".  Seriously...though, that is not a quote from me. I am curious as to where you got that quote.  After eleven years and 64 monthly newsletters, I vaguely recall that somewhere.  Sincerely, George W. Penington  Webmaster and Editor of the website and newsletter.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: JFMSGMA@
    Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 3:27 AM

    why is last page update 2002 (that I seen) I think it should be kept up to date    thanks   MR
    I am not sure what you are talking about.? My newsletters are the most up to date information you can get..
    You must be talking about Friends of the Hunley, inc. 

    For membership questions, email I am the other guy...all my info is free.  George W. Penington

    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:41 PM
    Subject: Recent adverse statements about the value of the Hunley

     I am a US Navy veteran of 20 years.  I spent quite a bit of time working on submarines and developed an interest in their history.  I am also from Florida which, I suppose, makes me a little more interested in the Hunley.  The history of our entire nation, North and South is important to all of us.  We cannot ignore or put aside such unique bits of our shared history simply because they are associated with the South.  The "Cause" was not one which I or any right thinking person now men who built the Hunley and who died in it were brilliant, forward thinking and brave citizens of our united nation and I'm pretty proud of their dedication.  If I have the opportunity to go to Charleston, I certainly plan to visit whatever site is finally decided on for the Hunley.
    Back to the Table of Contents

    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 6:37 PM
    Subject: Hunley,McConnell, and taxpayer cost

    Shortly after the Hunley was found (in September of 1994, not spring of 1995, and by a group of searchers that only included Cussler and led by the University of South Carolina) I resigned from the University over Cussler's actions and was quoted in the State as predicting that the Hunley would be used as a cash cow for the personal agendas of politicians and petty officials at the University and as a pr vehicle to build Cussler's ego. The contents of your latest issue tell me I was right.

    Mark M. Newell PhD
    North Augusta SC
    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 7:29 AM
    Subject: Re: Fw: Hunley,McConnell, and taxpayer cost

    George, I do support Lee's remarks and he is quite accurate in his statements. If Cussler deserves credit for anything at all, it would be for writing the check that covered that last few days of the search. Though current archaeologists (sycophants) around Cussler will not admit it, his crew did immense damage to the submarine in May of 1995 by excavating the location we had shared with him in September of 1994. As for Cussler's PhD, well, he has spent a lifetime creating fiction. By all means post my message(s), I don't make a habit of engaging in the debate though. My book "The Search for the Hunley" will give due credit to the hundreds of southerners who actually made the discovery possible (inlcuding Lee) over a 23 year period leading up to 1994. regards, Mark

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Hi George,

    The Hunley political fiasco is sickening.  I flew to Charleston, from
     Shreveport, in August of 2003, specifically to see the Hunley.  When I  arrived at the site,  my camera, as well as everyone else's, was "impounded" before I was allowed to walk into the tank room.  The reason given was that National Geographic had sole photographic rights to the Hunley.  Excuse me, I thought it belonged to the people of the United States.  That ripped it  with me and the Hunley "Commission" then and there.

     What has happened since, to the taxpayers of South Carolina, is sad.  The boat needs to be taken away from the "Commission", and placed under the control of a concerned citizen's committee, comprised of those who wish to preserve the history of the Confederacy.  It is currently a truly depressing situation. 

    On a related note, I have emailed you in the past, about my research into the five subs built here, by the Singer Submarine Corps (after the Hunley was lost) to protect the Red River area of Shreveport.  They were considered a grave threat to Admiral Porter during the 1864 Red River Campaign.  To the extent that he ordered a large chain stretched across the Red River, to try and snare the subs, should they advance against his fleet.

    Along with the subs, I am researching the CSS Missouri, built here in 1863 at the same location the subs would eventually be built.  I have found that the Commander of the CSS Missouri, Jonathan Carter, was good friends with one of the Dickson's, who's descendents eventually bought into the Morris company around 1884.  Small world.

    I'll be sending you a check for subscription in a few days.  Thanks for  "fighting the good fight" with your website.STEVE

    Thank You Steve...I GOT YOUR DONATION>>>We are in complete accordance in our opinions about the Hunley  Situation.  I didn't find your email about the Sub research but we corresponded about the Lantern in 11/03  :>} you quoted "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  Mark Twain

    Out of curiosity...anything regarding damage from  Katrina...

    As it turned out, I was on vacation when Katrina hit.  I had bought a load of dirt to spread in my yard, and on the third day of shoveling, I bent over to pick up the garden hose, and messed my back up.  Spent the rest of my vacation laying on the couch and watching the Katrina aftermath on TV.

    When it hit, Morris & Dickson, which is a wholesale pharmaceutical
    distributor here in Shreveport (founded 1841), was the only company sending much needed medical supplies to New Orleans and Mississippi hospitals and pharmacies.  Sad that a private company succeeded in getting aid in, while State and Federal agencies failed so miserably.  But typical. 


    Nation’s oldest privately-owned pharmaceutical distributor 


    George W. Penington  Editor and Webmaster of the Newsletter and Website.

    Back to the Table of Contents



    Tours of the Hunley are available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Tours are not available on weekdays so that the archaeologists can continue their preservation work.

    Tickets are $12 plus a service charge and can be purchased by either calling 1-877-448-6539 or on the Internet at Children under 5 are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance, and walk-up tickets are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.


    Back to the Table of Contents


    TO CANCEL RECEIVING THIS NEWSLETTER SIMPLY CLICK HERE OR SEND AN EMAIL TO: or Follow the instructions included with your e-mail.

    If you Enjoy this Newsletter and want me to keep Publishing them Please make a

     Total $10.00 or more would be helpful and appreciated..

    808 Drayton St.
    Savannah, GA 31401.

    Copyright © 1997-2006 by The HUNLEY.COM. All rights reserved. You are Free to use anything you want just let us know. Individual copyrights are included separately and reserved
    Comments and questions may be directed to webmaster: mistergwp thanks


    This newsletter is a monthly publication from The
    808 Drayton St.
    Savannah, GA 31401.
    Phone: 912-596-2192


    Hit Counter