The Newsletter
   Brought to you by:
   George Penington

  # 3   February 15  Sent only to subscribers.


2) Finding a cause of the Hunley's sinking on Feb.17,1864
3) 2002 Weekend Tours Announced
4) Movie review
5) Our Purpose and Goals
6) Comments and Answers from Our Guest Book

1) WELCOME NEW SUBSCRIBERS We are publishing newsletters
every two weeks  and have rebuilt the web site. Any errors
or corrections that you come across, let us know and I
will fix immediately. The newest pages are added to the
Home Page and I will take them off as they get stale. As
you know One of the primary highlights of this newsletter
is to focus on solving the mysteries surrounding the Hunley
and the discussion of facts as they are released.

2) Finding a cause of the Hunley's sinking on Feb. 17, 1864

Numerous Studies are underway with one of the primary goals being finding the cause of the Hunley's sinking 138 years ago last week.  When The Hunley was being prepared to raise her, they found :

#1 The snorkels were in the upright position,
#2 The rudder was found completely underneath the sub,
#3 She was less than a football field away from the Housatonic,
#4 There was an unexplained dish size hole on the starboard side,  and
#5 The Hunley rested on the starboard side, just as she sank.

It is my opinion that there was no calm time for chat, the percussion of the blast, the spar was bent from the impact, the crew was seriously hurt, they were trying to signal with the blue light, taking on water, getting rammed possibly, the rudder is gone. I don't think they sat there for two hours and went to sleep. They were in serious trouble from the get go. George

Barry posted some interesting theories based as follows:
3:40 PM high water
4:30 PM beginning of ebb current
7:45 PM maximum ebb
8:45 PM Hunley spotted by lookout on Housatonic
9:30 PM blue light observed on shore and by Canandaigua
9:45 PM low water
10:50 PM beginning of flood current

Approximate times from "The H.L. Hunley in Historical Context" by Rich

The timing is what I think is the key to the whole puzzle. Roughly 45
minutes elapsed between the time of the attack and the blue light
signal. It would then be another 80 minutes before the tide turned.

What happened during those 45 minutes? All we know for sure is that the
Hunley was still in the area of the attack and on the surface when the
signal was observed. Why?

My theory is based on the premise that once the attack was over, Dixon
would have taken decisive actions: run or hide. Signal now or signal
later when it's safe.

Hanging around on the surface is indecisive and simply doesn't make
sense. So does resurfacing. Why signal right when an enemy rescue vessel
is arriving on the scene?

So what can possibly explain these inconsistent actions? I think the
answer is obvious: Dixon had no choice. For some combination of reasons,
they couldn't run and they couldn't submerge. They were stranded out
there, like sitting ducks. All they could do was try to stay alive long
enough to drift in with the tide.

I don't think they would have considered surrendering. Nor do I think
they would have considered abandoning ship. It would have been
difficult, perhaps even impossible, to reach shore in water that cold. I
do, however, think it was possible that the ninth crewman, the best
swimmer on the boat, might have tried it.

So would drifting with the tide have worked? I'm certainly not qualified
to say one way or the other but I have an instinctive feeling that if
not, they would have at least been farther away. It would be interesting
to have an expert opinion on the subject.

In any case, we know they ended up on the bottom and I cannot believe
that it was by choice. Something sent them there and the only large
moving object in the area was the Canandaigua.

I wonder if anyone has tried to find the Canandaigua's log for that
night. The captain might not even have bothered to log an event that
made history. "Collided with a piece of driftwood while en route to
Housatonic. No damage noted."



Tours of the Hunley are still scheduled for every weekend through May 26, 2002

And as requested I have posted a map on the site for those needing directions.

It was also just announced that Dixon's Gold Coin will soon be on display as soon as they work out the security problems. The coin is said to be worth between 10 to 15 Million Dollars.  I wonder how many of George E. Dixon's relatives may pop up soon.

4) Movie Review
Note: Last issue we talked about a 1960's movie about the Hunley. I did a lot more research on it and finally may have tracked it down. I found a E-mail that told this story.

Re: David Patrick's question about the Hunley on TV in the 1960s. I well remember it. CBS had a series called The Great Adventure that ran at 7:30 est. on Friday nights. It premiered on 27 Sept. 1963. I believe The Hunley was the premier episode. I was 13 at the time. Anyway, the opening scene was the removal of Horace Hunley's body after his ill-fated test dive and the introduction of Dickson, played by Jackie Cooper. About the only other thing I remember is that their torpedo was mounted close to the Hull, and the espisode ended with the sinking of a union ship and the Hunley's disappearance. The Great Adventure was an anthology series of great moments in US history. Most segments seemed to be about the Civil War. I've only been able to find a few references to this show on the web and in television encyclopedias. A video copy of this would be a real treasure. I passed this info on to about a year ago but received no response.
      Good luck,       Greg Valent

This letter put me in the right direction and don't forget

The Hunley Produced for Turner Network Television and originally
broadcast in the summer of 1999 movie can be purchased by going to or
If anyone has any information to add let us know.  George

5) Our Purpose and Goals

Is to provide specialized information to those who are interested in the recovery efforts and history of the Confederate Submarine H L Hunley. It is
available free to anyone who might benefit from the information it contains, for example, students and history buffs. Our mailing list will always be kept private and will never be sold.

6) Comments and Answers from Our Guest Book


This sight has been very helpful toward my school project. Thanks.


Thank you...I am in the Fifth grade doing a report and the fact that you are a free web site knocks me out. no charge.;come on. Thanks a million


I'm doing a reseachpaper on the hunley, and this site has been helpful. Matt


You have a wonderful Webpage, so much information and so easy to access. We live in Australia now, but hope to visit the Hunley on our next trip. Keep up the informative site.


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