by George W. Penington  -  Editor

September - November, 2004
    ISSUE  #52   PAGE 1of 2
Click to go to Page 2

Click here or on the Sub to go back to The Hunley Home Page

  2) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Exhibit teaches about Hunley history
“Half the final crew members aboard the Hunley were not American-born “
De Villeroi lists his occupation as “natural genius.” 
4) Hunt begins for Civil War sub - NEWS ABOUT THE USS ALLIGATOR

5)  North vs. South, Submarine against Submarine


9) First officer Ridgaway was an old salt at 30

11) Group wants state to look at Hunley project
12) Students build submarine replica
13)  Teen Suspended Over Civil War Weapon
14) Spence seeks to name McConnell as third party defendant in federal case

Welcome from the Hunley Store 


New at the Hunley store in time for Christmas

Chapman's painting Framed Special Price: 199.99 plus  S&H  ( Product # HL-1000F)  
Print of Conrad Wise Chapman's painting of the Confederate Submarine  Hunley. The Hunley print is framed in1 1/2 inch mahogany molding and has a double matting in sand and tampico brown. The total size of the print and frame is 22'' x26 3/4''.  



THIS IS A DYNAMIC NEWSLETTER WITH LOTS OF GOOD INFORMATION - Please feel free to download and print it...thanks, gwp

A special welcome to all the new subscribers. This newsletter will be published randomly until I decide whether to publish it once a month or every two months.  i will let everyone know soon. Until then the newsletter information will be sent out  with a link to the online addition available to subscribers only.

  ALL issues are dedicated not only to the brave and honorable Men of the Hunley, but to the Subscribers and Contributors to each issue, particularly to the CSS H L HUNLEY CLUB.      THANKS ALL,  George W. Penington

  2) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Exhibit teaches about Hunley history


Full-size replica, display opens at Broadway

By Kerry Reynolds

The Sun News

The H.L. Hunley Exhibit opened providing a new educational component to Broadway at the Beach.

It is a collaboration between Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. and Friends of the Hunley, a nonprofit company that funds the conservation and excavation of the Hunley.

H.L. Hunley sank in 1864 after helping the Confederate cause by taking down a Union warship blockading Charleston Harbor. Archaeologists and conservationists continue to excavate and study the submarine in a Charleston laboratory, where visitors view it on weekends.

The H.L. Hunley Experience is the first permanent exhibit devoted to the submarine, and it brings a life-size copy of the historic sub to Myrtle Beach.

A new building, Adventures in Science, History & Nature, is exclusively devoted to the Hunley Experience. This is the first of several Adventure buildings Burroughs & Chapin plans in other major metropolitan areas. B&C is considering the Hunley submarine theme for other Adventure buildings if it is successful at Broadway at the Beach.

The exhibit is a major fund-raiser for Friends of the Hunley. The group will receive 20 percent of the gift shop revenues, as well as a monthly licensing fee from B&C. The Friends of the Hunley approve every piece of the exhibit for historical accuracy.

The H.L. Hunley is not the first attempt at adding an educational component, beyond Ripley’s Aquarium, to Broadway at the Beach. The Children’s Museum has yet to move there, and the Butterfly Pavilion closed at the end of 2002 after 18 months. Some fault high prices for squashing the Butterfly Pavilion.

Admission for the H.L. Hunley Experience will be $8.95 for adults and $5.95 for children. Marketing research indicated that people would want admission for an attraction of this type to be less than $10, said Pat Dowling, vice president of Public Relations for B&C.

School field trips and other groups can negotiate discounts. To encourage field trips, lesson-planning packets that meet S.C. curriculum requirements will be distributed to area schools. Lesson plans for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders are complete; those for grades six through eight are being developed.

During her first viewing of the exhibit yesterday, archaeologist Maria Jacobsen said she was impressed by what was done in a very short period of time. She hopes that the exhibit will continue to grow and incorporate new discoveries as they unfold.

One recent revelation that startled Jacobsen and other archaeologists was that four of the eight crew members aboard the Hunley were not American-born. This discovery resulted from evidence that was collected prior to the crew’s burial. This now redirects the search for information on the crew members to Northern Europe.

“It shouldn’t have surprised us,” Jacobsen said. “That was the face of America back then. It still is the face of America.”

Admission for the H.L. Hunley Experience will be $8.95 for adults
and $5.95 for children. Marketing research indicated that people
would want admission for an attraction of this type to be less than
$10, said Pat Dowling, vice president of Public Relations for B&C.

During her first viewing of the exhibit , archaeologist Maria Jacobsen said she was impressed by what was done in a very short period of time. She hopes that the exhibit will continue to
grow and incorporate new discoveries as they unfold.

One recent revelation that startled Jacobsen and other
archaeologists was that four of the eight crew members aboard the
Hunley were not American-born. This discovery resulted from evidence
that was collected prior to the crew’s burial. This now redirects
the search for information on the crew members to Northern Europe.


A model of the Hunley sits outside the H.L. Hunley Experience, which is due to open at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach on Saturday.

Guests view exhibits Thursday at the H.L. Hunley Experience,
a Myrtle Beach museum honoring the Confederate submarine.





One interactive display lets visitors climb inside a cut-away of the sub, sit at a station and turn the hand-crank that powered the propeller. At the rear of the model, the propeller is inside a sealed case of water, letting users feel some of the aquatic resistance that went into pushing the sub along.

People can go inside this model and get a feel for its confines and grasp the hand cranks that propelled the submarine.  Senior Hunley archaeologist Maria Jacobsen gave it a try but said the model is much harder to crank than the actual sub. The real Hunley had a reduction gear that reduced the effort required, she said.  The Associated Press


realname: Steven D. Wicks
username: wicks@
city: Galena state: AK country: USA
Remote Name:
Date: Tuesday August 31, 2004
Time: 05:17:35 PM


How can I find out more about James Wicks and his descendants? Best Regards, Steve Wicks.

On April 7, 1862, Wicks enlisted in the Confederate Navy in Richmond, Va. He was assigned to Charleston and the CSS Indian Chief, a receiving ship in the city's harbor. There the veteran sailor began to work his way through the ranks. By the time George E. Dixon came looking for volunteers for his torpedo-boat, Wicks was a boson's mate.

Wicks sat near the back of the Hunley, next to the first officer, and possibly helped with the machinery. He was, like many submarine crewmen, a veteran sailor who felt at ease on the water.

Facial reconstruction of James Wicks Used with permission from the Post and Courier and

4) Hunt begins for Civil War sub

Researchers use high-tech equipment to scan the ocean floor for the USS Alligator

Edited by George W. Penington  11/30/04



A front-page article Wednesday incorrectly stated how many men died when the Confederate sub CSS Hunley sank. It was eight. An accompanying map locating the search area for the Union submarine USS Alligator incorrectly sited Cape Hatteras. The corrected map is shown.


OCRACOKE   In the battle for submarine fame, the CSS Hunley has far outclassed the USS Alligator.


Consider their Civil War service:
The Confederate Hunley was credited with sinking a Union ship.
The Union Alligator aborted its first mission because it couldnt dive in shallow river water.

The Hunley was believed to have sunk in combat.
The Alligator went down in a storm while being towed to Charleston, S.C.
The Hunley sank with nine [ eight] men aboard.
The Alligator was unmanned when it sank.

The Hunley was the object of an extensive search [Discovered by Dr. E. Lee Spence in 1970] and an eventual recovery in 2000.
The Alligator until now had been largely forgotten.

On Tuesday, a research ship wrapped up its first 24-hour sweep for the USS Alligator, unseen since it sank in 1863.

Over the next week, East Carolina University and federal researchers working aboard a 108-foot Navy research vessel will survey the trackless ocean floor with a metal detector called a magnetometer and a side-scan sonar that depicts an image on monitors.

Its called mowing the grass, said Tim Runyan, director of the maritime studies program at the Greenville university. You create grid lines and the ship follows the track.

When the Office of Naval Research ship, called the Afloat Lab, locates promising sites, researchers will send down a remotely operated vehicle to take photos and gather more detailed information. If a site seems particularly promising, divers could be sent.

In its first sweep, the Afloat Lab made nine passes, each five miles long. Runyan said they got two promising hits. One showed up on a monitor as an indistinguishable massit was later ruled out. Another object was apparently buried and will be studied further later.

The research team on Tuesday opened the boat to visitors to discuss the hunt. The wood-hulled, gray-topped vessel was docked alongside sailboats, yachts and trawlers. All day tourists and residents filed through the ship getting explanations of the equipment and the search techniques. On Tuesday evening, about 150 people crowded a nearby tent for a presentation.

The hunt, which also includes National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers, is concentrated southeast of Ocracoke, about 25 miles offshore, where the Alligator was believed to have drifted after it was cut loose by a tow ship during a storm in 1863.

Finding the Alligator will be a daunting task because the 47-foot craft disappeared between Cape Lookout and Cape Hatterasthe ECU program has found historical records on more than 2,000 shipwrecks in that area. Most are clustered near Ocracoke.

Even if the sub hunters dont find the Alligator, they say the search will raise a bit of submerged maritime history.

Its a precursor of the later submarine fleet, said Runyan. Its like finding a Wright brothers airplane.

Rear Adm. Jay DeLoach, deputy commander of U.S. submarine forces in the Atlantic, acknowledged Tuesday that the Alligator was not well known even to submariners. He said, “ the recent attention was sparked when a rear admirals wife pointed out a short magazine article to her husband and he suggested to his staff and others it was worth studying.”

DeLoach said both the Hunley and the Alligator were important because they pioneered features later used in submarine warfare, including diving chambers and periscopes.

The Confederate States Sub Hunley has sort of overshadowed it, he said. Bringing the Alligator to life is opening a lot of eyes.

Runyan, who has researched and dived on shipwrecks in the Caribbean, in the Great Lakes and off Alaska, likes to speculate what would have happened if the Alligator had not sunk. You wonder if it would have faced the Hunley, he said.

The tedious process of trolling through the so-called Graveyard of the Atlantic was also used in 1973 to find the USS Monitor, the famous Union gunboat.

John Broadwater, head of NOAAs maritime history program, said at least four groups, two of them private, were trying to find the Monitor, which sank in a storm in December 1862.

Researchers aboard a Duke University vessel discovered the Monitor about 16 miles off Cape Hatteras.

Broadwater, who was involved with one of the unsuccessful private searchers, later worked on recovering Monitor artifacts and still supervises the preservation of the relics. He said the Alligator search was worthwhile for scientific and historical information.

Its a little jewel there, he said.

Staff writer Jerry Allegood can be reached at (252) 752-8411 or


5) North vs. South, Submarine against Submarine

The Navy & Marine Living History Association is pleased to announce the addition to the Alligator section of our site of the first batch in a series of hand-tinted prints depicting aspects of Civil War era underwater warfare. These are all sized to fit on an 11x17" sheet of paper at a good sharp resolution. The new page is at .Regards,
Chuck Veit
President, Navy & Marine Living History Association



 “What would happen if the HUNLEY and the Alligator had met in the middle of Charleston Harbor?

--- In, Mike wrote:
” Runyan, who has researched and dived on shipwrecks in the
Caribbean,  in the Great Lakes and off Alaska, likes to speculate what would
 have happened if the Alligator had not sunk. "You wonder if it would have faced the Hunley," he said.”

This is an interesting flight of fancy.  The Union clearly had to have a counterpart to the Virginia, but unless the Alligator was outfitted as a hunter-killer, I'm hard pressed to imagine what it would have done the Hunley... and vice versa. However, it is good to see the project getting this press, and the several official and semi-official sites have been providing good up- to-date information. 

If you haven't looked at the Discovery model updates by David Merriman,
and Tim Smalley
take the time.  Tim has a lot of additional info as well that
augments the NOAA material. …Michael

NOTE: includes an article by Jim Christley  Jim Christley has a variety of information about other U.S. submarines on his Old Subs site at

The United States submarine Alligator was lost in a storm at sea on April 2, 1863. The Alligator had left Newport News, Virginia, under tow of the U.S.S. Sumter on April 1, 1863, and was bound to Port Royal, South Carolina, when the vessels got into a storm and the steamer was forced to cut the submarine loose. 

The submarine had been intended to be used to discover and explode mines in preparation for an assault on Charleston.  The assault took place on April 7, 1863, and failed largely due to the Confederate mines. 

The Alligator was designed by the French inventor Brutus de Villeroi and launched by Neafie and Levy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 30, 1862,, under a subcontract from Martin Thomas.  The vessel was completed in June of 1862/.  She was said to be about 30’ long and 6’ or 8’ in diameter.  “It was made of iron with the upper part pierced for small circular plates of glass, for light, and in it were several water tight compartments.”

It had originally been fitted with sixteen paddles protruding from the sides to be worked by men inside, but on July 3, 1862, she was ordered to Washington Navy Yard to have her folding oars replaced by a propeller which was powered by a hand crank. It was said to be capable of seven knots. 

“The Alligator was to have been manned by sixteen men, besides one in submarine armor, who was the explorer, and a captain who was to steer the craft.  An air pump in the center of the machine, to which were attached two air tubes, attached to floats, was to furnish air to the occupants, the machine being of course air tight. 

The entrance to it was through a man-hole at one end, which was covered with an iron plate, with leather compartments, The Alligator was also described as a semi-submarine boat.” 446’ (or 47’) long and 4’6” in diameter, with a crew of seventeen.   Spence’s list, Shipwrecks of NC, SC & Ga. 1861-1865 , Page 234 Treasures of the Confederate Coast. The “Real Rhett Butler” and Other Revelations by E. Lee Spence, Narwhal Press, Inc.  Copies available through The Hunley Store


This rendition of the USS Alligator was submitted to the CSS H L Hunley Club by member Andrew Hall


Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2004 12:18 PM
Subject: alligator


Went to the Alligator symposium (union sub) and learned how the Hunley (Confederate sub) sank
go figure.

NOTE:  Mike swears he knows the answer as to why the Hunley sank, but won't tell me until I meet him December 10, 2004 in Savannah for the McAllister Fort re-enactment.


International Diving Institute


The International Diving Institute (IDI) is opening a commercial
diving instruction and certification program in Charleston, South
Carolina. This is a major development as there are only a half dozen
commercial diving schools in the United States.

Besides basic commercial diving (i.e. with state of the art dive
helmets), IDI will be teaching everything from HAZMAT to non-destruct

Great training site located on the Cooper River at the old Charleston
Navy Base (IDI Main Campus, 1400 Pier Side Street, Bldg 190, North
Charleston, SC 29405). Not only do their students train in a 20x21
dive tank in clear water, they practice in real life limited
visibility conditions in the river.

IDI also has classrooms and a library at the IDI Corporate Office,
206B East 5th N. Street, Summerville S.C. 29483.

Contact Sergio A. Smith, CEO, toll free 888-SAT-DIVE (728-3483) or
call 843-821-0001; Fax 843-821-9933

Visit today.

Best wishes,
Dr. E. Lee Spence
Underwater Archaeologist

 “without Destiny…. History is based on the results of the FUTURE”. GWP



----- Original Message -----
From: President, NMLHA
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 6:11 PM
Subject: Progress on Alligator Model(s)

The main model of the "Mark 1863" Alligator is coming along well and you can see the results at . Be sure to link from this page to Tim Smalley's site to see the work he has done on "Alligator Junior," the submarine that preceded Alligator and the one first seen and evaluated by the Navy. (The pictures below are of David Merriman's model; Tim Smalley's efforts on a model of de Villeroi's pre-Alligator salvage submarine are catalogued on his website, "Modeling de Villeroi's 'Alligator junior'." )

Also, modelmaker Bob Santos built a complete version of the sub based on the digital model posted on the NMLHA website; photos are at .

In the near future, look for a copy of Gideon Welles' commission given to Sam Eakins, and provided by descendant Jeffrey Malone; this will appear along with the other relevant documents on the NOAA website.

Chuck Veit
President, Navy & Marine Living History Association



George I've sent you pictures on how I made the Hunley step by step and I will send the Hunley and Monitor on their platform and with a background as soon as I can find someone to help me hold the background up while I take those pictures.
                                                    Your Friend
C.S.S. Hunley,  approximately 5'feet long and  looks like the real thing

  The Louisiana Cajun Swamp Man,        Ray Arceneaux


 used with permission from the Post and Courier and

Tours of the Hunley are still available on weekends at the
Warren Lasch conservation lab where the sub is housed.


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