by George W. Penington  -  Editor

January 2006 Issue #60


Morris Island With a Bed and Breakfast?
Where Is The Hunley Museum?



" This newsletter is published once a month  with a link to the online addition available to subscribers only.  We do not spam or sell our list to anyone"

George W. Penington,
Editor and Webmaster for The Newsletter and Website

ALL issues are dedicated  to the brave and
honorable Men of the Hunley and  to the
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CLUB and The Post and Courier. Donations
are freely excepted to fray the cost.

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Single-bullet theory (Lucky Shot surmises that a Minnie ball fired from the deck of the USS Housatonic shattered the Hunley's forward cast-iron conning tower during the attack, allowing water to pour in while an injured Lt. George Dixon struggled to control the contrary sub. This theory had been disproved due to air left in the sub after she sank. A conning tower hole would have quickly allowed the sub to fill with water, but some die hards still think it’s feasible...  See Newsletter #33

At the time this theory surfaced after the Hunley was raised
basically because of the envelope size hole found in the
forward turret.  Observers may recall that the hole was
filled with foam before she was brought out of the ocean.

Scientist are now
further disproving this theory based on the recent additional lack
of supporting evidence.

More extensive and detailed work has
begun on the forward conning tower
particularly the removal of glass from  the view ports facing the bow. There are five clear ports in the turret. (1)

 The busted, porthole or eyesight on the front of the forward conning tower sitting  to the port side of the cutwater blade that angles up from the hull to the tower is just below a 4-by-6-inch hole in the turret. The round port holes are only 2.5 inches wide. There is one porthole on
each side of the tower and one in the hatch lid.  Previously, experts thought the Hunley sailed blind unless someone was looking through either the forward or stern open hatch.

The forward porthole, illuminated with candlelight from the sub's
interior, would have served as a bull's-eye for Union soldiers on the Housatonic but witness reports state that only small arms were
fired as the Hunley approached.


Scientist have
released information finally that there is
a thin flange
remaining on the port side forward
viewing port - where
the single-bullet
would have entered and that the port
wasn't shot into it is simply missing. So far there is no glass from
the port found inside the sub.

Historical accounts from Housatonic survivors describe the sight of the Hunley's deadlights and ports glowing yellow - it was the only part of the sub they could really see that night. They shot at the sub, but didn't think they had hit it. The hole in the tower was found 136 years after the sinking when she was raised from the harbor.

After the sinking of the Housatonic a court of Inquiry found  "That between 8:45 and 9 o'clock p. m. on said night an object in the water was discovered almost simultaneously by the officer of the deck and the lookout stationed at the starboard cathead, on the starboard bow of the ship, about 75 or 100 yards distant, having the appearance of a log. That on further and closer observation it presented a suspicious appearance, moved apparently with a speed of 3 or 4 knots in the direction of the starboard quarter of the ship, exhibiting two protuberances above and making a slight ripple in the water.
That the strange object approached the ship with a rapidity precluding a gun of the battery being brought to bear upon it, and finally came in contact with the ship on her starboard quarter. That several shots from small arms were fired at the object while it was alongside or near the ship before the explosion occurred.

It appears that there is no way to block out the forward lights like the ones that run along the subs deck which had shutters that opened and closed to seal leaks if the glass was broken.  To keep from being seen the crew could seal out the lights from the crew compartment and the Commander Dixon would have to seal the forward lights with a cloth or some other arrangement.  Dixon who had his hand full may not have even considered the fact that the enemy may be able to see him.

So far with the port side glass missing and no trace of broken glass inside the sub, the single bullet theory can finally be scratched off the list. Although there is some sludge left on the floor of the Hunley, scientist are saying that it is highly unlikely that any glass will be found. Even if glass was found inside because of the amount of air left inside that caused stalagmites, the event would have had to happen years later.

Work will begin soon on the aft conning tower, the twin of the forward tower but reversed in heading direction. The forward hatch opens front to back and the aft hatch opens back to front.  Scientist believe that both turrets are identical and were cast from the same mold.  It is hoped that it will provide more answers to what may have caused the hole in the forward turret.


Pictures above extricated from the CSS HL Hunley Club Posted: Dec 26, 2002
The art work of Daniel Dowdey with his permission



Report of Lieutenant Higginson, U.S. Navy, executive officer of the USS Housatonic.

Off Charleston, S. C., February 18, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the sinking of the U. S. S. Housatonic, by a rebel torpedo off Charleston, S. C., on the evening of the 17th instant.

          About 8:45 p. m. the officer of the deck, Acting Master J. K. Crosby, discovered something in the water about 100 yards from and moving toward the ship. It had the appearance of a plank moving in the water. It came directly toward the ship, the time from when it was first seen till it was close alongside being about two minutes.
          During this time the chain was slipped, engine backed, and all hands called to quarters.

          The torpedo struck the ship forward of the mizzenmast, on the starboard side, in a line with the magazine. Having the after pivot gun pivoted to port we were unable to bring a gun to bear upon her.

          About one minute after she was close alongside the explosion took place, the ship sinking stern first and heeling to port as she sank.

          Most of the crew saved themselves by going into the rigging, while a boat was dispatched to the Canandaigua. This vessel came gallantly to our assistance and succeeded in rescuing all but the following-named officers and men, viz, Ensign E. C. Hazeltine, Captain's Clerk C. O. Muzzey, Quartermaster John Williams, Landsman Theodore Parker, Second-Class Fireman John Walsh.

          The above officers and men are missing and are supposed to have been drowned.

          Captain Pickering was seriously bruised by the explosion and is at present unable to make a report of the disaster.

          Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Rear-Admiral JOHN A. DAHLGREN,
Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series II, vol. 1 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1921): 328. (2)

Report of Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, U.S. Navy, commanding the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Port Royal Harbor, S. C., February 19, 1864.

SIR: I much regret to inform the Department that the U. S. S. Housatonic, on the blockade off Charleston, S. C., was torpedoed by a rebel "David" [H. L. Hunley] and sunk on the night of the 17th February about 9 o'clock.

          From the time the "David" was seen until the vessel was on the bottom a very brief period must have elapsed; so far as the executive officer (Lieutenant Higginson) can judge, and he is the only officer of the Housatonic whom I have seen, it did not exceed five or seven minutes.

          The officer of the deck perceived a moving object on the water quite near and ordered the chain to be slipped; the captain and executive officer went on deck, saw the object, and each fired at it with a small arm. In an instant the ship was struck on the starboard side, between the main and mizzen masts; those on deck near were stunned, the vessel begun to sink, and went down almost immediately. Happily the loss of life was small: Ensign E. C. Hazeltine, Captain's Clerk C. O. Muzzey, and three of the crew, Quartermaster John Williams, Second- Class Fireman John Walsh, and Landsman Theodore Parker.

          Two boats of the Housatonic were lowered and received all they could hold; the Canandaigua, which knew nothing of the catastrophe, sent her boats immediately on hearing of it, and took off the crew, who had ascended into the rigging.

          The enclosed printed orders will show the precautions which have been directed from time to time to guard the ironclads that lay inside the bar, and would naturally be the objects of attack from their importance and proximity, and I also transmit copy of a communication (January 15) to the senior officer outside on the same subject.

          In addition I have been in the habit of giving personal attention to the inside blockade, sometimes visiting the picket monitors several hours after dark.

          Being notified on the 5th of February by General Gillmore that he was about to throw a force into Florida, and would need naval assistance, I left promptly for the St. John's, in order to be sure that no aid should be wanted that was possible, leaving Commodore Rowan, an experienced officer, commanding the Ironsides, in charge of the blockade of Charleston.

          On my return I touched here to examine into the condition of our depots, and particularly in regard to the repairs on the monitors, intending also to visit the blockade of Savannah River.

          The Department will readily perceive the consequences likely to result from this event; the whole line of blockade will be infested with these cheap, convenient, and formidable defenses, and we must guard every point. The measures for prevention may not be so obvious.

          I am inclined to the belief that in addition to the various devices for keeping the torpedoes from the vessels, an effective preventive may be found in the use of similar contrivances.

          I would therefore request that a number of torpedo boats be made and sent here with dispatch; length about 40 feet, diameter amidships 5 to 6 feet, and tapering to a point at each end; small engine and propeller, an opening of about 15 feet above with a hatch coaming, to float not more than 18 inches above water, somewhat as thus sketched.

          I have already submitted a requisition on the Bureau of Construction (January 16) for some craft of this kind, copy enclosed, which, with the great mechanical facilities of the North, should be very quickly supplied.

          I have also ordered a quantity of floating torpedoes, which I saw tried here and thought promised to be useful. Meanwhile I hope the expected monitors may soon arrive, when an attack on the defenses of the lower harbor may be made.

          I have attached more importance to the use of torpedoes than others have done, and believe them to constitute the most formidable of the difficulties in the way to Charleston. Their effect on the Ironsides, in October, and now on the Housatonic, sustains me in this idea.

          The Department will perceive from the printed injunctions issued that I have been solicitous for some time in regard to these mischievous devices, though it may not be aware of the personal attention which I have also given to the security of the ironclads; I naturally feel disappointed that the rebels should have been able to achieve a single success, mingled with no little concern, lest, in spite of every precaution, they may occasionally give us trouble. But it will create no dismay nor relax any effort; on the contrary, the usual enquiry will be ordered, though the whole story is no doubt fully known.

          I desire to suggest to the Department the policy of offering a large reward of prize money for the capture or destruction of a "David;" I should say not less than $20,000 or $30,000 for each. They are worth more than that to us.

          I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Rear-Admiral, Comdg. South Atlantic Blockdg. Squadron.

Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series II, vol. 1 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1921): 329-330.


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"We have a new web site under construction about the USS Keokuk." 

Charles Williams
Williams Media

"The Keokuk sank off the south end of
Morris Island, at half-past eight o’clock the following morning
 (Apr11 8). Her smoke-stack and turrets are now visible at
low water. From her wreck floated ashore a book, a
spy-glass, and pieces of furniture bespattered with blood,
and small fragments of iron sticking in them. -"
About 9 o'clock the Keokuk, which had been
evidently the most damaged in the action, went down
about 3˝ miles from Fort Sumter and three-fourths of
a mile from Morris Island.

Please click The USS Keokuk for more information

Late Breaking News
-The fully up-dated CSS H L HUNLEY MODEL will be ready to ship in three weeks.


Morris Island With a Bed and Breakfast?

The Morris Island Lighthouse and the wetlands surrounding Morris Island are owned by the State of South Carolina and are not included in any sale.

Photo by George W. Penington

You may recall
Morris Island being
up for sale on EBAY a year ago well it is apparently under contract and due to close at the end of this month according to developer Harry
Huffman He says his listing received more than 18,000 hits on EBAY but  didn't sell.

How does this tie in with the Hunley?

Union private Ezra Chamberlin, Company K of the 7th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment was in the attack against Confederate Fort Wagner on Morris Island in the early morning hours of July 11, 1863.

Chamberlin died in the Battle of Battery Wagner along with
more than 1800 Federal troops who were later buried in a
mass grave in the sand of Morris Island. The troops buried
on the island included over 1500 men of the 54th
Massachusetts Regiment featured in the 1989 Hollywood
movie "Glory" starring Denzel Washington.

Locals still recall being able to see human bones
 in the center of Morris Island that wash up  out of the sand after a heavy rain. 

Used with permission from the Post and Courier and

Archaeologists excavating the interior of the Confederate
States Submarine HL Hunley found a medallion with
Chamberlin's name on it, still draped around the neck of 
crewmen Joseph Ridgaway
. Someone close to the Hunley
snagged the medallion as a souvenir likely J.F. Carlsen,
the last man to join the Hunley crew.  Carlsen, fought on
Morris Island the day Chamberlin died. Carlsen may have
found the tag and sold it to Ridgaway or  lost it to him
in a card game.


Chamberlin medallion found on the Hunley

The Ginn Company, which has a contract to buy at least part
of the 125 acre  island "specializes in land acquisition, real estate development and management, architectural design and
engineering, resort development and operation and golf course construction and management. "  The Island is not listed on
the Ginn website as future development but they have been
involved with The Cottages on Charleston Harbor and Patriots
Point Links golf course in Charleston, South Carolina.

But Charleston County who controls the zoning and building on the island  and the area known as  Cummings Point only allows for  two homes to be built on the property but has heard ideas of building
a 10 bedroom bed and breakfast instead. DHEC has been
approached by an Engineering company about putting in a
septic tank system to handle waste.

The previous developer Harry Huffman  applied for a permit
for 20 wells and septic tanks on the island's Cumming's Point
area earlier this year but has to request Charleston's county
council to re-zone it for the 20 houses first There is no
information on where this action stands.

News of the pending sale has stirred up Civil War
preservationists who have been fighting any development
of the Island.

The National Trust's Southern Office  and the Morris Island
Coalition are working together to raise money to buy the site.
Blake Hallman of the Morris Island Coalition is quoted in the
Post and Courier as stating, "It's a travesty to build on a
graveyard where brave men fought and died"  "If the property
falls off the market or is developed the state and nation will
lose out to a "few privileged people in a bed and breakfast."

The final selling price is secret but the value for the land has
floated, ranging between $4 million and $12.5 million. It was
appraised at $4.1 million in 2001.
For More Information on this topic


Hunley Q&A 

QuestionWhere Is The Hunley Museum?


I get this question all the time. After North Charleston won the
bidding to locate the Hunley Museum on the old Navy Base nothing much has happened since. (4)

This summer, as a growing number of North Charleston leaders questioned the pace of redevelopment on the former Charleston
Naval Base, the company in charge of the work asked the city
for more than $175 million in help to get started.  They stated that the money was needed to begin soil and traffic studies which should have been started years ago.  The company says that some of the money would be used to tear down buildings, replace waterlines
and repair roads items that the developer should be taking care of. 
They also claim to need the cash upfront to get started on their
five-year old promise to redevelop the base which includes the
money to build museums, and environmental center and to
renovate numerous
historic buildings.  All the existing buildings are falling into disrepair
and are deteriorating rapidly due to lack of maintenance.

The fact that Noisette Company is asking for money is waking
up a few council members to the fact that Noisette may not
have the financial backing to even start the project which
includes the promise of thousands of new homes, offices
and shops. One council member stated that the company
 took over existing rental property,
they collect the rents yet they haven't produced anything
and now
they want more.



----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 09, 2006 9:31 AM
Subject: Hunley Club Pictures

Hello Dan;
Can I use your pictures posted in the club in my next newsletter
due out January 15th. I will of course credit you and the CSS HL Hunley Club.   George W. Penington  
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 09, 2006 5:14 PM
Subject: Re: Hunley Club Pictures

Hi George
You most certainly can.
How's it been going? I haven't kept up with a lot of the Hunley stuff, been too much with the ironclads lately.
Have a great day
Everythings good...Thanks for asking.  We keep digging for info from the FOTH but my head aches from banging it against a wall.  LOL.  Let me know about the Ironclads..always looking for fodder for the newsletters.
George  (5)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2005 9:40 PM
Subject: CF Carlson - Possible Relative

 Dear Sir:
 I am interested in finding out more information on CF Carlson, I understand he originally immigrated from Sweden. 
My mother's family name is Carlson.  We have immigration
records on my mother's father's family and records of where
they came from in Sweden.  I would appreciate any help
you could give me in getting further information on this person, particularly dates of immigration or personal history.  I have
contacts in Sweden that would help us to determine if there is a relationship.
 Michael D. Hernandez 

Used with permission from the Post and Courier and

Carlsen got the seat reserved for new guys, the crank position in the very center of the Hunley's crew compartment. "The Dead mans Seat" WITH The least Chance of Escape

-- Original Message -----
From: Ed
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 3:51 PM
Subject: $10.00 FEE

Dear Sir,
I have always enjoyed reading your newsletter.  I am severely disabled and trying to support my family on S.S. disability.  I do not have the $10.00 as I can't take care of the utilities, groceries, mortgage and gasoline as it is.  Those are the hard cold facts of life styles of the poor, disabled and the broke.  I do wish you the very best.

Thanks for writing Ed...The best of luck to you and I will keep you on the mailing list.  Let me know if you win the lottery.  George W. Penington  Webmaster and Editor of the website and newsletter.---

----- Original Message -----
From: "wally wray" <>
To: "George W Penington" <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 5:27 PM
Subject: Re: Hunley Newsletter #59 Links

 Hi George,

 Just taking a moment to 'damn the politically correct
 torpedoes,' and wish you and yours a VERY MERRY
 CHRISTMAS, and a HEALTHY & HAPPY, to say nothing of a
 successful and prosperous, NEW YEAR!!!!!

 (If you'd like about 7" of really cold white stuff to
 spread on your lawn, driveway, et al, just let me know
 - - I've got plenty to spare!!!!)

 Wally Wray

Thanks Wally...You are a good man, I don't care what they say.
  lol  Best to you and yours and a dang Merry Christmas to you too.  GWP

 --- George W Penington <>
 Check this out Wally - I sent this special.  You may
 get another letter from our new mailer.  Just
 disregard it...I'm checking out a new mail service.
 We are not going to charge for newsletters any more,
 it is strictly a voluntary donation.  I build these
 letters by myself on my time.  There will be one
 more this year that I've already started building.
 Thanks for your interest and hang in.  George W.
 Penington  the poor down trodden Webmaster and
 Editor of the Hunley website and newsletter.

Welcome back George. I hope you are on the mend and feeling better!
Merry Christmas.
Tim Smalley



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