Friday, May 1, 2009

The Hunley

LCWRT May Speaker: Richard W. Hatcher

A native of Richmond, VA, Rick graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BA in U.S. History in 1973. He has worked for the National Park Service since 1970, working at Richmond National Battlefield, Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown, VA, Kings Mountain National Military Park, SC, and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, MO. Since 1992, Rick has served as the Historian at Fort Sumter National Monument, which includes Fort Moultrie, and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site.

Rick serves on the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board, the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust Advisory Board, and is the Fort Sumter NM liaison officer with the Charleston Civil War Round Table. Plus, he is a member of the Southern Campaign of the Revolution Heritage Area Study team.

His publications include: co-author of This Hallowed Ground: Guides to Civil War Battlefields, Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove (University of Nebraska Press, 2006), and Wilson’s Creek, The Second Major Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It (University of North Carolina Press, 2000). In 2000 it was a History Book Club alternate selection, and in 2001 it earned the Missouri State Historical Society, History Book of the Year Award.

The Hunley

In 1861, Horace L. Hunley, James McClintock, and Baxter Watson began building the first of three submarines to support the Confederate war effort. The first two were either scuttled or lost while under tow. Undaunted the men began building a third submarine and by mid-July 1863 a new "diving boat" was completed.

Shortly afterwards the "Fish Boat" was offered to Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard in defense of Charleston and in early August the submarine arrived in the city. Not long afterwards an accident occurred during which the submarine sank and five crew members drowned. After its recovery, Horace Hunley assumed command of the vessel and named it the H. L. Hunley. Then in October, during a test dive in Charleston Harbor a second accident resulted in his death and the deaths of the entire crew.

Recovered a second time, the Hunley was assigned to Lt. George E. Dixon who recruited and trained a new crew. On the night of February 17, 1864, they attacked and sank the USS Housatonic, and although the Hunley was lost, its successful mission marked the first sinking of an enemy ship by a submarine in combat in world history.

Located in 1995, the vessel was raised on August 8, 2000. From that time to the present the Hunley’s interior has undergone excavation. The remains of the eight crew members were recovered and subsequently buried on April 17, 2004. Hundred of artifacts were located within the sub and a wealth of information has been discovered not only about the submarine’s construction and operation, but also about the crew. Conservation efforts are ongoing with an eye toward complete preservation and eventual display of the boat in its own museum.

Books, Books, Books!
There will be copies of our speaker’s book, Wilson’s Creek for sale at the meeting. These will be hardback first editions that normally sell for $39.95 and we will have them for $20.00. Also Rick is planning to bring 25 reproductions of the famous "Dixon coin." This is the $20 gold piece Dixon had in his pocket when wounded at Shiloh, kept as a good luck charm that was recovered from his remains found on the Hunley. It sells for $10.00 and all proceeds go the Hunley conservation fund.

Book Donations
We are currently accepting book donations for our door prizes. If you have Civil War books you would like to donate, please bring them to one of the meetings and give them to Lowell Griffin our door prize coordinator. Thanks to everyone who can donate

2009 – 2010 Dates
Saturday May 9 Rick Hatcher "The Hunley"
Saturday September 9 ? "TBA"
Saturday October 10 Will Greene "Confederate Leadership in the Petersburg
Sunday November 14 Bud Robertson "TBA"
Saturday December 5 Chris Kolakowski "TBA"
Saturday January 16 Jim Ogden "TBA"

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MAY 2009 QUIZ:

1. A relative of President Lincoln was at Salem Church during and after the battles of Chancellorsville. Who was he and what was he doing?
2. On April 25, 1865, two young boys, nephews of the Confederate European agent James D. Bulloch, supposedly watched Lincoln's funeral procession in New York City. Who were they?
3. What were some of the military factors that led to Lincoln's reelection in 1864?
4. Who swore Abraham Lincoln in as the sixteenth president on March 4, 1861?
5. How did the youngest Lincoln son get his nickname?
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1. In 1864 Abraham Lincoln ran for reelection as a member of what party?
It was the National Union Party, a coalition of Republicans and War Democrats.
2. The parents of Thomas Lincoln became concerned because he had not learned to read by what age?
He had not learned to read by nine (9) years of age.
3. What was the name Abraham Lincoln typically used to address his wife?
He addressed her as "Mother".
4. What were the tragic results of the fire in Lincoln's private stables, a brick building on the White House grounds between the mansion and the Treasury Department?
Lincoln's two horses, the two belonging to his secretaries, Tad's pony and the one that was considered Willie's pony even though Willie had died the previous year all perished on February 10, 1864.
5. What happened to Lincoln's personal copy of the Emancipation Proclamation?
It was donated to the Chicago Historical Society in 1864 and was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871.
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