Friday, December 14, 2007

Carnival Atmosphere Continues for the Submarine Hunley

December 14, 2007 - CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Hunley Commander's Watch No Smoking Gun - When scientists opened the watch belonging to the H.L. Hunley commander three years ago, they thought they had the key clue to why the Confederate submarine sank off Charleston. But the 18-karat gold watch now seems to raise even more questions even though scientists announced Friday it did not slowly wind down but stopped quickly - perhaps the result of a concussion or rushing water. source

Amatuers refer to the H.L. Hunley as the CSS (Confederates States Ship) Hunley. It was not a military submarine. It was a privateer on military assignment - a subtle difference perhaps, but a fact nevertheless. Without doubt some very courageous volunteers made the H.L. Hunley a naval paradigm burster - the first submarine to sink an enemy combatant. The Confederates lost 32 men in Hunley's career, including the 8 brave souls reponsible for her first and last combat success.

The reason for Hunley's sinking has remained a mystery. In M.E.'s opinion, the alleged mystery contributes to the ongoing carnival attractiveness of a prime piece of museum artifact. I believe I know the most likely cause of Hunley's final sinking. In fact, someone intends to publish the likely cause with a loosely related story currently being researched.

Meanwhile, the mystery is maintained by a South Carolina politician:

"All of us were thinking the watch pointed to the crucial moment," said state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, chairman of the state Hunley Commission. "But I would say instead of the smoking gun, it's more of the smoke that keeps you from seeing." ... McConnell also said there is no way to tell if the watch was even working that night. It may have been broken but Dixon may have continued to carry the expensive watch.

To review, here is what M.E. previously posted on the Hunley mysterious fate. The crew drowned due to another cause as they tried to reach safe harbor. The real story, of course, will be what lead to the sinking.

The Hunley was a marvel, but it was her crews that made her so despite her inferior design.

The H.L. Hunley was certainly iconoclastic for her time. So much so, that her basic concept is still being copied by some foreign navies. This museum piece is worth seeing if only to appreciate the dedication of her courageous crews.

One theory (a real no-brainer) is that the sub took on water while waiting to return. Still, the mystery is how the crew would have allowed that to happen.



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