The Lost Light: A Civil War Mystery

Overview

This new second edition of The Lost Light includes two new chapters featuring the complete story of the controversial recovery, restoration and reunion of the historic Henry-Lepaute lens and pedestal.

The message was like a beacon, flashing an irresistible invitation to solve a 140-year-old Civil War mystery and to find the "holy grail" of American lighthouses. The message-
"I have had the apparatus removed ...
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Overview

This new second edition of The Lost Light includes two new chapters featuring the complete story of the controversial recovery, restoration and reunion of the historic Henry-Lepaute lens and pedestal.

The message was like a beacon, flashing an irresistible invitation to solve a 140-year-old Civil War mystery and to find the "holy grail" of American lighthouses. The message-
"I have had the apparatus removed to a good storehouse in the county and safely stored"-had been sent to Richmond by 36-year-old physician David T. Tayloe. It was 1862 and Tayloe was in possession of 44 pine crates containing bronze frames and crown-glass prisms that once had been the illuminating apparatus from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

A year earlier, Confederate officials ordered the optic removed from the original Hatteras tower to prevent it from aiding the enemy. In its wake, the lens left a trail of destruction, defiance and recrimination-careers were lost, towns were threatened, and the steamboat that transported the apparatus was captured and sunk.

So began an intriguing mystery that endured for more than a century-what became of the missing 6,000-pound, 12-foot-tall Fresnel lens from the original Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, hidden during the Civil War? By horse-drawn carts, pole-propelled flats, steamboats and the rickety rails of the Confederate railroad, the lens vanished into obscurity, a mystery made of myths, urban legends and a sea of faded and fire-ravaged documents. According to Lighthouse Digest Magazine, the whereabouts of the Cape Hatteras lens had long remained "one of the great-unsolved mysteries of American lighthouse history."

It is a mystery no longer. In2002, the Cape Hatteras Henry-Lepaute lens was found by author, filmmaker and historian, Kevin P. Duffus. But the story did not end there. In 2006, the lens and its elegant, Victorian-era pedestal were reunited at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at Hatteras, North Carolina. Considered "a national treasure," the exhibit reveals the artifact's grandeur, but also teaches how greed and disrespect for our heritage can destroy an exquisite machine crafted at the pinnacle of the industrial age. Having served seafarers in two lighthouses, saving countless lives over two centuries, this once-lost "diamond in the sky" will continue to enlighten future generations as a symbol of genius, dedication, and compassion.
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Editorial Reviews

Lighthouse News
The story of the lost lens will take a top place in lighthouse lore and history. It's the sort of find for which an archeologist waits his entire life.
Our State Magazine
[The author's] discovery of the whereabouts of the original 'lost' Hatteras light Fresnel lens is an astonishing surprise.
The Beachcomber
Kevin Duffus unravels one of the greatest enigmas of American maritime history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888285260
  • Publisher: Looking Glass Productions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/15/2009
  • Edition number: 2
  • Sales rank: 498,747
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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