The CSS H. L. Hunley: Confederate Submarine

The CSS H. L. Hunley: Confederate Submarine

by R. Thomas Campbell
     
 

Visible from the waterfront and the "battery" almost every evening during the approaching winter of 1863 was the long, low shape of a peculiar-looking vessel. Its unique position rested with a blackened iron hull barely awash in the rippling harbor waters. Usually near sundown, observers would notice nine men, two of them officers, clamber onto the craft and disappear… See more details below

Overview

Visible from the waterfront and the "battery" almost every evening during the approaching winter of 1863 was the long, low shape of a peculiar-looking vessel. Its unique position rested with a blackened iron hull barely awash in the rippling harbor waters. Usually near sundown, observers would notice nine men, two of them officers, clamber onto the craft and disappear into its interior. A tall sailor, standing in an open hatchway, would cast off the lines and then he, too, would vanish below. Slowly, the strange craft would ease into the channel and begin to make its way out of the anchorage. With no protruding sail or smokestack, its upper surface was barely visible above the water. Two squat towers, one forward and one aft, were all that interrupted the sleek lines of the black silhouette. Gently rising and falling with the swells of the outgoing tide, the mysterious vessel glided silently out toward the cold green waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Occasionally, as the boat would rise on an unusually large swell, a long spar could be discerned protruding from the bow with a sinister-looking black cylinder attached to the far end. In spite of several failures, little did the residents of the city realize that they were historic witnesses to what would become the world's first successful submarine. Forerunner of all the great and fearsome undersea craft to come in a later century, this historic vessel that they were watching was the Confederate submarine, CSS H. L. Hunley. No other vessel built by of for the confederacy is as intriguing and innovative as the Hunley. Even the swift cruisers such as the Alabama or Shenandoah, the mighty ironclads like Virginia, Arkansas or Tennessee cannotrival the little Hunley for its sheer genius in concept, construction, and operation. The Southern volunteers who crewed this small submarine, and lost their lives in doing so, were entering a realm that few in the nineteenth century could conceive or understand. It required extraordinary courage to enter this realm. On at least two occasions, when the Hunley was lost and the crew suffocated, Confederate Navy volunteers had stepped forward to form a new crew even before the craft was salvaged from the ocean floor. They knew only too well that if the sub ran into trouble while submerged that there was no way to replenish the air supply. They could do little but await the inevitable end. As they sought their country's enemy, the farthest thought from their minds was the fact that they were introducing a whole new concept and dimension to naval warfare. A concept and dimension that is embodied in the huge nuclear-powered, missile-firing submarines to today. But as history has recorded, it was these Southern heroes who lead the way. This is the story of those dedicated men and the fascinating machine they took into battle.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Tells the story of the world's first submarine, the Confederacy's . Forerunner of all the great and fearsome undersea craft to come in a later century, this historic vessel rivals all other vessels built by or for the Confederacy for its sheer genius in concept, construction, and operation. The author has published many works on the Confederacy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572491755
Publisher:
White Mane Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/1999
Pages:
173
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 9.01(h) x 0.55(d)

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