Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today In History.............

In 1864........

Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley commanded by Lt. G.E. Dixon in a effort to break the Federal Navy's blockade, successfully attacked and sank the U.S.S. Housatonic a steam powered sloop of war outside of Charleston harbor. The Housatonic went down in 5 minutes but only suffered the loss of 5 lives, the rest of the crew were able to either man lifeboats or climb into the rigging of the ship until rescued. After the attack the Hunley never returned to it's base so was considered lost with all aboard(Lt. Dixon and seven crew members)in the attack.

The Hunley's place in history was due to it's being the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime. It's success came at a high price however. The lost of it's crew on it's combat mission, but also two other crews during testing and development. Say what you will about the cause they served, but it had to take a brave man to climb down into a iron tube that had only one hatch, no lights, no fresh air, soon to be under water. To turn a hand crank for hours(the method of propulsion for the Hunley) on end with no guarantee that you are ever coming back.

Lt. Dixon and his crew did make it back however. On August 8th 2000 the Hunley was raised from Charleston harbor with the remains of the crew still on board. On April 17th 2004 the Hunley's crew was buried with full military honors in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery.


Brigid said...

Thank you. My favorite brother is/was a Submariner. Operation Ivy Bells. The SeaWolf, the Halibut. I was really little, to the point of not noticing, when all that was happening, but it didn't make me any less proud.

He works for Electric Boat now, soon to retire. I'm STILL proud.

Michael W. said...


Please give him my warmest regards and thanks for his service. Even though I was never in the service I have a special affection for the navy and those who served. (and the Marines too, damn it) -grin-

Here are two quotes to share with your brother if you like,

"Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters,
They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep." Psalm 107:23-24.


"Any man who may be asked in this century, what he did to make his life worthwhile, can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served in the United States Navy"."

President John F. Kennedy
August 1st 1963