Saturday, June 01, 2013

Photo journal: Replica of 'Hunley' in Connecticut

A 40-foot replica of the Confederate submarine Hunley was one of the
 main attractions Saturday at a Civil War Naval encampment in Mystic, Conn.
Nine crewmen somehow squeezed into the Hunley. The original sank twice 
before it was finished off for good on Feb. 17, 1864.
From top to bottom, the hull of the original Hunley was a little more than four feet high, 
making standing problematic for its nine-man crew.
A replica of the gold coin that was found with the remains 
of the commander on the Hunley,  Lt. George Dixon.
Facial reconstruction of one of the crew members who was 
on the final voyage of the Hunley.
In the first successful submarine attack in naval history, the Confederate sub Hunley, armed with a  crude torpedo, sank the Union warship Housatonic in the outer harbor in Charleston. S.C. on Feb. 17, 1864.  If the nine-man crew of the Hunley celebrated its triumph, it must have been short-lived. The submarine sank sometime after its successful detonation of the torpedo,  the cause of the sinking still debated today. All nine crew members perished.

Plenty has been written about the Hunley over the years, including the tale of its 1995 discovery in nearly 30 feet of water, the raising to the surface of the vessel in 2000  and the recovery of the remains of its crew. On Saturday at a Civil War Naval encampment at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn., a full-scale replica of the famous sub was on display, brought to Connecticut by a group from South Carolina. An amazingly detailed replica of the gold coin that was found with the remains of  the vessel's  commander, Lt. George Dixon, was even offered for sale. (It's stamped on the reverse with the word "Copy" so it can't be passed off as real.)

As these photos attest, the crew's comfort was not atop the checklist of the submarine's designers. Nine brave men without claustrophobia somehow squeezed into the 40-foot long vessel, hunched over to keep from bumping their heads against the hull, which was a little more than 4 feet high and 4 feet across. Check out the interactive panoramas of the event below; pan to the far left in the first panorama to see the replica of the Hunley. (For all my Civil War panoramas, click here.)

                                              Click on images for full-screen panoramas.

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