I’m beginning to become interested in Civil War history. The Hunley has been the catalyst.
I often think of history as boring and dull. A musty collection of dry facts and figures that have little relevance to the 21st century. Who cares? Well, now I know. Mark K. Ragan cares. The Hunley is fanatically well researched but assembled so it is interesting and easy to read. The Confederate story comes alive with a new invention out of Mobile, Alabama. Submarine warfare is born. Charleston, South Carolina is the proving ground.
The sea trials were a little rough. She sank twice before completing her one successful mission, sinking the USS Housatonic, on February 14, 1864. And then she vanished for 131 years.
Her story is absolutely fascinating, as are the many old photographs and copies of documents found in naval archives and elsewhere. I would never have believed that so much information could be pieced together after all that time. The story and the glory of the Hunley are exhaustively researched and well told.
The discovery, salvage and preservation of the Hunley occupy only a small segment of this book. For the ongoing story of the Hunley in the 21st century, a bit of personal research is in order. She now rests in a museum. She has a fabulous website and a high profile list of friends. Please, do surf the Hunley website, since you are already on the web. It is well done, interactive and so worthwhile. Should I ever get to Charleston, S.C. a visit to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center at the Old Navy Base is a top priority. Should you have even a faint flicker of interest in submarines or Civil War history…..this book is the definitve statement.
Google has an image gallery, that gives a visual taste of the fascinating world of marine archeology and forensics applied to the Hunley. Don’t miss it. The paperback edition this book is inexpensive and would make for a whale of a read on a rainy blustery night at anchor.