155 year’s ago today, The HL Hunley became the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy ship. The privateer vessel attacked the USS Housatonic nearvthe mouth of Charleston Harbor and sent the Union warship to rest forever on the continental shelf.
In a mystery that is still being actively investigated, the submarine was also lost along with its entire crew. As more evidence has been unearthed, answers have been found but so have questions.
A visit to the Hunley at the old Charleston Navy Yard is highly recommended.
While Hunley was forbidden to submerge after previous accidents, the ship’s design left most of the ship underwater even when surfaced. A nighttime approach left the vessel undetected until it was beneath the range of Housatonic’s cannon. Small arms fire from crew members was ineffective and Housatonic’s fate was sealed.
Sitting in an alkali bath to neutralize over a century of salt water, Hunley continues to provide evidence of its story. Scientists have created new practices in order to preserve and study the ship, artifacts, and remains of the crew. By learning from Hunley as they go, researchers are laying the groundwork for future projects in engineering and science.
There was a legend about an old gold coin with an engraving. Hunley skipper Lt. George Dixon reportedly carried the coin for luck after it stopped a bullet and saved his life at the battle of Shiloh. During artifact and remains recovery work, researchers found the coin, complete with bullet deformity and an engraving confirming the story.
At 48 inches tall and 42 inches wide, the Hunley’s interior left very little room for the 8 man crew. The top right photo is of a movie prop that was roomier than the actual ship.
Scientists used the recovered skulls of the crew to build facial reconstruction models to give visitors an idea of what the crew members looked like. Without surviving photos, partial names were all anyone had on some crew members. As each man was found at his post, the assignment roster was used to determine which remains went with which name. This helped identify the crew for both facial red construction and burial.
Sam Burnham, Curator
By now I’m sure you’ve heard this term being slung around. The mystical, magical plan in which all proven sources of energy and economy are discarded for unicorns and glitter and the Federal Government saves the world from menacing onslaught of “cow farts.” Leave it to a New Yorker to blame cows for climate change.
This proposal is the handiwork of the freshman member of Congress from New York City, the amazing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She argues that the deal will reverse climate change while revolutionizing the economy and creating mind blowing prosperity.
But, as is to be expected, the plan is as silly as it is ignorant. For one thing, she cuts out air travel. Then she tweets advice to kids on how to reduce their carbon footprint. One of her points is to give up eating meat and dairy, recommending instead her go-to breakfast of banana and peanut butter. At home in NYC that means opting for peanut butter trucked in from Alabama or Georgia and a banana flown in from South America or maybe even Indonesia instead of a dairy product produced within 100 miles of her home. According to the EPA, ranchers and dairy farmers account for about 2% of all greenhouse gases while transportation accounts for about 28%. So a relatively short truck or train trip could bring her dairy produced in state but she opts for a banana flown in from the other side of the planet and some peanut butter from over 1000 miles away.
The trick to a greener, more sustainable, more ecologically friendly future is with local and regional sources for food, energy, water, goods, services, etc. The more products we use that are locally sourced or at least regionally sourced, the less transportation is required and we cut into the 28% and never mind the 2%. Quit straining at gnats.
As the South continues to develop cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions, and broadband internet services connect our region better, options will arise that will cut those transportation and energy emissions more and the bovine emissions will matter even less.
If Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is really interested in fixing emissions, she should find sustainable methods to heat homes in and travel through that wretched city she lives in. She should deal with the Sasquatch sized carbon footprint of New York before pointing at the ant sized one in rural areas. As the flora in rural areas, especially trees in forests and farms, continues to consume the infinitesimal greenhouse gas emissions from rural sources, the cities continue to make far more than their flora can contain. If greenhouse gas emissions is the conversation she wants to have, then her town needs some greenhouse Beano first.
Regardless of any legislation or action in Washington, a localized grass roots economy will always be the greenest option. The closer we are to the goods and services we use, the more our sources of energy match our climate and topography, and the more walkable sour communities, then the greener our environment, the more prosperous our towns, and the healthier our people will be. We can never have a green economy so long as our small towns are cluttered with shuttered workplaces. We need Washington to step out of the way so we can rebuild this nation on our Main Streets.That would be a Green New Deal.
Daniel Shippey, ABG Contributor
We're pleased to be featuring a new contributor. Daniel Shippey is a talented photographer based out of Tifton. He offers this pictorial, a tour of the oddities and antiquities of a locally-owned music store in Downtown Tifton. Davis Music Company has been around over 30 years and in that time has become as much a museum as it has a store. Such a unique place could not be remade or moved. It has taken years to become what it is. Unfortunately, we understand that it will soon be no more. As the owner looks to retire, without a new owner, this place will fade into the sunset.
We may delve into that topic further in the future but for now, let's let Daniel's photography tell the story of what is and what has been.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire