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
About that Gillette ad...
I think I'm seeing what they were trying to say. There’s a standard that we as a society should hold men to. There is an expectation for the conduct of a man that does often go unmet.
I think there is a communication breakdown when it comes to the topic of masculinity and proper male role models. With the presence of a radical feminist movement who frequently uses misandry and a definition of “toxic masculinity” that leaves no place for strong and effective men in our society, people react when they see yet another assault on men.
I think Gillette could have communicated their message better and I think people could have listened better.
My takeaway at this point, after some thought and reflection is this: Not all criticism of male behavior is intended to drag all men down. Not all feminists are radical misandrists. Not all masculinity is toxic. In fact, true masculinity is never toxic.
Masculinity is about strength, leadership, and being a role model for young men. It’s about using strength in a constructive and protective way. The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy weren’t bullies coming to harass the Germans. They were there to defend Western Civilization from a toxic usurper. There’s a line that separates playful roughhousing and malicious bullying. There’s a line between the idea of dating and courtship and the menace of sexual harassment- and BOTH sides on the argument need to understand that.
I’ve spent almost half my life, thus far, raising three men. Just yesterday the oldest became a United States Navy sailor. He and his brothers make me proud beyond words. They are strong, have courage in their convictions, expect the best from others, despise bullying, respect ladies, and offer help to those in need. They are gentlemen.
They're gentlemen because we’ve raised them that way.
I have a guide that I follow. It was composed using the teachings of Christ, the understanding of what should be expected of a man, and by a man who was tasked with mentioning and leading men. He’s often demonized today. His effect on the American left is so strong they take a few associative flaws and attempt to discard him as a whole. It is striking that when held up against him, any male leader in the American left pales in comparison.
General Robert Edward Lee, who was born on this day in 1807 gave us his timeless Definition of a Gentleman. It is the standard I’ve held my boys to. It is the standard we need to hold all American men to today. It is the line between true masculinity and the toxic pseudo-masculinity that would poison our entire society. No matter how far they march, how hard they try, this issue will never be solved by feminism. It can only be solved by men who fit this definition expecting other men to fit it as well. I’ll conclude with his definition in its entirety:
"The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly--the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others."
This episode of the podcast features an interview with Jan Croon, the editor of The War Outside My Window - The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham 1860-1865. The book is the diary of the young man and his observations of the Civil War and his life during that time. It forms an excellent first-hand account of the war, the life his wealthy family lived beforehand as well as their state of affairs which were the same as those of so many Georgians in the wake of the war.
A link to a review of the book can be found here.
The link to this podccast episode can be found here.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire