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6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 10/27/2001 6:20:41 AM EDT
Los Angeles Times: New Theory Offered in Hunley Sinking [url]http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-confederate-submarine1027oct27.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dnation%2Dheadlines[/url] New Theory Offered in Hunley Sinking By BRUCE SMITH Associated Press Writer October 27 2001, 3:19 AM PDT CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Scientists excavating the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley found an open bulkhead at the rear of the sub, leading to another possible explanation for historic submarine's sinking. The Hunley foundered off Charleston in February 1864 after ramming explosives into the Union blockade ship Housatonic and becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy warship. Immediately following the attack, the Hunley signaled to shore with a blue lantern, according to both Union and Confederate accounts. "That at least leads me to conclude that the Hunley had circumstances under control and something more than likely happened after that," said State Sen. Glenn McConnell, the chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission. The new theory, after the discovery of the 10-inch opening at the top of the bulkhead, is that water from the ballast tank _ which holds water to keep the vessel buoyant -- rushed through the open bulkhead and flooded the inside of the submarine when it was shaken during battle. "It does present the possibility that if the boat is rocked significantly, water could have come out of the flood tank into the crew compartment," McConnell said. When the Hunley sank, Union lookouts reported it was last seen about five ship-lengths in front of the USS Canandaigua, which rushed to the Housatonic's rescue. That ship might have grazed the Hunley. Or the Hunley might have been rocked by the concussion when the hot boiler of the sinking Housatonic contacted the cold ocean water, McConnell said. Another theory is that the glass in the front conning tower shattered during battle, allowing water to flood in. The Hunley was raised last year and brought to a conservation center at the old Charleston Naval Base. Scientists began removing sediment, remains of the nine-man crew and artifacts earlier this year. Scientists also have excavated the silt that's collected beneath the tower, but it may be a week or two before they can analyze the material. ___ On the Net: [url]http://www.hunley.org[/url] Copyright 2001 Associated Press
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