Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Secrets of a Civil War Submarine

Carolhoda Books, Inc, 2005
112 pages
4 out of 5

For more than one hundred years, a submarine lay buried beneath the ocean floor near Charleston, South Carolina.  This Civil War stealth weapon--the H. L. Hunley--made history in 1864 as the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship.  But something went wrong during that daring mission.  The Hunley never returned to port.

Despite decades of searching, the Hunley remained unfound, hidden by murky water and layers of mud.  In 1995 her story took a startling turn.  As she had during the Civil War, the Hunley once again made newspaper headlines.  How the submarine came to be on the ocean floor, how she came to leave it, and what happened next make up one of the most compelling stories in the history of archaeology and the history of the Civil War--an amazing tale of bravery, mystery, bones, and gold.

 This book focuses on the H.L. Hunley and its role in the Civil war.  The Hunley was tapped for the mission of breaking the Union Blockade in Charleston Harbor.  Although the submarine was cutting edge technology of the day, accidents plagued the submarine.  During tests of the Hunley in Mobil Bay, she sank twice killing her crew.  Even so, she was resurrected and returned to active duty.  Her final mission was a success, but the Hunley was not seen again for over a hundred years.

 One of my favorite elements of this book is that is inclused a forensic chapter on the crew.  Using many of the forensic techniques employed by law enforcement, the team working on the Hunley was able to identify each crew member.  They took it further, however, and used the skulls to create replicas of the men's faces.  It's amazing to see the final crew of the Hunley.

This book is great for history buffs, submarine enthusiasts or anyone interested in archaeology.  It details the raising of the Hunley, the excavation process, and the mystery surrounding her sinking.This book is divided into two sections: the building of the Hunley and the events of the 1860s and the events following the Hunley's successful mission and subsequent disappearance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.