We've discussed the Confederate submarine Hunley in the past, and its numismatic highlight, commander Lt. George Dixon's engraved $20 gold piece. Dick Hanscom forwarded this Associated Press story about the 150th anniversary of the Feb. 17, 1864, mission in which the Hunley sank the Union ship Housatonic. The article appears on many web sites. Dick discovered it at London's Daily Mail. The Mail tarts up their articles with lots of images, so check out their version online.
On a clear, moonlight night 150 years ago, the hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley glided out over glassy seas off South Carolina, sailing into history as the first submarine ever to sink an enemy warship.
A century and a half later - and nearly a decade and a half after the sub was raised - just why the Hunley and its eight-man crew never returned is a mystery, albeit one that scientists may be closer to resolving.
Monday marked the 150th anniversary of the Feb. 17, 1864, mission in which the Hunley sank the Union ship Housatonic as the Confederates desperately tried to break the Civil War blockade that was strangling Charleston. While the Housatonic sank, so too did the Hunley.
On Monday evening, re-enactors planned a gathering at Breach Inlet between Sullivans Island and the Isle of Palms northeast of Charleston for a memorial service honoring both the Hunley crew and the five Union sailors who died.
Among the first artifacts recovered from the silt and sand clogging the inside of the submarine were buttons from the crewmen's uniforms.
Later came one of the most sought-after artifacts of the Hunley legend - a gold coin that had deflected a bullet and thus saved the life of Hunley commander Lt. George Dixon at the Battle of Shiloh.
The $20 United States gold piece was given to Dixon by his sweetheart, Queenie Bennett. The words 'Shiloh April 6, 1862 My life Preserver' are inscribed on the coin.
I've added an image of Dixon's coin, which is on display with the wreck of the Hunley near Charleston, SC.
To read the complete article, see:
Memorial service held to commemorate Confederate submarine that sank 150 years ago just as it destroyed a Union warship
Wayne Homren, Editor
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