Yankees in the Limelight [at Port Hudson]
- I have no idea if anyone is interested in this, but I have been trying
to find out what technology was used to illuminate Farragut's fleet as
he tried to pass Port Hudson in the night in March 1863. Supposedly
this was adapted from Locomotive headlights.
-So far, the best I can come up with is the fact that it was known
early in the 1800's that jets of burning gases could be directed
towards a block of lime to create a brilliant light; the lime became
white-hot from the technique. The expression "in the limelight" comes
from theatrical use of this. I can't find a confirmation that this in
fact was used for locomotives.
-Lighthouses experimented such things as oil lamps and different
wicks, some combinations of which produced brighter lights.
Lighthouses were looking to have lower maintenance, however, and
didn't seem to use the lime.
-My best guess so far is that Secesh searchlights there at Port Hudson
were some modification of the limelight technique.