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Re: Hunley Revisited

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  • Carl Williams
    I finally got to see the Hunley TV program. Worth seeing; they did have some of the latest developments and talked to the archaeologists involved. I wouldnt
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 17 7:16 AM
      I finally got to see the Hunley TV program. Worth seeing; they did
      have some of the latest developments and talked to the archaeologists
      involved.

      I wouldnt call it a comprehensive investigation. They wasted some time
      on some silly stuff with a modern mini-sub, for example. But they kept
      it interesting, which was their goal I guess. And they did show a lot
      of stuff correctly, such as exactly the manner in which the
      "Housatonic" was sunk.

      They sure left it hanging as far as any conclusions about "what
      happened to them" and suggested the scientists and historians just
      aren't sure either. Two current theories seem to be asphyxiation, or
      at least befuddlement, by CO2; and damage to the conning tower. The
      CO2 bit was explained well; it is just counter-intuitive to me that
      the concern is CO2 and not lack of oxygen. Nonetheless this show
      confirms that CO2, something they would have had little understanding
      of, must have played a big role in doing them in. What they may not
      have been prepared for was the extra CO2 that they were generating
      through hand-cranking the propellers, according to the program. This
      cut down the time they would have in submersion to a significant
      degree, according to an expert.

      The damage to the conning tower would seem to be in conflict with the
      idea of ultimate CO2 asphyxiation but could fit with the
      befuddlement-only theory. They may not have been able to keep water
      from coming in, of course. As Steve noted in a previous post, the
      small piece that was found was at the bottom of the sub and under all
      the sediment that had slowly filled it up. Clearly evidence that
      conning tower damage was a problem the night of the action.
      Additionally, Dixon's watch seems to have stopped almost immediately,
      and this should not have been caused by the explosion.

      Some other things that do not fit with "almost immediate disaster"
      theory but were not well covered by the program:

      *the signaling that was done by the blue light, seen by reb and yank
      alike, was mentioned. They did not say so, but this does not fit with
      any idea of panic, IMHO.

      *I had heard that stalactites had formed in the sub, and that this
      indicated the sub was full of air for years. This does not fit with
      the idea of the sub having any kind of leak in any upper area IMHO.
      The show did not mention the stalactites so maybe that was bad
      information. Or maybe there is another explanation somehow.

      *IIRC, the distance the wreck was from where the "Housatonic" wreck
      was was considerable, something like a mile. The sub could have
      drifted there while it was in an in-between state of buoyancy, sinking
      but not sunk yet. If this was the case, though, IMHO there would have
      been an attempt to get out of that sub. The men were found at their
      stations; if this meant they had decided to drown without a struggle
      that would be most remarkable indeed. Slow asphyxiation fits better.

      Well, maybe I can come up with another post or two, in the meantime
      bone up on it. I certainly have my own theories, while admitting I'm
      no expert. However I'll note that we came up with the CO2 theory here
      on our own a few thousand posts back, so there. It's not as easy to
      get information as it was. The Numa people arent putting out anything
      new, and information at friends of the Hunley is somewhat limited. But
      I'm finding some stuff.

      Carl
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