Friday, June 15, 2007
Our niece was going to college in Charleston and our dear friend, Bill, was attending The Citadel. I went for the week and Stan came for the weekend. We stayed with Jenny and we took them both out to eat.
We went out to Patriot's Point to see the re-enactors and the artillery demonstrations. While we were there the local news interviewed Jenny and Bill.
Information from Wikipedia:
The H. L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States Navy that demonstrated both the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare. The Hunley was the first submarine to sink a warship, though the sub was also lost following the engagement. The Confederate Armed forces lost 32 men in the H. L. Hunley's 4 sinkings. Though some know the submarine by the name CSS H. L. Hunley, she was not commissioned and therefore does not warrant the "CSS" prefix.
The Hunley made her first attack against a live target on the night of February 17, 1864. The vessel was the USS Housatonic. Housatonic, an 1800-ton, steam-powered sloop-of-war with 12 large cannon, stationed at the entrance to Charleston, South Carolina harbor, about 5 miles (8 km) out to sea. In an effort to break the naval blockade of the city, Lieutenant George E. Dixon and a crew of seven volunteers attacked Housatonic, successfully embedding the barbed spar torpedo into her hull. The torpedo was detonated as the submarine backed away, sending Housatonic and five of her crew to the bottom of Charleston harbor in five minutes, although many survived in 2 lifeboats or by climbing rigging until rescued. Hunley also sank, moments after signaling shore of the successful attack, possibly from damage caused by the torpedo blast, though this is not certain. There is convincing evidence that Hunley actually survived as long as an hour after the attack (which took place at approximately 8:45 PM).
Archaeological investigation and excavation culminated with the raising of Hunley on August 8, 2000. On 17 April 2004 the remains of the crew of the H. L. Hunley were interred in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery with full military honors. A crowd estimated at between 35,000 and 50,000, including 10,000 period military and civilian reenactors, were present for what some called the 'Last Confederate Funeral.'
Stan and I were there for the the Last Confederate Funeral in 2004. These are photos that I took. Some of the re-enactors went so far as to spend the weekend in tents on Patriot's Point and "live the life" by cooking over a fire. There were cannon demonstrations there.
Civilian re-enactors had all the details. Even whole families were dressed for the time period. These two had just gotten off the bus in the background.
Remember, you can click on a photo to enlarge it.
This little boy was dancing a jig to some musicians who had joined together to play period music. I think it was spontaneous. It was really neat and the boy was enjoying it!
A lot of the ladies were dressed in black or dark colors such as purple and lavendar to represent mourning. Others wore they finery. The dresses were so beautiful! I wish I could sew my own costumes like that! A lot carried reticules, parasols, baskets, carpet bags and wore the bonnets and hats of the day. Some had shawls. The men were dressed up too. I felt for all of them considering it was a hot, humid day in April. We were hot in shorts and t-shirts. I felt they had to be steaming with those high collars, long sleeves, long skirts, petticoats, etc. The re-enactor soldier wore wool uniforms in many instances.
As the civilian re-enactors gathered in The Battery park, the soldier re-enactors began to line up along the road that goes around The Battery. They lined up in their groups just like soldiers in corps. There was a lot of visiting, networking, learning, getting to know each other, making of new friends going on too.
After the ceremony at the point of The Battery, the parade starts to Magnolia Cemetery. The horse driven caissons brought the caskets and dignitaries were behind them. The soldier re-enactors followed and civilian re-enactors and groups of SCV's (Sons of Confederate Veterans) and UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy) from all over the world also marched. The general public could follow at the tail. It was too hot and too long a walk for me although I know Stan would have done it. We saw our friend, Mark, in the line of SCV groups and Stan would have joined him except for me.
It was the largest gathering of re-enactors EVER!
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