July First Friday Social - The Submarine H.L. Hunley
Convergence of Valor:
The Men of
the H. L. Hunley
Members of the Custom House Maritime Museum and their guests are cordially invited to our First Friday Social on July 5th from 6:00-8:00pm, to meet Guntis Goncarovs, author of the historical novel, Convergence of Valor: The Men of the H. L. Hunley. Mr. Goncarovs will provide an insightful and dramatic addition to our Civil War exhibition, Conflicting Stories.
H.L. Hunley was a Confederate submersible and the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime. She was a fascinating piece of engineering. Privately built in 1863 in Mobile, Alabama, Hunley was fashioned from a cylindrical iron steam boiler and designed to be hand powered by a crew of eight: six on the articulated crankshaft, with the Captain at the front conning tower, and the First Officer at the rear conning tower, being also responsible for gearing between the shaft and the propeller..
On February 17, 1864, the Confederate submarine made a daring late night attack on USS Housatonic, a 1,240-ton sloop-of-war with 16 guns, in Charleston Harbor off the coast of South Carolina. H.L. Hunley armed with a spar torpedo packed with explosive powder and attached to a long pole on its bow, rammed Housatonic. The spar torpedo embedded in the Federal sloop's wooden side and was detonated by a rope as Hunley backed away. (There is evidence the torpedo might have been electrically detonated, or in combination -perhaps failsafe- with the cord detonator.) The resulting explosion sent Housatonic with five crew members to the bottom of Charleston Harbor.
However, H.L. Hunley never returned from this mission, and was presumed lost with all hands. Her fate remained a mystery until May 1995, when a search located her wreck. Raised after careful preparation in 2000, the H.L. Hunley was taken to a conservation facility at the former Charleston Naval Base where she is the subject of a careful preservation effort.
Mr. Goncarovs' work of historical fiction immerses us into a dramatic void of history. Through careful research he advances a compelling narrative of what it was like to be a member of the crew on that risky mission, carefully unfolding the mystery surrounding the H. L. Hunley and its ill-fated crew.
We encourage all our members to invite a guest to this event to introduce them to the Custom House Maritime Museum and treat them to an evening of conversation, company and maritime discovery in the heart of downtown Newburyport.
For your refreshment, wine, beer and soft drinks will be served -- including thematic hors d'oeurves from the Malaysian state of Penang, our July port-of-call for Sheila Mullins' incredibly creative and delicious Spice Trade Culinary Adventure!
We proudly feature the great and distinctive beers of Harpoon Brewery, the official beer of the Custom House Maritime Museum!
PROUDLY SPONSORED BY