The many fascinating characters and events surrounding the history of the first successful military submarine is presented in this story of the CSS H. L. Hunley
THE HUNLEY by Mark K. Ragan
During the fall and winter of 1863-1864, a small iron submarine prowled the waters outside Charleston Harbor. Operating at night with only a single candle to illuminate its crude depth gauge and compass, it was not uncommon for this hand-cranked submarine to venture six or seven miles out to sea in search of an enemy warship. On the night of February 17, 1864, the Confederate torpedo boat H. L. Hunley became the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. It was a feat that would not be repeated until World War I, over fifty years later.
After more than a decade of research at the National Archives and other repositories in the South and Mid Atlantic, Mark Ragan has put together an exhaustive work on the CSS H. L. Hunley. The narrative begins in the small machine shop in Mobile, Alabama, where the Hunley was conceived. The last chapter includes a detailed account of the recovery and excavation of the vessel, which happened since the original publication, and in which Ragan participated. Raganís personal accounts of his research and related activity enhance the overall reading experience. It ends with the vessel's recovery from her century-old gravesite on the ocean floor and the return to land of her final crew.
This volume contains photographs and documents gathered from private and public archives around the United States and brings the reader up to date on the history of the vessel, as it has evolved since the publication of Mark Ragan's first book in 1995, The Hunley: Submarines, Sacrifice, & Success in the Civil War. The new work adds an index and includes expanded endnotes, increasing its value as reference tool.
November 2006, 362 pages. Softcover $39.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-87844-177-8, ISBN 10: 0-87844-177-8
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Mark K. Ragan
In 1995, after years of research in private and public archives, scouring thousands of old documents, and searching the waters around Charleston Harbor with fellow divers, Mark K. Ragan published his first book on the Hunley entitled The Hunley, Submarines, Sacrifice & Success in the Civil War. Since then he has dived with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology investigating the wreck of the Housatonic, joined with Hunley project's underwater archeologists in raising the history-making vessel, and is now involved in the United States Navy's search for the USS Alligator, a fifty-foot sub lost off the North Carolina coast in 1863 while being towed to Charleston.
Ragan has a BS in both archeology/anthropology and information systems management. He owns Chesapeake Submarine Services, Inc., where he instructs others in piloting submarines. He is also the author of Union and Confederate Submarine Warfare in the Civil War, and Submarine Warfare in the Civil War.
In his first publication on the Hunley, Ragan brought to the public's attention the story of the twenty-dollar gold piece, which reputedly saved Lieutenant Dixon's life at the battle of Shiloh, and introduced Miss Queenie Bennett, Dixon's Alabama sweetheart. The fabled coin was recovered from the Hunley's interior during excavation.
Ragan served as consultant to the writers and director of the TNT's movie The Hunley and has appeared in numerous documentaries including the History Channels new series Digging for the Truth. He served as Hunley project historian during the recovery and excavation of this history-making Civil War submarine.
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