*********************** HUNLEY UPDATE *************************
CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 8:
Scientists studying the remains of the crew from an excavated Civil War-era submarine say they are getting a clearer picture of the men who died when the world’s first successful attack sub mysteriously sank. One mystery has been solved - there was no Connecticut Yankee aboard.
The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, built to break through a Union blockade of Charleston Harbor, disappeared on Feb. 17, 1864, shortly after sinking the USS Housatonic. It was lost until 1995, when a dive team paid for by adventure novelist Clive Cussler discovered it 4 miles (7 kilometers) off Sullivan’s Island, S.C.
The vessel was raised in August 2000 and excavated in 2001. Forensic anthropologists and genealogists have been studying the remains of the eight crew members for months.
BIOGRAPHIES IN THE BONES
The forensics study of these men will write their biographies, said Dr. Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. "I am surprised by how tall they were."
The captain of the 43-foot (13-meter) sub, Lt. George Dixon, was 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall, and the others were also much taller than the scientists had expected. The men ranged in age from 18 or 20 to their early 40s, were all white, and suffered back problems and torn rotator cuffs from cranking the sub’s propeller. While many riddles remained, including some strange red staining on a few of the bones, one puzzle scientists seem to have cleared up, at least partially, was that surrounding Ezra Chamberlin, a Connecticut Yankee in the Union Army whose identification medallion was found on one of the crew members. THEORIES RULED OUT
War records indicate Chamberlin died in a battle outside Charleston a month before the Hunley arrived here. But when the medallion was found around the neck of the Hunley’s first officer, other theories sprang up.
Some said Chamberlin was a defector, others speculated he was a spy, or even a prisoner of war forced to sail on the Hunley. At the time, scientists cautioned that the medallion may have been a souvenir picked up on a battlefield. An identification medallion for a Union soldier named Ezra Chamberlin was found within the sunken Confederate sub H. L. Hunley.
Owsley, speaking at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, said the man wearing the medallion was between 30 and 34 years old. Union war records indicate Chamberlin would have been about 24, putting rest to the idea that he was on board the submarine.
Owsley and a team of scientists have spent the last week assembling the bones recovered from the sub in skeletal form. The anthropologists will return in May to start a detailed study of the remains.
Linda Abrams, a genealogist, has been trying to track down the history of the crew members. She said scientists found that one of the crewmen, James Wicks of North Carolina, served in the Union Navy before becoming a Confederate sailor.
Abrams said she had found descendants from possibly two crewmen, but still had not been able to find even the first names of some of the crew. (The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.)
************************* KILL CAVALRY ************************
Hugh Judson Kilpatrick of New Jersey attended West Point four- teen years after Grant. Never having liked his first, baptismal name, which he considered effeminate, he casually introduced himself as Judson when his enrollment was being processed.
Busy with stacks of paperwork, the admissions clerks didn't bother to check the document attesting to the appointment of a farmer's son from Deckertown. With that annoying first name out of the way, Judson Kilpatrick graduated on May 6, 1861, and pinned on the insignia of a second lieutenant of artillery. Three days later he accepted a promotion to the rank of captain and was transferred from the U.S. Army to the Fifth New York Infantry.
In September, Kilpatrick was transferred again, this time to the Second New York Cavalry, and received another promotion. As a brigadier general, he led mounted men in every important action within the eastern theater of the war. Once having feared that he'd be called a sissy, Kilpatrick drove his men and horses so furiously that he came to be known as "Kill Cavalry."
************* BEFORE THERE WAS DIGITAL IMAGING ***************
Alfred R. Waud, a native of England, is believed to have drawn more Civil War sketches than any other artist during the war. In 1862 he moved from the "New York Illustrated News" to "Harper's Weekly," whose readers quickly came to look for his signature. Waud followed the Army of the Potomac in all its major campaigns and often sent to New York sketches of everyday events in the lives of soldiers.
At an unidentified field hospital the artist saw surgeons at work, using the stump of a big tree as an operating table. A man whose right leg had just been amputated was being taken away on a stretcher.
Editors frequently lauded Waud for the accuracy of his work. This time, however, they considered him to have been too meticulous. Readers would be appalled at the horrors of war if his surgical sketch should be published as he submitted it, the management decided.
Unwilling to discard a vivid illustration, staff artists were told to turn the wounded man around so that the stump of his leg wouldn't be seen. It was this revised version that was published for wartime viewing. Yet the original piece of art, with the bandaged stump of a leg clearly visible, eventually found a home. It is preserved in the Library of Congress.
********************* GRANT HOME SAVED ************************
Thanks to the Atlanta Preservation Center, one of the city's few antebellum structures will be saved and restored. The remains of the Lemuel Grant home were recently purchased with the objective of rebuilding the house as a headquarters for the preservation organization. Grant was a key Atlanta figure during the Civil War, and the house itself has an interesting history (featured most recently in a 26 December 2001 article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution).
Lemuel Grant was a native of Maine and worked on railroads in Pennsylvania before being hired by the Georgia Railroad in 1840. In an article in the summer 1980 Atlanta Historical Journal, John Robert Smith wrote, "more perhaps than any other person, Lemuel Grant sparked the development of the very rail system by which the City of Atlanta was launched into greatness."
During the Civil War, Grant was chief engineer for the Georgia Militia, achieving the rank of colonel. He planned and oversaw construction of Atlanta's fortifications by slave labor in 1863 and 1864. Impressed by the strength of the defenses, Sherman chose not to assault them but to subdue Atlanta's defenders by cutting the city's rail lines.
Grant amassed considerable land holdings on the south side of the city and built his Italianate mansion at 327 Saint Paul Avenue in 1858. After the Civil War, he sold some of his land below market value so Atlanta could have a public hospital (the site of the current Grady Hospital). He later donated the acreage southeast of his house for the public park that bears his name.
After Grant's wife died in 1879, he remarried and built a new house; and the mansion passed through several owners. In 1902, golfing great Bobby Jones was born there. In 1941, Margaret Mitchell joined with newspaperman Boyd Taylor to purchase what historian Franklin Garrett called "Atlanta's most significant and endangered house." Mitchell hoped to make the house a museum, but Taylor's management of the property caused her to unsuccessfully sue him. Until his death in 1981, Taylor lived like a hermit in the basement of the house, which gradually fell to pieces: The roof was destroyed by fire, upper floors collapsed, porches were torn down, and water and power were cut off for non-payment. Taylor surrounded the house with a high fence and guard dogs. Subsequent owners didn't do much to restore the property.
The Atlanta Preservation Center paid $130,000 for the house and plans a capital campaign next year to cover a $500,000 restoration and a $125,000 endowment.
Please read a rebuttal of this article by Arty G. Schronce, Director of Public Affairs, Georgia Department of Agriculture.