I’m not a big fan of revisionist history, but sometimes things change not because the social standards of today change but because new facts come to light.
Over the decades, the story of the Confederate submarine Hunley sinking a Union blockade ship with a spar-mounted torpedo.
Scientists discovered a piece of the Hunley’s torpedo that was still attached to the spar. It was a piece of the copper torpedo shell peeled backwards. Conservators discovered when restoring the 20-foot-long spar.
This piece of historical evidence contradicts eyewitness accounts that the Hunley had been about 100 feet away from the explosion that sunk the Union ship in 1864. The finding of the torpedo piece suggests that the Hunley was more likely less than 20 feet away from the explosion.
“The torpedo was bolted to the spar, contradicting the conventional wisdom that the torpedo was planted in the side of the Housatonic with a barb like a fishing hook, slipped off the spar and then detonated by rope trigger when the sub was a safe distance away,” according to an article in the Charleston Post and Courier.
It’s now believed that the explosion’s shock waves could have buckled the Hunley’s plating, allowing the water in that sunk the submarine.
Here’s a link to the article in the Post and Courier. It will be interesting to see how this discovery changes the history books about the Hunley and it’s role in the Civil War.