Having often read what purported to be a history of the Confederate
submarine torpedo-boat Hunley
and its operations, the accounts in every instance containing much of error, I have decided to write out the facts in regard to this boat and her career.
Shortly before the capture of New Orleans by the United States troops, Captain Hunley
), Captain James McClintock
and Baxter Watson
were engaged in building a submarine torpedo-boat in the New
basin of that city.
The city falling into the hands of the Federals
before it was completed, the boat was sunk, and these gentlemen came to Mobile
They reported, with their plans, to the Confederate
authorities here, who ordered the boat to be built in the machine shops of Parks
, Mobile, Ala.
The writer was a member of Company B, State Artillery, Twenty-first Alabama Regiment, Captain Charles Gage
, and was detailed to do government work in these shops.
were introduced to me by Parks
, who gave me orders to carry out their plans as far as possible.
We built an iron boat.
The cross section was oblong, about 25 feet long, tapering at each end, 5 feet wide, and 6 feet deep.
It was towed off fort Morgan
, intending to man it there and attack the blockading fleet outside, but the weather was rough, and with a heavy sea the boat became unmanageable and finally sank, but no lives were lost.
We decided to build another boat, and for this purpose took a cylinder boiler which we had on hand, 48 inches in diameter and 25 feet long (all dimensions are from memory). We cut this boiler in two, longitudinally, and inserted two 12-inch boiler-iron strips in her sides; lengthened her by one tapering course fore and aft, to which were attached bow and stern castings, making the boat about 30 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 5 feet deep.
A longitudinal strip 12 inches wide was riveted the full length on top. At each end a bulkhead was riveted across to form water-ballast tanks (unfortunately these were left open on top); they were used in raising and sinking the boat.
In addition to these water tanks the boat was ballasted by flat castings, made to fit the outside bottom of the shell and fastened thereto by ‘Tee’ headed bolts passing through stuffing boxes inside the boat, the inside end of bolt squared to fit a wrench,