Friday, January 21, 2011

Blue If Successful: Hunley Light Replicas

From the Dec. 8, 2010, Pa. Republican & Herald.

This is the kind of Civil War story I really like to read as it involves young people getting a taste of the Civil War and hopefully turning them into our future buffs.

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has accepted a replica of a lantern that may have been used on the Confederate submarine Hunley when it sank the USS Housatonic in 1864. It is one of four made by 12 Hamburg Area High School, Pa., students. It will be placed in the Navy section.

The museum is also receiving signal flags from the CSS Virginia II and artifacts from the CSS Albemarle.

The Hunley sank Feb. 17, 1864, while returning from the attack. A Confederate soldier on shore reported seeing an agreed upon blue light signal likely from the submarine.

Students also recreated two working lanterns in their six month project accomplished with much research and after school hours. These two showed blue lights that could be seen 1,100 feet.

All of the remaining lanterns are being taken to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Chicago which is preserving the remains of the Hunley. One will be put on permanent display and the two working ones will be tested in the spring of 2012.

The Student's' Teacher is to Be Commended. --Old B-Runner

1 comment:

Blue Light Guy said...

The Hunley's blue light didn't come from a blue lantern! Reproducing a blue lantern only reinforces this modern myth, created by twentieth century authors who didn't realize the nineteenth century meaning of "blue light." In 1864, "blue light" meant a pyrotechnic flare, a firework, not an oil burning lantern with a blue glass lens. Period dictionaries, military manuals, scientific texts, literature, newspaper accounts, etc all confirm that "blue light" was a hand-held pyrotechnic signal. Modern authors erred when they imagined a blue lantern, and the myth has been with us, ever since. See research by Christopher Rucker, MD, which discounts the blue lantern myth. See also two YouTube videos which demonstrate the manufacture and use of blue light: "Burning Blue Light" and "Making Civil-War Era Blue Light."