During a very short visit to Charleston, SC, I happened upon this interesting object. As the sign makes clear, this isn’t an accurate image of the famous Civil War submarine—famous, that is to lots of people who aren’t me. I had never heard of the H.L. Hunley—the Civil War is not my favorite historical era—but Nerdy History Girl took over, and I commenced sleuthing.
In February 1864, the Hunley sank a Union ship, the USS Housatonic. This, the first successful submarine attack, turned out not to be a major turning point in the war: The Hunley sank, too, shortly thereafter, losing all eight of its men, while the Union ship lost only five of its entire crew. Still this was definitely a major development in naval warfare.
Along with being amazed that eight men could fit into this thing and turn cranks to make it go, I was particularly interested, as a Nerdy History Girl, in the difference between what the Hunley was believed to look like, as of info available in 1967, and what it did look like, once it was recovered and uncovered.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.