Hunley Remains to Receive Historic Burial; Confederate Submarine Which Sank in 1864 with Eight aboard, Was Recovered in 2000

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, The Times-Union

They sailed on Feb. 17, 1864, eight men crammed into a 40-foot long iron tube that went into the history books as the first submarine to sink a ship.

Then they disappeared.

Now, 140 years after the CSS H.L. Hunley sank off Charleston, S.C., its crew will be buried today in that city with full military honors, the funeral procession filled with an estimated 30,000 or more Civil War soldier and citizen re-enactors taking part in what is one of the largest historical re-creations ever. And among them will be about 60 re-enactors from the Jacksonville area.

By day a Southside businessman, Bill Danforth will be uniformed as a major in a Confederate infantry battalion, with heavy gray wool pants and jacket over a cotton shirt, black armband and white gloves. Normally, he and his fellow re-enactors take part in historic battle demonstrations such as Olustee. But this is different.

"This is probably the last time we can pay our respects for someone who fought for their country at the time, be it right, wrong or indifferent, we don't judge that," Danforth said. "It is a mixture of excitement, awe and reflection on the sacrifice these men made. It is exciting in the respect that we will be part of something that will never happen again, but we want to be respectful."

Westside resident Sue Bonifa will play the part of a Civil War-era resident of Charleston as it was in 1864, under Union blockade and bombardment. She will wear what she called "my best day dress" of deep green with bonnet and gloves, taking part in the real thing instead of demonstrating history.

"I am in absolute awe. …


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