A free exhibit featuring an important piece of Civil War history is coming to Aiken and Edgefield counties later this month.
A full-size iron replica of the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, will be on display at three locations in this area.
Built by John Dangerfield, the model is approximately 65 feet long and four feet wide.
“There will be individuals traveling with the exhibit who will be able to explain the vessel's history and functions,” said Barbara Walker, library manager for the Nancy Carson Library in North Augusta, in a press release about the replica's local appearances.
On Sept. 26, the exhibit will be in the city of Edgefield in the parking lot next to Piedmont Technical College on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Sept. 27, it will be in North Augusta at the Nancy Carson Library, which is located at 135 Edgefield Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On Sept. 28, it will be in Aiken at the Aiken County Historical Museum, which is located at 433 Newberry St. S.W., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In conjunction with the exhibit's tour, Dianne Brady will speak on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Nancy Carson Library. The subject of her talk will be “The Hunley, the Mystery of Its History.”
Brady co-wrote the book “Why the Wind Blows” with David Stallworth. The Hunley's story is part of the book.
Sponsors of the Hunley replica exhibit include the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, Friends of the Nancy Carson Library Foundation, the Berry Benson Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Heritage Council of North Augusta and the Aiken County Historical Museum. Another sponsor is The Humanities Council S.C., which provided a grant for the Hunley replica to be exhibited.
In February 1864, the Hunley attacked the USS Housatonic, a sloop-of-war with 16 guns, late at night in Charleston Harbor. The Hunley rammed the Housatonic with a bomb that was attached to a long pole on its bow. A rope was used to detonate the bomb. The resulting explosion sank the Housatonic, and sent the Hunley with its crew of eight to the bottom of ocean, where all crew members died.
The Hunley was recovered from its watery grave in 2000. The actual Hunley is located in a museum in Charleston.
Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard.