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Tower at Crecy Battlefield

February 23, 2017 with No Comments and Posted in Middle Ages by

This wooden structure overlooks a quiet field on the outskirts of the town of Crecy in France. However, on the 26th of August, 1346, this field was by no means quiet or peaceful, but the scene of one of the most iconic battles of the Hundred Years War. The English and French armies were encamped on this field, doggedly finished for the control of France. The English were vastly outnumbered by the French, and yet they routed their foes soundly, sending them fleeing from the field! Both sides believed that the outcome of the battle was dependent on one all-important fact… find out what it was in our video, “Why Did the English Win the Battle of Crecy”

A Royal Palace in North Carolina

December 3, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in News by

There’s a remnant of royal splendor left in costal North Carolina – Tryon Palace, a reconstruction of the palace built for the royal governor and finished in 1770. This was an expensive building for the colony, and many people were upset by the taxes that were raised to fund it. These tensions led to the War of the Regulation in 1770, and ultimately the American War for Independence. 

The People of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

October 28, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in News by

Although today, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an uninhabited wilderness, when the land was being purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, there were people who lived and worked in the area. Evidence of their presence can be found in bald mountains used to graze cattle, and cabins like this one, in Cades Cove. Some of the inhabitants lived in the park until the 1960s.

Crossing the Proclamation Line

October 12, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in News by

In 1763 the British set a line along the Appalacian Mountains, to the Wes of which was Indian territory into which no settlers would allowed to cross. This did not sit well with American frontiers men, and many illegally entered through mountain passes like this one. This was one of many grievances against the British, and many of those frontiersmen made great soldiers for the Patriot cause.

How Charles Pinckney Honored His Father

September 10, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in News, War for Independence by

If you visit the home of Charles Pinckney, you will find no monument commemorating his achievements as signer of the Constitution and governor of South Carolina. But in he peaceful grounds of his country estate you may find a stone he raised in tribute to his own father – also Charles Pinckney – three years after his death. On it, he inscribed the words of Thomas Gray, including the following:
What is grandeur, what is power?
Heavier toil, superior pain!
What the bright reward we gain?
The grateful mem’ry of the good.

Governor Aiken’s Bookcases 

September 10, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

Bookcases in the the library of Aiken, the 19th century governor of South Carolina.

The Horse Stables at the Aiken-Rhett House

September 9, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

The horse stables at the Aiken-Rhett House. Aiken was Governor of South Carolina and one of the richest men in the Civil War era south. His house was very ornate, and even the stables had sophisticated architecture. The fancy style even extended to the hay loft, where the walls were plastered. 

George Dixon’s Gold Coin

September 9, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

For many years there was a story told about Lt. George Dixon and a special gold coin… The story goes he carried a gold coin for luck in his pocket, which at Shiloh, protected him for getting seriously injured in the upper leg by a minie ball. This story was considered at best a legend, until in 2005, as archaeologists were removing the sediment from the submarine, this bent gold coin was discovered. It is engraved with four lines of script:
Shiloh, 1862, My Life Preserver, G. E. D.
The coin was one of the best preserved artifacts, because of the high quality gold. You can see it today at the Friends of the Hunley Museum. 

McLeod Plantation

September 9, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

This plantation is on James Island, very close to where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. The owner, William Wallace McLeod, survived the war, but died on his journey back home. His plantation was given to freed slaves by the Freedman’s Bureau, but Johnson repealed Sherman’s 40 acres and a mule act and eventually the rightful owners had the plantation restored to them. This house remained in the McLeod family until 1990 when it was donated to the Charleston Historical Societies.

Why did the H. L. Hunley Sink?

September 9, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

The big mystery of the Hunley, is why it sunk and how the crew died. They were all found in their positions, unlike the other two crews. There are many theories, here are the four main ones… 
Torpedo Theory
A fragment of copper was found attached to the end of the spar, could the torpedo have exploded while still attached? Objection: there is no evidence of shock impact on the submarine or the men.

Lucky Shot Theory

There was a missing glass plate in the hatch, probably made by a musket ball. The water might have come in and drowned the crew. Objection: there would have been plenty of time for the crew to escape through the other hatch, however this crew were all found sitting at their places, unlike the second crew.

Collision Theory
The submarine hit the ship, or another ship, and the submarine was damaged, allowing water to enter in. Objection: there is no evidence of impact or drowning.

Entrapment Theory
The men anchored the submarine waiting for the tide to go out, and died of asphyxiation. Maybe they got stuck on the bottom. Objection: there is no evidence of any unoperational equipment, neither did they release the emergency weights. Also, the men had decided that they didn’t want to die by asphyxiation but by drowning, but the valves to let in the water were not opened. 

So what do you think happened… What’s your vote? 

The H. L. Hunley

September 9, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

The third, and most sophisticated submarine that one group of Confederates built was named after one of the builders – H. L. Hunley. It was built in Mobile, AL and then shipped to Charleston in August 1863 to try to break the Union blockade of Charleston Harbor. It sank twice as it was being operated on training runs. The first time was when it was at anchor, and three of the eight crew escaped, but the rest drowned. It was hoisted up and recovered almost immediately. The second time it sank was when it was out on a training run in the harbor. The captain – Lt. Dixon happened to be away, so Hunley had taken command. All of the men died, 2 by asphyxiation, 6 by drowning. Dixon was involved in the recovering of the submarine and its crew, three weeks after its sinking. Despite the gruesome sights he must have witnessed, he was not deterred from retaining command and he raised another volunteer crew. He insisted that each man know exactly what had happened to the two previous crews. The mission of the Hunley was to attack the Union blockade ships, but they had to wait for one to be close enough for the manpowered submarine to make it out to the ship and back safely. Finally the USS Housatonic anchored only four miles from the Hunley’s hiding place. On February 17th, 1864, the little 7 ton submarine set out from its base to attack the 1,260 ton ship.
The crew of the Housatonic spotted the Hunley as it approached and fired at it with small arms. The Hunley pressed forward and fired its spar torpedo at the bow of the ship. As the ship was struck, the explosion was muffled – so much so that the other Union ships didn’t know it had been hit. The ship began sinking fast, but the crew climbed up into the rigging and then escaped in little boats to the other ships nearby. The crew of the submarine made a signal to the Confederates on Sullivan’s Island to get them to light a signal fire to lead the submarine to shore. The men on shore saw the signal, lit the fire, but the submarine never came back to shore. The submarine disappeared and along with it her 8 crew members. It wasn’t until 1995 that it was seen again.

The Pioneer

September 9, 2016 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War, News by

Today we are visiting the museum of the first submarine to ever sink a ship… The Hunley.
Horace Hunley was a business man who organized the building of three submarines for the Confederacy. The first of these, pictured here, was the Pioneer. They had to destroy it however, when
Admiral Farragut captured Mobile, AL in 1864, to keep it out of the hands of the Unions.