The H.L. Hunley was one of the first submarines used in American war, created by the Confederate Army in Charleston, South Carolina. It was designed to sneak up on an enemy ship and stab a torpedo into its hull. The crew would then back the craft away and detonate the torpedo using a rope.
The Hunley sank twice in training exercises, killing one crew of five and another of eight. After each failure, it was raised from the bottom and adjustments were made.
Eventually, the Confederates succeeded, kind of. A third crew managed to sneak up on a Union Blockade ship outside of Charleston Harbor and detonate the torpedo, sinking the Union ship. The problem was the Hunley was too close to the torpedo when the crew set off the bomb, and they sank their own submarine. Another eight-man crew died.
The Hunley was raised off the bottom in 2000 and now sits in a museum in Charleston:
Speaking of museums and torpedoes…
Yesterday afternoon, I published a post about the budgetary politics surrounding the North Carolina Civil War History Center in Fayetteville.
In light of Senator Ben Clark (D-Cumberland/Hoke) voting for the Republican-drafted, Senate budget that did not include funding for the Civil War museum, I wrote the following:
If this is going to get done, someone from the Cumberland County delegation is going to have to use political capital to make it happen. Either (Representative John) Szoka has enough swing within his own party to get the museum funded, or some Democratic legislator from Cumberland will agree to override Cooper’s veto if the money’s included. Senator Clark has already used up his capital by voting for a budget that didn’t include the funds for the museum, so look elsewhere.
It was apparent to me that Clark was not going to go out on a limb in support of the museum. What I didn’t expect was that he would try to torpedo the project a few hours later:
Clark gave an interview with the Fayetteville Observer calling into question the financial validity of the project. He argued that the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County did not have to give $7.5 Million (each) in promised funds to the project because the museum had failed to reach benchmark fundraising goals from private and state sources.
When you combine Clark’s comments with Mayor Colvin’s recent criticism of the use of state funds for the museum, it is apparent there may be an effort in the community to sink the project.
This was not unexpected. You do not take an issue as politically charged as the Civil War, combine it with millions of tax dollars, and expect smooth sailing. It’s difficult to get state and local government officials on the same page for any project.
So I want to know what you think. In light of these developments, here’s some polling. Please vote. It’s anonymous.