Skip to main content

tv   Alexandrias Fort Ward  CSPAN  June 10, 2017 10:45am-11:01am EDT

10:45 am
this gives our visitors a great picture of what the interior of a civil war fort would have looked like. you would've had gun platforms with the various canons and guns located on them, in the northwest bastion, we are looking at replicas of the types of guns that would have been stored here during the civil war, so you can see these three 4.5 inch guns, also a couple of examples of 24 howitzers, and a six pounder here to the right of me. youeen the gun platforms, will see ledges, and these ledges are called ben caps -- van caps. this is where infantry or armed artillery trained in these tactics would have stood during battle situations to fire over the fort wall.
10:46 am
so on an average day patrolling, doing guard duty. we are standing on a ledge overlooking the reconstructed northwest bastian of fort ward, and you can get a bit of a sense of how high up we are. all of these forts were built on high point of land, -- points of land, for better visibility and maximum firing range. if they were attacked or marched upon, and here this bastion faced out toward leesburg turnpike, present day route seven, and even though we cannot see route seven from here, it is only about one mile away. we have trees and highway buildings today, but during the around fortse land like fort ward was completely cleared of trees for maximum visibility and field of fire.
10:47 am
so from here you could have actually seen all the way down to bailey's crossroads during the civil war. so several miles down the leesburg turnpike. a major access route to alexandria, and one that stretched all the way to the shenandoah valley. we are actually standing in the area where the military support buildings were located during the civil war, right back behind gateort, near the entrance to the fort. we are standing specifically in front of a reconstruction of a small officer's quarters, or officer's hut, typical of the type of shelter that would have been built for officers stationed in the defenses of washington. we have this little quarters furnished inside to give some idea of what an officer's daily been like.have when you look at some of the contents, you will see that they have been functionalized to look like some of his daily
10:48 am
activities and some of his work activities as well. think it is also important to note that out of all these forts, this extensive defense system, very few of them still exist. due of them were destroyed to development that hadn't croce on the washington area during the 20th century -- had on the washington area during the 20th century, so it is fortunate that we have fort ward. this summary and is the first submarine to -- submarine is the first summary into sync an enemy to sink anubmarine enemy vessel in combat. it was not the first one built, but the first one to do something. .ubmarine technology could work it was built in alabama, brought to charleston in 1863, and after
10:49 am
a number of months of training and preparation, they went out and made an attack february 17, 1864. they went out at night, and the target was one of the warships blockading charleston, which was under siege at the time and being strangled by land and by sea. , theyas one of the ships picked one blockading the harbor. they made their attack, solidifying the place in history, and it never returned back to the dock. so it became a mystery. for 136 years, nobody knew where it was. in 1995, it was discovered, and then begin the process and then begin the process in preparation leading to the recovery in the year 2000, which involve preparing the building and getting the conservation facility outfitted, and getting the experts in here and the people who could do a good job
10:50 am
and not only recover it, but follow-up on the subsequent arcing -- ecological investigation and restoration archaeological investigation and restoration treatment. there was a crew of eight on board this submarine, and the captain we knew beforehand, was george e dixon. he was in charge of navigating ,he submarine, steering the sub directing it towards its target. the other members of the crew primarily power the summary. it had a hand crank, and each crewman would turn at his station, and that would turn the propellers. that is how they powered the submarine. it was a very simple device, designed to be practical and accomplish its task. that was to attack. this method of attack, it had a small -- mounted on lower
10:51 am
portions of the bow, and on the end of that was an explosive device. it was called a torpedo, but it was basically a bomb. they were trying to impact these ships with an explosive device, and then back away and returned the to shore, ideally that next night they could get another bomb and sink another ship. but this disappeared. it was a mystery for so many years. froms discovered 1000 feet the ship at saint, which was still offshore, and starting with the recovery operation, its location, what doesn't the -- 1000 feet from that ship, knowing what we know about it, bringing it back to the lab, and our staff beginning a detailed investigation of the summary with one of the primary goals being to determine what happened that night in 1864.
10:52 am
we recovered the submarine in the year 2000, 2001 was the interior excavation. gallons buckets of mud, lots of material, the summary was full of mud, which was excellent for us and archaeologists. it signaled that we would have some great preservation, and we did. so looking at these artifacts, including human remains, and the associated artifacts and trying to put those in the context of how this happened, how the crew died, for example, and looking at other clues we find from the investigation of the artifact combined with the information that we get from studying the will hopefully point us to a conclusion as to what happened that night. the crew was a fascinating part of the story of the huntley. if you look at the submarine, again, three .5 feet wide, four wide,all, -- 3.5 feet
10:53 am
four feet tall, it was a narrow tube, and going out there, four hours out there, four hours back, and knowing that if anything goes wrong it is certain death. the first two cruz died in training in charleston. so the third crew, they knew everybody else who had worked on this summer's double -- submersible, the submarine, had died, and they were still willing to join the third crew and try and do something. the third crew were from all different parts of the south and possibly the north, depending, or several were possibly born in europe. tore was not a common thread tie these guys together except for volunteering. the plan was to bury the crew of the huntley in 2004, to lay them to rest. as part of the work leading up
10:54 am
to that, we wanted to give a face associated with the names we had come up with. the identities of the crew we knew, we knew information about the artifacts associated with them, but we want to see what they look like. so all eight of the crewman had casts of their skulls used to make facial reconstructions, and that is what we see here. in 2004, presented to the public before they were buried, that was in april, 2004. this would have been a proper place to take care of it, you have to have a lab. you cannot pull an artifact out of the ocean and put it on the docks, it will start to fall apart. what happens to artifacts that have been in a marine environment for extended periods of time, they absorb chloride in
10:55 am
the seawater. this dry out, the salt will crystallize and destroy the object from the inside out. one of the primary tasks in dealing with marine artifacts is removing the chloride, which is why 10 years on, the submarine is still in a tank of water. this leads into what is going on behind me. beginning last week, we began a rotation of the submarine. it was found 45 greece to star board -- degrees to star board. it was recovered and stored in the same position. archaeologically, we did not want to do disturb the submarine. it is an artifact, but also a site, and we wanted to lift the whole site off the seafloor and bring it into our lap to study, which is what we have done for the past 10 years. it has been sitting in planks that have cradled it from underneath, handing -- hanging from a supporting truck. it was an excellent way to hold this and supported over those
10:56 am
it over theseort years, but as we move to the of conservation, we need to remove these bags and slings supporting the summary in it in caustics, and minimize other materials in the tank with the summary -- submarine because of their reaction to chemicals. we had to come up with another way to support the submarine, and it is worth getting it up right and setting it down on its keel. this will be the first time the summary and is upright -- the submarine is upright sense it -- since it sank. i have done all my work on this submarine with it in a certain position, fortified degrees to star board -- 45 degrees to star board. we have taken care to preserve the way it has been found, and for the first time, we are turning it up right.
10:57 am
not only was it amazing to see the submarine sitting again as it was designed to sit, upright, it turned from being an artifact, sitting on its side, but when we turned it up right it looked again like a weapon of war, like a submarine. , which starboard side was underneath the summary in, was largely obscured. we could not get a good look at it. all whole quarter of the ofmarine -- a whole quarter the submarine's hall was wasletely blocked -- hull completely blocked. there were things we had not seen before. so after the rotation, i spent 20 minutes walking around the submarine. i was seeing things i had never seen before. it gets your excitement going again, even more so, and we are now chomping at the bit. once the rotation is complete, they are still fine-tuning it,
10:58 am
we will get in there and begin looking at these parts of the summary we have not seen yet. our ultimate -- submarine we have not seen yet. our ultimate goal is to make a personal connection with the submarine and the crew, and what it did back in 64. -- 1864. sunday, q&a is in hyde park, new york at the franklin d roosevelt presidential library and museum, where we go inside for a rare life -- look at fdr's personal office and artifacts. opened in june, 1941. he was still president of the united states, so this became the northern oval office. he had an incredibly cuisine of mind -- inquisitive mind, so there are thousands of books in --s room alone, left by fvr fdr to be in this room. it is a most identical to the
10:59 am
way it was when fdr died. nothing has changed. sunday night, at 8:00 eastern, on c-span. this is american history tv on c-span3, returning to our live coverage of gettysburg, pennsylvania today with the civil war institute's annual conference, hosted by gettysburg college. tj next speaker will be stiles, pulitzer prize winning author of "custer's trial: a life on the frontier of new america." while we stand by for the conference to get back under way, if you would like to share with us the thoughts on our programming, neck with us on twitter, -- connect with us on twitter or c-span. this is american history tv, only on c-span3.
11:00 am
[indistinct conversation] >> when the conference returns we will have t.j. stiles, pulitzer prize winner of "custer's trials: a life on the frontier of a new america." he will be introduced by peter carmichael, the gettysburg college civil war institute director.

34 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on