CSS Hunley Re-Interment - Charleston, SC

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Re-Interment of the Crew of the CSS Hunley
Mar 25, 2000

Article by Sgt. Mike Rhyne


CaissonOn March 25, 2000 elements of the 10th Regiment North Carolina State Troops, (1st North Carolina Artillery Regiment) took part in the re-interment of the 1st CSS Hunley crew at Charleston, SC. Arriving in North Charleston at 3:00 p.m. on the 25th, I quickly located Exchange Park and waited for the arrival of the rest of the group. While I waited, I watched as three of the caissons were being outfitted with a platform and a skirt, all very hastily done. I was told to get our caisson to the barn so it could also be prepared. "Our caisson has a platform" I replied, "It does? Well get it up here so we can put a skirt on it," was the next command. "Our caisson has a skirt!" I said. "Well why didn't they all come that way?" Gentlemen, this is the difference between being prepared or not.

Saturday dawned bright and crisp, but the lower South Carolina temperature soon began to climb. By the time the horses were ready it was apparent we were in for a hot one. While the gun crew on the gun trailer made their way to Magnolia Cemetery where the re-interment was to take place,Caisson March we loaded the horses into the trailer and made the 20-minute trip to the staging area located one mile from the Battery. After a one-hour wait the procession finally got underway. We were 5th in the line of five horsedrawn caissons (ours was the best looking of the five). We stopped at the Battery, at 10:00 a.m., for a brief ceremony and at this point the pre-selected pallbearers were posted at the caissons. Our crew was not used for this task so we divided the men between Capt. "Maddog" Rice's team and ours to help with the horses if needed during the march. The coffins were loaded on the caissons and we were on our way to the cemetery.

By this time the temperature had reached a nice 79 degrees. The temperature, the paved road and the unshod hooves combined to cause problems. About a mile and a half into the march, Pvt. Allen pulled up lame. Being unable to continue at his post, a joint decision was made between the drivers and myself to remove him from the team. Pvt. Allen was relieved of duty and a new conscript was pressed into service. Pvt. Rebel was made a wheel horse. We were now down to three horses in harness. Pvt. Gemini had to be the lead horse by himself. Capt. "Mad Dog" Rice said we had invented a new rig called "the wedge." After a 15-minute halt of the column to make this adjustment,Mourning once again we were on our way. With a few side steps and a couple of bunny hops from Pvt. Rebel the remainder of the march went well.

What happen to Pvt. Allen you ask? By the time the horses and harness had been changed Mrs. Danyel Moose had made her way to our aid. She took Pvt. Allen and fell in behind our caisson. All of his harness had been removed and the spectators thought he was the riderless horse for all the sailors. We didn't tell them any different.

We arrived at Magnolia Cemetary at 12:30 p.m. One by one the coffins were removed from the caissons for the last phase of their journey. The horses were taken across the lake for a well-earned rest in the shade of the trees.

The guest speakers were introduced, speeches were made all giving praise and thanks to the crew of the CSS Hunley. Frank Doyle; CSN, John Kelly, CSN; Michael Cane, CSN; Nicholas Davis, CSN; and Absolum Williams, CSN were carried to their final resting place beside their fellow seamen, the second crew of the CSS Hunley. The infantry fired a musket salute followed by a 21-gun artillery salute, which was fired by piece at 5-second intervals.

21 Gun Salute

It was an honor for me to be a part of the ceremony for the Brave and Courageous men of the CSS Hunley. I would like to thank the men and women who helped me with this task and performed their duty with honor to the Regiment and men we portray:

     Gun Crew
  Sgt. Jim Lankford
  Cpl. Ed Rhew
  Pvt. Keith Rogers
  Pvt. Gary Price
  Pvt. Jeff Sigmon
  Pvt. Larry Leatherman
    Caisson Crew
  Pvt. Van Seabock
  Pvt. Jeff Kinard
  Pvt. Rex Kennedy
  Harold Caldwell (conscript)
     Drivers
  Cpl. Chris Moose
  Pvt. Bill Long
    Our Ladies
  Mrs. Danyel Moose
  Mrs. Debbie Seabock
  Mrs. Virginia Price

                                                Horses
                                              
Pvt. Allen
                                               Pvt. Ethan
                                               Pvt. Rebel
                                               Pvt. Gemini

Thank-you gang for a job well done!

Sgt. Mike Rhyne
10th Regiment NCST

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