Wait a Second! Sub Watch Raises More Questions

Confederate ticker no clear clue to sinking
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2007 8:59 AM CST
Staff archaeologists Shea McLean, left, and Maria Jacobsen mark a grid using tooth picks in mud sediment located inside the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Scientists had hoped that the watch belonging to the commander of the HL Hunley would give them some clues as to why the Confederate submarine sank in 1864. But they've been left only with more questions, AP reports. The watch stopped quickly rather than winding down—possibly because of an explosion, but it may have been broken sooner or lost time in damp conditions.

"We were thinking the watch pointed to the crucial moment" when the sub sank, said one observer. "But I would say instead of the smoking gun, it's more of the smoke that keeps you from seeing." The hand-cranked Hunley became the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship when it rammed a charge into the Union's Housatonic. It was recovered off Charleston 12 years ago.