|OLG and DCRT
2014-15 through 2018-19
The Atchafalaya Heritage Area has been designated by Congress as a National Heritage Area.
In the later '50s, civil engineer Louis Genella, in arguing they were not the same boat, speculated that similarities between the Museum's craft and the ironclad Manassas, including structure and plating, point to the same manufacturer.
The ironclad ram Manassas under fire at Forts Jackson and St. Philip, April 24th 1862. Notice the similarity between the hull shape of the Manassas and the Louisiana State Museum submarine. (The Soldier in Our Civil War)"
The Louisiana State Museum submarine on display in a weaponry exhibit in the Pontalba apartments
513 St Ann
The Louisiana State Museum submarine on display in a weaponry exhibit in the Pontalba apartments 513 St Ann 1953
Other clues to the mystery exist in letters dating from the period. One, from Fleet Engineer Shock to Gustavas Fox, assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, describes Shock’s experience with the Pioneer but includes anecdotal evidence that may actually relate to another vessel.
Since contemporary accounts of the Pioneer never mention such an incident, it is likely the fatalities Shock heard about occurred in a different experimental craft.
Perhaps the most telling document, however, is another letter, also uncovered by Mark Ragan. In June 1861, months before work began on the Pioneer, a New Yorker named E. P. Doer traveled to New Orleans. During his visit, Doer learned from a woman schoolteacher that a submersible to be used against the Mississippi Squadron blockading the river was being constructed. He reported his findings to the Navy in Washington:
If this letter refers to the Museum’s submarine, it would make it the earliest known Civil War-era submersible.