I agree. I suspect the flange rusted off at some later date and allowed the glass to fall out of the sub, rather than into it.
Here is Brian Hicks' take on it.
A lone shot in the dark?
Hunley porthole might rewrite story of doomed sub's demise
BY BRIAN HICKS
The Post and Courier
For 10 years, the single-bullet theory has been the most compelling explanation for the H.L. Hunley's disappearance - its own lone gunman legend.
A Yankee sailor targets the Confederate sub's forward view port, glowing yellow from interior candlelight, as it approaches the Housatonic. Moments before the Hunley sinks the Union sloop, the sailor hits his mark.
The bullet leaves a hole in the port that allows seawater to pour in, eventually sending the Hunley to the bottom of the ocean.
This theory, based primarily on a fist-sized hole in the tower, offers a plausible explanation for why the Hunley vanished shortly after it sank the Housatonic on Feb. 17, 1864.
But scientists say the evidence - or rather, the lack thereof - shows that it probably didn't happen that way.
Hunley conservators have began work on the forward conning tower, removing glass from view ports in this relatively unexplored area of the sub. Scientists still don't know how the hatch latched, or the exact purpose of the five ports in it - one on each side, two in the front, one on the hatch.
But they have found that only the tiniest sliver of a flange remains for the port side forward viewing port - the one that figures into the single-bullet theory.
It appears the port wasn't shot, it's just missing.
"Had we found the glass from that port inside the sub, perhaps we would have had the smoking gun," Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the Hunley Commission, said Wednesday. "But it appears the smoking gun is missing."
Historical accounts from Housatonic survivors describe the sight of the Hunley's deadlights and ports glowing yellow - it was the only part of the sub they could really see that night. They shot at the sub, but didn't think they had hit it. The hole in the tower found 136 years after the battle suggested otherwise.
Paul Mardikian, the Hunley's senior conservator, tackled the tower with a few questions in mind.
"Is there a way to kill the lights?" he asked. "Are these the same as the other ports?"
The answers, which support the single-bullet theory, are no and no. The deadlights along the sub's top had shutters that allowed them to hide the light and seal leaks if the glass were shot. The tower's ports, barely 2.5 inches wide, didn't come with that option.
The sub had two round forward viewing ports on the tower, and it is the left - or port side - port that is missing. And no trace of it was found in the sub. If it had been shot that night, the glass would have exploded into the tower and littered the Hunley's floor.
But there has been no glass found. There is still some concretion on the Hunley's floor, and Mardikian said the glass could be embedded there. But there is certainly no guarantee.
"There's still the possibility, but I don't think so," McConnell said. "I think we'll find that damage happened later."
The single-bullet theory has been around for years, based on the Housatonic sailors' accounts of shooting at the Hunley. When Clive Cussler's NUMA team found and photographed the sub - including the hole in the conning tower - in 1995, that cemented the theory in some people's minds.
At the time, a crab that Cussler's guys named Horace (after Horace Hunley) was living in the hole. The sub was filled with sand almost all the way up to the lip of that hole.
So where does that hole come from? It could have happened years later, an errant anchor drop, or perhaps some 19th century treasure hunter even broke it off.
More answers could come when the conservators move their work to the aft conning tower. That tower, which might be made from the same cast as the forward tower turned around backward, could provide a few answers. Mardikian hopes to begin exploring that tower in the coming weeks.
Barring some new find, the single-bullet theory likely has been laid to rest. That leaves behind several slightly less dramatic theories. Either the crew ran out of air, the sub was hit by another ship and damaged, or the crew submerged to wait on the incoming tide and passed out, succumbing to anoxia - a lack of oxygen to the brain.
McConnell said as scientists explore the final corners of the Hunley, and the discoveries of this five-year-old project are examined, the answer might be around the corner.
"I would like to think we are months, no more than a year, away from solving the ultimate mystery," McConnell said.
Edited By TMSmalley on 1135888234