History Hangout: Conversation with Rachel Lance

Rachel Lance

History Hangout: Conversation with Rachel Lance

Lance’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine

 

In this episode, Ben Spohn interviews Dr. Rachel Lance, an Assistant Consulting Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the Duke University School of Medicine on her new book, In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of A Civil War Submarine (Dutton, 2020). Lance is a biomedical engineer and blast-injury specialist by training.  Before earning her Phd. at Duke University, she worked as an engineer for the United States Navy, building specialized underwater equipment.

In In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine (Dutton, 2020) Lance documents how she developed and tested her own theory on the sinking of the HL Hunley, a Confederate submarine lost after sinking just  one Union ship, the U.S.S. Housatonic. Lance’s research at Hagley provided her with background knowledge on the finer points of blackpowder manufacture and explosions. Lance’s historical research and experiments with black powder explosions and her own miniature version of the HL Hunley lend support to her theory: The HL Hunley and her crew were lost due to the explsoive shockwave unleashed by the torpedo used to sink the USS Housatonic