DIXON'S GOLD COIN:
THE LEGEND OF THE GOLD COIN
Friends of the Hunley
LEGEND: For over a century, an oral tradition-a legend-was
passed down involving Lt. George Dixon, who commanded the
Hunley on its final assignment, which turned out to be one
of the most important missions in naval history. According
to the legend, Dixon was in love with a beautiful young woman
from Mobile, Alabama, named Queenie Bennett.
To keep her sweetheart safe from harm, Queenie
gave George Dixon a gold coin, as a good luck charm. Again,
according to the legend, George kept the coin with him always,
in his pocket, rubbing it with his thumb while he dreamed
of the day when he and Queenie would be reunited.
During the Battle of Shiloh, George was shot point blank.
A bullet ripped into the pocket of his trousers and struck
the center of the gold coin. The impact was said to have left
the gold piece bent, with the bullet embedded in it. Queenie's
good luck gift had saved his life.
Many such legends were created during the war. Was this one
true? For 137 years, no one knew whether the story was true
or merely a romantic tale from long ago.
During the excavation of the H.L. Hunley, the gold coin was
discovered next to the remains of Lt. George Dixon. It was
deeply indented from the impact of a bullet and traces of
lead were discovered on the coin. The coin, a $20 dollar gold
piece, was minted in 1860. One side bears an image of Lady
Liberty. The other side, which has a federal shield-and-eagle
symbol, had been sanded and inscribed by hand. It clearly
bears four lines of cursive script with the following words:
April 6, 1862
My life Preserver
G. E. D.
Maria Jacobsen, Senior Archaeologist on the Hunley project
and the one who actually first found the coin, said shortly
after her amazing discovery, "Some people may think this
is a stroke of luck, but perhaps it's something else. They
tell me that Lt. Dixon was a lady's man, perhaps he winked
at us yesterday to remind us that he still is."