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.
- Archaeologist Maria Jacobsen holding Dixon's gold coin. This photograph was taken only minutes after the coin's discovery.
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.
The reverse side
Dixon's gold coin.
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."
Lt. Dixon's Gold Coin
Ezra Chamberlin's ID Tag