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H. L. Hunley - The Deep Secret of the South During the Civil War

The H.L. Hunley was the first combat submarine. It saw active service in the civil war,. It successfully sunk the union ship Housatonic, but the torpedo that was used was attached to a long stick under water, forcing the sailors to literally ram into the Housatonic, which sunk soon after. The blast from the torpedo left the sailors in the submarine with injuries to the lungs and or brain. All the crew members died.[1]

The sub was operated by a crew of eight, seven to turn the crank that powered the propeller and one to steer and navigate. Its creator Mr. Hunly died while he was in the submarine on an excursion under the sea. The Confederacy was making there first sub. The US Navy was too. In 1861 the USS Alligator was born. The sub sank three different times in its short career, but they kept retrieving it from the depths of the water. Its life span was from July 1863 through February 1864. The first time it sank at the dock when a crew member stepped on the release valve to dive in the water. Only three out of the eight escaped with their lives. The submarine was built in Mobile, Alabama in July 1863 and was shipped by rail to Charleston on August 12 1863.[2]

A diver named Ralph Willbanks found the sub in April 1995. He wrote that the sub was under a lot of silt witch both protected and hid the sub for over a hundred years. The sub was found by preservationists in 1995 and it was raised from the water in 2000.[3] The sub is on display in a tank of water to preserve it. The sub and its contents was valued at 40 million dollars. It is one of the most valuable donations to South Carolina.

[1] “H. L. Hunley” Naval History and Heritage Command. (Accessed November 7, 2019)

[2] “H. L. Hunley.” (Accessed November 7, 2019)

[3] “The Search for the Hunley.” Hunley. org. (Accessed November 7, 2019)

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