Tag Archives: H.L. Hunley

149 year anniversary of the first submarine to sink an enemy warship

Sunday marks the anniversary of the H.L. Hunley’s mission against the federal blockade ship Housatonic off Charleston.

The Hunley sank the Union ship but neither the sub nor its eight-man crew returned.

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell speaks at a ceremony Sunday at Sunrise Presbyterian Church on Breach Inlet where the Hunley began its mission. Afterward, there’s a procession to the inlet where there will be infantry and artillery salutes.

Both the crew of the Hunley and the five Houstonic crewmen who died are being honored.

Confederate Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world’s first successful combat submarine

H. L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War, but a large role in the history of naval warfare. The Hunley demonstrated both the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare. It was the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship, although the Hunley was not completely submerged and was lost at some point following her successful attack. The Confederacy lost 21 crewmen in three sinkings of the Hunley during her short career. The submarine was named for her inventor, Horace Lawson Hunley, shortly after it was taken into service under the control of the Confederate Army at Charleston, South Carolina.

The Hunley, nearly 40 feet (12 m) long, was built at Mobile, Alabama, and launched in July 1863. It was then shipped by rail on August 12, 1863 to Charleston, South Carolina. Hunley (then called Fish Boat) sank on August 29, 1863, during a training exercise, killing five members of her crew. It sank again on October 15, 1863, killing all eight of her second crew, including Horace Hunley himself, who was aboard at the time, even though he was not enlisted in the Confederate armed forces. Both times the Hunley was raised and returned to service. On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the 1240-short ton (1124 metric tons) screw sloop USS Housatonic on Union blockade duty in Charleston’s outer harbor. Soon after, Hunley sank, killing all eight of her third crew. This time, the innovative ship was lost.

Finally located in 1995, the Hunley was recovered in 2000 and is on display in Charleston. Examination in 2012 of recovered Hunley artifacts suggests that the submarine was as close as 20 feet to its target, the Housatonic, when its deployed torpedo exploded, which eventually caused the sub’s own demise.

Source – Wikipedia

Source – WLTX

Civil War submarine may have been destroyed by its own torpedo

During the Civil War, the Confederate army fielded a submarine called the H.L. Hunley. After sinking an enemy ship called the USS Housatonic in 1864, the submarine disappeared after signaling a successful mission. Exactly what caused the Confederate submarine to sink has remained a mystery.


However, scientists studying the ship have discovered new evidence that may shed light on what caused the submarine to sink and how the sub and its crew were able to sink the union ship. The sinking of the union ship made the Hunley the first successful combat submarine in history. New evidence discovered during the study of the submarine suggests that the submarine was less than 20 feet away from the torpedo when it exploded, sinking the union ship.

According to the researchers, new evidence suggests that the torpedo was bolted to a 16-foot-long spar. This discovery was made during an investigation of what remained of the two-foot-long torpedo. According to the researchers, the torpedo held 135 pounds of gunpowder and was not designed to separate from the spar as previously believed.

Previously it was believed that the torpedo was placed against the ship’s hull and then detonated remotely. New evidence suggests that the submarine was no more than 20 feet away when the torpedo was detonated. As close as the submarine was to the ship when the torpedo exploded, the researchers believe that the concussion from the explosion may have damaged the submarine and injured the crew. The submarine was discovered off the South Carolina Charleston Harbor in 1995 and return to the surface in 2000.

Source – Slash Gear