17 April 2018

The H.L. Hunley

On 17 April 2004, the remains of the crew of the H.L. Hunley were laid to rest at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Hunley was a Confederate submarine, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. It was privately constructed by inventor Horace Lawson Hunley, and delivered to the Confederate navy. During preparations for its first test dive in Charleston, one of the crew accidentally stepped on a control lever and the sub dived with its hatches open. Two escaped, but five other crewmen drowned.

The sub was then taken over by the Confederate army, who prepared for further testing. During a mock attack, the Hunley failed to surface, and all eight crew died, including Hunley himself.

The Confederate Navy salvaged the sub once more, and returned it to service. On 17 February 1864, the Hunley delivered an iron keg filled with around 60kg of black powder to the hull of the USS Housatonic, sinking it. Unfortunately the Hunley was only around 6 meters from the target at the time, and its crew was killed instantly by the compression of the detonation. The Hunley remained at the bottom of the harbor until it was eventually located and dredged up in 2000.

© mathew 2017