Sinking the Hunley

Evan Lubofsky, writing originally for Hakai Magazine but also published in writes of an inquiry into the sinking of the H. L. Hunley, the Confederate submarine. Definitely worth the read

Around 6:30 p.m. on February 17, 1864, eight men crammed into the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, a self-propelled metal tube attached to a bomb, and slipped quietly into the freezing black water off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. The crew hand-cranked the sub more than six kilometers toward its target—the Union blockader USS Housatonic—and surfaced like a leviathan for the charge. By 9:00 p.m., it was over: The Hunley had thrust its spar-mounted torpedo into the Housatonic’s hull and within seconds, 60 kilograms of black powder had caved in the ship.

Just after the brief moment of glory, the Hunley, which had just become the world’s first successful combat submarine, mysteriously sank.

About DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
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2 Responses to Sinking the Hunley

  1. burkemblog says:

    Thanks for posting this–I just read the article–my parents had the two-volume American Heritage History of the Civil War when I was growing up, and I read it when I was 10 or 11–and returned to it often over the years (my parents were their own Civil War in many ways, my mother from Virginia, my dad from upstate New York). The Hunley/Housatonic story was part of that book, of course, and I recall the painting of the Hunley featured here. Rachel lance is a determined researcher. Finally, a Duke graduate I could admire! (I went to UNC for grad school).


  2. DaveO says:

    You’re welcome. The Hunley’s demise essentially delayed the USN adopting submarines for a further 50 years.


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