CSS H.L. Hunley is a historic
sub that was a brand new development and technological breakthrough.
Prior to the Hunley, two Confederate submarines had been tested but
the cold morning of February 17, 1864, the Hunley
and its crew of nine were launched just off the coast of Charleston, SC.
The crew rotated bars that propelled the sub as the captain
steered. The subís mission
was to destroy the Union's largest naval ship, the Housatonic.
sub was armed with a spar torpedo packed with explosive powder and attached to a
long pole on its bow. The
135-pound torpedo was designed to be rammed into and embedded in
the side of a wooden
warship. As the Hunley
pulled away, a 150-foot detonation rope attached to the torpedo spooled
out. A few seconds after ramming the Housatonic, the torpedo detonated and there was a massive explosion.
With this, the Hunley became
the first sub to ever sink a ship in battle.
watching from the shores of Sullivanís Island cheered as the warship
slipped under. The men
surveyed the horizon for a signal of blue light from the submarine which
meant the mission was successfully completed.
And, after a few minutes, in the distance the blue light was
sighted. Unfortunately, the crew either lost their bearing or ran into
trouble and was never seen again.
1995, the wreck of the Hunley,
with the remains of her crew still inside, was found off the coast of
Charleston in just 30 feet of water.