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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Hunley


Introduction from the United States Naval Historical Center:

H.L. Hunley a small, hand-powered submarine, was privately built at Mobile, Alabama, in 1863, based on plans furnished by Horace Lawson Hunley, James R. McClintock and Baxter Watson. Her construction was sponsored by Mr. Hunley and superintended by Confederate officers W.A. Alexander and G.E. Dixon. Following trials in Mobile Bay, she was transported to Charleston, South Carolina, in August 1863 to serve in the defense of that port. On 29 August, while moored to a steamer, the submarine was accidently pulled over on its side and sank, drowning five members of her crew. After salvage, she was given a new crew and began a series of tests. However, during diving trials on 15 October 1863, she failed to surface. Horace Lawson Hunley, who was directing her operation, and the rest of her men were drowned.

H.L. Hunley was again raised and repaired. With a third crew, and under orders to only operate on the surface, she began a series of attempts to attack United States Navy ships on blockade duty off Charleston. On 17 February 1864, these efforts were successful. H.L. Hunley approached the steam sloop of war USS Housatonic and detonated a spar torpedo against her side. The Federal ship sank rapidly, becoming the first warship to be lost to a submarine's attack.

However, H.L. Hunley did not return from this mission, and was presumed lost with all hands. Her fate remained a mystery for over 131 years, until May 1995, when a search led by author Clive Cussler located her wreck. On 8 August 2000, following extensive preliminary work, the H.L. Hunley was raised and taken to a conservation facility at the former Charleston Naval Base. At present, she is the subject of a careful preservation effort that ultimately should place her in suitable condition for general public exhibition.


UPDATE
New York Times, 29 January 2013
Article courtesy of Ron Reeves.

South Carolina: New Clues in 1864 Submarine Deaths
Researchers say they may have the final clues in the mystery of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which never resurfaced after it became the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship. Scientists said Monday that the Hunleywas apparently less than 20 feet from the Housatonic, a Union blockade ship, when its crew ignited a torpedo that sank the Housatonic off South Carolina in 1864. That means that the sub may have been close enough for its eight-man crew to be knocked unconscious by the explosion. The discovery was based on a recent examination of the spar, an iron pole on the bow that held the torpedo. For years, historians thought the Hunley was much farther away and had speculated that the crew ran out of air before the sub was able to return to shore. The crew members were found at their seats when the sub was raised in 2000, with no evidence of an attempt to abandon.

Specifications: Length 30'; Beam 4'; Speed, Submerged 4 mph; Complement 9; Armament, 1 spar torpedo.
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H.L. Hunley113kH.L. Hunley inboard profile and plan drawings, after sketches by W.A. Alexander, who directed her construction. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 53544.
H.L. Hunley101kH.L. Hunley midships section drawing, after sketches by W.A. Alexander, who directed her construction. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 53545.
H.L. Hunley73k Cutaway drawings of the H.L. Hunley published in France, based on sketches by William A. Alexander, who directed her construction. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 58769.
H.L. Hunley332kSepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1902, after a painting then held by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society Museum, Richmond, Virginia. The Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley is credited with the first recorded successful underwater attack, against the Housatonic using a torpedo, which was projected from the submarine by a pole. Eight men turned the propeller using a handcrank. Maximum speed was 4 knots. Air was provided by two four-foot pipes, although the hull contained enough air for approximately hour of submerged operations. Text & photo courtesy of USNHC & chinfo.navy.mil.
H.L. Hunley 1.13k SUBMARINE WARFARE BEGAN IN AMERICA
When the Hunley Sank the Housatonic, in 1S64, the First Victim of a Submarine Went to the Bottom-Northern Newspapers Called It "a Dastardly Attack" and Even to the Head of the Confederate Navy It Was An Act Unworthy of a Chivalrous Nation
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo & text by New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 20 August 1916, Image 36, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
H.L. Hunley53kModel of the H.L. Hunley built by Floyd Houston, New Suffolk, New York. It was presented by him to the Naval Historical Foundation on 7 April 1960. Note spar torpedo projecting from the submarine's bow. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 63085.
H.L. Hunley51k Model of the H.L. Hunley built by Floyd Houston, New Suffolk, New York. It was presented by him to the Naval Historical Foundation on 7 April 1960. Note spar torpedo projecting from the submarine's bow. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 51949.
H.L. Hunley115k Park and Lyons machine shop building, Mobile, Alabama where the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was constructed in 1863. Located at the corner of Water and State Streets, in Mobile, this old building housed the Gill Welding and Boiler Works when photographed in about 1960. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 53543.
H.L. Hunley405k H.L. Hunley receiving what appears to be a final inspection from either its builder's or from personnel of the Confederate States Navy. Photo & text courtesy of "The World Encyclopedia of Submarines" by John Parker & submitted by Robert Hurst.
H.L. Hunley16k Artist concept of the H.L. Hunley in action. Computer generated graphic by Dan Dowdey. Photo courtesy of National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA)numa.net.
H.L. Hunley48k Scale models of the Housatonic and the H.L. Hunley commissioned by Clive Cussler. The H.L. Hunley model is circled. Both ships were found by NUMA. Photo courtesy of National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA)numa.net.
Pioneer1.46kSUBMARINES WILL WIN WARS OF THE FUTURE
A Confederate submarine driven by hand. The crew of negroes were drowned when the boat was given an experimental submergence.
The Confederate submarine Hunley, which sank, the Houstanic.
The biggest commissioned submersible in the United States navy. The GL, of 450 tons submerged displacement. A boat of the Lake type.
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo by The Sun. (New York, [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, 14 March 1915, FOURTH SECTION PICTORIAL MAGAZINE, Image 40, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
PDF added 06/16/13.
Trigger90k Trigger (SS-564) behind a replica of the H.L. Hunley at Pier November in Charleston, SC in 1968. Taken from the bridge of the Chivo (SS-341). In the distance at pier Lima there appears to be other subs and possibly the tender Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16). Photo courtesy of Mike Cappucci.
H.L. Hunley21kArtist concept of the H.L. Hunley on the sea floor. Computer generated graphic by Dan Dowdey. Photo courtesy of National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA)numa.net.
H.L. Hunley118kH.L. Hunley breaks the surface, suspended from its supporting truss, as it is raised from the sea bottom off Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of 8 August 2000. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97355-33-KN.
H.L. Hunley108kH.L. Hunley suspended from its supporting truss, just after it was raised from the sea bottom off Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of 8 August 2000. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97356-01-KN.
H.L. Hunley83kH.L. Hunley lifted beside the working platform Karlissa B, just after it was raised from the sea bottom off Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of 8 August 2000. Suspended from its supporting truss, it is to be placed on the barge at left to be taken to the conservation facility in North Charleston. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97356-06-KN.
H.L. Hunley105kH.L. Hunley suspended from its supporting truss, just after it was raised from the sea bottom off Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of 8 August 2000. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97356-12-KN.
H.L. Hunley113kH.L. Hunley suspended from its supporting truss, a few minutes after it was raised from the sea bottom off Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of 8 August 2000. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97356-23-KN.
H.L. Hunley72kH.L. Hunley suspended from its supporting truss, a few minutes after it was raised from the sea bottom off Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of 8 August 2000. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97356-28-KN.
H.L. Hunley82kH.L. Hunley on board a barge to be taken to the conservation facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, soon after it was lifted from the sea floor off Charleston on 8 August 2000.H.L. Hunley, suspended from a supporting truss, was raised by the working platform Karlissa B, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is seen at right. Photographed by Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center.U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 97356-36-KN.
H.L. Hunley75k At the Naval Historical Center, Navy Yard, Washington D.C. 21 February 2003, scientists at the Warren Lash Conservation Center examine a Civil War-era wallet found during excavation of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The archeologists stated that the wallet was in remarkably good condition. Hunley was recovered from the ocean floor in 2000 and has been under an excavation and conservation program, which has been led by the Naval Historical Center team for three years. U.S. Navy photo courtesy Naval Historical Center # O-0000O-002, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
H.L. Hunley76kAt the Naval Historical Center, Navy Yard, Washington D.C. 21 February 2003 this Civil War-era wallet was discovered by Naval Historical Center archeologists during their excavation of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The archeologists stated that the wallet was in remarkably good condition. Hunley became the first submarine in history to sink a warship during the Civil War in 1863. U.S. Navy photo by Chris Ohm. courtesy Naval Historical Center #O-0000O-001, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
H.L. Hunley219k At the Charleston Navy Yard, S.C., 7 March 2003, the pocket watch that belonged to the commanding officer of the Civil War-era submarine H.L. Hunley, Lt. George Dixon. The watch was retrieved from the H.L. Hunleyand archeologists hope to use it to determine the time the sub sank on 17 February 1864. USN photo # N-0000X-002, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
H.L. Hunley132k At the Charleston Navy Yard, S.C., 7 March 2003, Senior Conservator of the Civil War-era Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, Paul Mardikian, uses a microscope to examine a pocket watch that belonged to the sub's commanding officer, Lt. George Dixon. The watch was retrieved from the H.L. Hunley and archeologists hope to use it to determine the time the sub sank on 17 February 1864. USN photo # N-0000X-001, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
H.L. Hunley525kCivil War Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley conservators Philippe de Vivies, left, and Paul Mardikian remove the first section of the crew's bench at the Warren Lash Conservation Lab in the former Charleston Navy Shipyard, S.C. on 28 January 2005. Archaeologists and conservators are hopeful that once the bench is removed, they will discover new H.L. Hunley artifacts. U.S. Navy photo # O-0000X-001, courtesy Naval Historical Center courtesy of news.navy.mil.
H.L. Hunley315kThe Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sits in a conservation tank after a steel truss that had surrounded it was removed on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C. Scientists say removing the truss allows the first clear view of the sub since it sank in 1864 off the South Carolina coast. AP Wire photo by Bruce Smith, courtesy of Ron Reeves.
H.L. Hunley313kPaul Mardikian, senior conservator on the project to conserve the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, discusses removing a steel truss that had surrounded sub on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C. AP Wire photo by Bruce Smith, courtesy of Ron Reeves.
H.L. Hunley333kThe Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sits in a conservation tank after a steel truss that had surrounded it was removed on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C. AP Wire photo by Bruce Smith, courtesy of Ron Reeves.
H.L. Hunley381kThe crank that Confederate sailors turned to propel the sub is visible at top left. AP Wire photo by Bruce Smith, courtesy of Ron Reeves.
H.L. Hunley348kStern view & propeller of the H.L. Hunley. AP Wire photo by Bruce Smith, courtesy of Ron Reeves.
H.L. Hunley346kPort side bow view of the H.L. Hunley. AP Wire photo by Bruce Smith, courtesy of Ron Reeves.

View the H.L. Hunley
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Friends of the Hunley
Hunley Photos
Submarine History / An Illustrated Survey of Key Events in Submarine History

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