H.L. Hunley Replica

This replica of the U.S. Civil War submarine HL Hunley sits outside the Charleston Museum.

The HL Hunley (named after her inventor, Horace Lawson Hunley) was a Confederate State submarine, built in Mobile, Alabama in 1863 and launched in July 1863.

She had a crew of 8 and was armed with a spar-mounted torpedo; essentially a long pole with a charge on the end of it.

Her performance, was, to say the least, chequered. She sank during a training exercise on 29 August 1863. Five of her crew were killed. Forty-seven days later she sank again, this time killing all onboard including her inventor, Horace Hunley.

On 17 February 1864, the Hunley attacked and sank a screw-driven sloop-of-war, the USS Housatonic, which was one of the Union ships blockading the port of Charleston. As a result she secured her place in history as the first combat submarine to sink a warship. However, she was never seen again.

…until 1995, when she was discovered on the sea bed. She and her crew were recovered in 2000, and she is now on display at the Warren Lasch Conservation Centre in Charleston.

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