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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  1. Perseverance of the Huntley designers, builders & crew continues to exemplify the dedication of Southern men standing up against overwhelming odds no matter the cost.

    MAX MANLEY / Reply
  2. Alastair, Ever since I first read about the Hunley, I was intrigued. To attempt such a thing in that time was brave and clever to a point. As I said, the explosion killed them.They didn’t know that was a possibilty! I read many articles about what brought about the demise of these brave men. No one seemed to have an answer. Then I found an article by a female engineer who looked at what happened from what we know today. “Blast Injury” causing quick massive hemmorhage!!!! ¹As a nurse who has worked with the critically ill this made sense to me. For me, it solved the mystery🕯Did you know the only light inside the Hunley was a single candle?! It must have been spooky! Norma Jean Morrissey R.N. Civil Warq student

    Norma jean morrissey / Reply
  3. It is quite amazing in the days of “low tech” ships and artillery that someone would build and sail the Hunley! Surprising that they would give it 2 tries loosing men in each attempt (including Horace Hunley), yet give it one more try and succeed in destroying the Union’s Housatonic! Sadly though our sub crew would never return! The force of the explosion killed the crew as they were too close to the point of detonation. Today experts have concluded they died from “blast injury” that caused sudden catastrophic hemorrhage in brain and lungs. In principle it would seem to be a great idea. In practice not so, as they lacked today’s scientific knowledge.RIP☆☆ Norma Jean Morrissey R.N. Civil War history buff

    Norma jean morrissey / Reply
  4. God bless these daring souls.

    fred Davis / Reply

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