On February 17, 1864, the H.L. Hunley became the first successful combat submarine in world history when eight men entered an experimental vessel with a mission to sink the USS Housatonic. The Hunley successfully rammed her spar torpedo into the hull of the Housatonic, causing the warship to sink within minutes. After completing this momentous feat, the Hunley crew signaled their success to shore but then never returned home.
That night, history was made. At the same moment, a mystery was born. The Hunley became the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship. But why had she suddenly disappeared? What caused her to sink? And would she ever be found?
After being lost at sea for over 130 years, the Hunley was located in 1995 and raised on August 8, 2000. The submarine was brought to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, South Carolina where scientists continue to work to unlock the mysteries of the Hunley. The submarine was in essence a time capsule, holding a wide array of artifacts from the nineteenth century.
Come visit the Hunley and be part of this historic event! Tours include actually seeing the Hunley in her conservation tank, artifacts found on board, including Lt. Dixon’s legendary gold coin and a Union ID tag, official Hunley gift store, and many other exhibits. Tickets are $12 and reservations can be made in advance at www.etix.com or by calling 1.877.4HUNLEY (1-877-448-6539).