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Confederate sub (The H.L. Hunley) upright for first time since 1864

Confederate sub (The H.L. Hunley) upright for first time since 1864

— The first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship is upright for the first time in almost 150 years, revealing a side of its hull not seen since it sank off the South Carolina coast during the Civil War.
Workers at a conservation lab finished the painstaking, two-day job of rotating the hand-cranked H.L. Hunley upright late Thursday.
The Hunley was resting on its side at a 45-degree angle on the bottom of the Atlantic when it was raised in August 2000 and scientists had kept it in slings in that position in the lab for the past 11 years.
But they needed to turn it upright to continue with the job of conservation.
Scientists hope the hidden side of the sub will provide clues as to why the Hunley sank with its eight-member crew in February, 1864, after sending the Union blockade ship Houstonic to the bottom.
While there was no immediate clue from a first look at the hidden hull but “we are seeing some tantalizing clues on that side,” Hunleyarchaeologist Maria Jacobsen said Friday.
Scientists knew there were large hull breaches on the starboard side that remained out of view all these years. Jacobsen said the area around the holes is smooth, as the sediment that has hardened on the hull was blasted away. It’s not clear whether the breaches are manmade — caused by an explosion or the like — or simply caused by nature.
She said it likely could have been scoured away by water and tides.
“We may be dealing with nature here. How can these massive hull breaches occur?” she asked.
“Nothing jumps out at me” from seeing the starboard side, said state Sen. Glenn McConnell, the chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission. “But we will be examining it for any clue that might be there to help us solve the mystery.”
There are various theories why the sub sank. It could have been damaged by fire from the Housatonic or the sub’s crew was knocked out by the concussion from the blast that sank that ship. Or it could have been damaged by another Union vessel rescuing the Housatonic.
Studies show the crew died of a lack of oxygen and didn’t drown.more
The Hunley, This sub appears to have some things in common with the U-boats of W.W.I, 50 years later.
The Hunley, This sub appears to have some things in common with the U-boats of W.W.I, 50 years later.

A group of private citizens in New Orleans, including James McClintock, Baxter Watson, and Horace Hunley, got together to finance and design a submersible torpedo boat. Their first prototype, Pioneer, was completed, but had to be scuttled in Lake Pontchartrain soon after due to the fall of the city in 1862. The engineers fled to Mobile where they built a second prototype, American Diver. Mclintock experimented with different motive methods, including steam and battery power. However, in the end they went with a hand cranked drive. On its first time out, it was swamped and lost while under tow outside of Mobile Bay. Its location remains a mystery..
Months later, with additional investors and $15,000 ($300,000 today), they built their third submarine, which would later become known as the Hunley. It was hand cranked by a crew of 8, and used hand pumped ballast tanks, fore and aft, to submerge and surface. Soon, the Hunley was tested and demonstrated a successful attack against a dummy target using a towed contact torpedo. The military approved its use and put the Hunley on a train to Charleston.


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