Experts Unraveled The Mystery Of A Sunken Civil War Submarine

Surrounded by a Union naval blockade and cruising silently below the waterline, the crew of the submarine H. L. Hunley fired a torpedo towards an enemy ship. It was a direct hit. But even though the Confederate attack was successful, their celebration was short-lived. Something turned out to be very wrong, and in the waters off the coast of South Carolina, eight men looked death right in the face.

The vessel that would never return

For on that night in February 1864, lookouts awaited the Hunley’s triumphant return. But slowly, they realized that it would never come, even if the vessel appeared to keep sending out a signal. And for the next 130 years, the resting place of this historic submarine remained a mystery. Then, in 1995, the wreck was finally located, and experts began the task of unraveling the tragic story.

Far below the surface

Frustratingly, though, it was a further five years before the wreck of the Hunley was raised to the surface. And at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, SC, a team got to work restoring the vessel. But would they finally be able to solve the puzzle of what had happened to the submarine’s crew?

A sunken mystery

Over the years, a number of clues have emerged about what brought the Hunley’s men to a watery grave. But nobody has ever been able to determine exactly what sent the vessel down to the ocean floor. Now, however, researchers have made a startling discovery that may finally explain one of the Civil War’s most enduring mysteries.

North against South

So the story begins back in 1861 when the Civil War first broke out in the U.S. Outraged by President Abraham Lincoln’s progressive attitude and his anti-slavery stance, a number of states in the South attempted to secede. And for the next four years, forces from both sides engaged in a series of bloody battles across the country.