The wreck of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was discovered early in May, 1995, off Sullivan's Island, South
Carolina. The 40-foot Hunley sank in the aftermath of her maiden attack on February 17, 1864, after ramming the Union
warship USS Housatonic with a harpoon torpedo mounted on an iron shaft extending from the bow. All nine men aboard the
Hunley were lost. The wreck of the Hunley is considered priceless because of its historic significance--it was one of the
first submarines, and the first to be used successfully in warfare.
Documents indicate that the Hunley was propelled by a human powered direct-drive shaft extending along the length of the
vessel. The harpoon torpedo mounted on the bow was designed to be driven into the wooden hull of opposing ships, after
which the Hunley would back off and detonate the charge from a distance using a lanyard. Survivors from the Housatonic,
which sank in minutes, saw these events occur, confirming the success of the Hunley's attack. Their last sight of the Hunley
was as she reversed her course and returned towards Charleston Harbor. The Hunley never arrived.
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