In One Ear: What happened to the Hunley?

In One Ear: What happened to the Hunley?

North Coast Civil War and maritime history buffs will enjoy this: According to a story on Yahoo News (, the almost 40-foot long Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley now sits in a 76,000 gallon chemical bath in South Carolina – all part of an ongoing effort to find out why and how she sank, killing everyone aboard. The sub is pictured in an AP Photo by Bruce Smith.

A little background: In 1864, near the beginning of the Civil War, the Hunley and its crew of eight sank the Union blockade ship USS Housatonic with a torpedo in Charleston Harbor. But the sub never came back from its mission. Where she sank was a mystery for more than 200 years.

The wreckage was finally discovered in 1995, and in 2000, to great fanfare, the sub was raised and brought to the conservation lab. The “last Confederate funeral” was held in 2004 to bury the remains of the crew in Charleston. But what happened to them?

In 2013, the article says, “scientists announced it appears the charge that sank the Housatonic was attached to the 16-foot spar at the front of the sub. That could mean the crew was knocked unconscious by the explosion and died before awakening.” Others speculate that because the Hunley ran by means of a hand-cranked propeller, the crew ran out of air before they make it back to the coast.

Interested in the Hunley? Check out

“In a year we may be able to have the clues,” said Nestor Gonzalez-Pereyra of the Lasch Conservation Center. And hopefully, the answers.

— Elleda Wilson


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