Sunday, February 16, 2014

H. L. Hunley Sinks the USS Housatonic 150 -- February 16, 2014

I have always been interested in early hand-powered submarines like David Busnhell's Turtle and Robert Fulton's Nautilus. 

150 years ago tomorrow, on 17-February-1864, Confederate boat HL Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship when she attacked the USS Housatonic, a steam sloop of war, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.  Five men died on the Housatonic and the crew of eight in the Hunley died when the submarine failed to return to base for unknown reasons.  Hunley had already killed five of her first crew and all of her second crew of eight, including inventor Horace Hunley, during trials. 

The submarine was located in 1995 and raised from the bottom in 2000. 

The Union Navy built a hand-powered submarine, the USS Alligator, but it never saw combat.  In 1863, the French had launched Plongeur, which was powered by compressed air. 

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