Friends of the Hunley, Inc.
Board of Directors
Chairman – Sam W. Howell, IV
Lewis F. Gossett
Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler
Ex Officio Directors
Congressman Joe Wilson
Mr. Ted Turner
The Hunley Commission
Chairman - Sen. Daniel Verdin III
Counsel – John P Hazzard V
Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster
Sen. John Courson
Rep. Harry B. (Chip) Limehouse
Rep. Eric Bedingfield
Rep. Brian White
the night of February 17, 1864, the H.L. Hunley embarked on a dangerous
mission that would forever mark her place in history.
men, led by Lt. George Dixon, entered an experimental vessel that was to become
the first successful submarine in world history, with a mission to sink an enemy
ship, the USS Housatonic. That
night, the Hunley rammed her spar torpedo into the hull of the Housatonic. She then surfaced long enough for her crew to signal their
comrades on the shore of Sullivanís Island with a blue magnesium light,(or
lantern) indicating a successful mission. The shore crew stoked their signal
fires and anxiously awaited the Hunley's safe return. But minutes after
her historic achievement, the Hunley and all hands onboard vanished into
the sea without a trace.
That night history was made.
At the same moment, a mystery was born. The Hunley became
the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship, a feat as important as
the first airplane flown by the Wright brothers.
But why had she suddenly disappeared?
What caused her to sink? And
would she ever be found?
Today, well over a century after Lt. Dixon and his courageous crew vanished,
the South Carolina Hunley Commission and a private, non-profit group called
the Friends of the Hunley are solving the mystery of the Hunley like
a puzzle that reveals new information one piece at a time.
They are engaged in the single most important underwater archaeological
expedition of the century.
The Hunley Commission was created by the State
of South Carolina to acquire, recover, and preserve the H.L. Hunley
submarine for public display. The
Commission is made up of nine members, three of whom are appointed by
the Governor, three of whom are appointed by the speaker of the House,
and three of whom are appointed by the President Pro Tempore of
the Senate. The Hunley Commission has entered into a Programmatic Agreement
with the U.S. Naval Historical Center, the primary trustee of the H.L.
Hunley for the federal government, to conserve and ultimately display
the H.L. Hunley submarine as well as bury the remains of the brave
The Hunley Commission has created the Friends
of the Hunley, Inc. as a 501(c)(3) corporation to aid in raising funds
for the recovery, conservation, and ultimate exhibition of this historic
vessel. The Hunley Commission appoints
members of the Friends of the Hunley.
Friends of the Hunley is a non-profit organization
dedicated to helping the H.L. Hunley complete her historic journey
home. The goals of the Friends of the
Hunley are: to recover the remains of the brave men who gave their lives
and honor them with the proper burial that they earned; to solve the mystery
of that first ever submarine attack in 1864; and to conserve one of the
greatest, most sought-after artifacts in the history of naval warfare.