Horace Hunley - captain
Thomas W. Park
Charles L. Sprague
For the submarine's second attempt to attack the Union Blockade, Hunley convinced the Confederate Navy to man the sub with a crew from Mobile who were familiar with the Hunley's operations. Hunley went straight to where the submarine was built, Park and Lyons machine shop in Mobile, to enlist a new crew to man the vessel. Thomas W. Park, son of the co-owner of Park and Lyons, joined the crew and made his way to Charleston. The other crewmen, also thought to be from Mobile, possibly were employees in the machine shop.
Even their experience proved futile. On October 15, 1863, the Hunley again sank while performing a routine diving exercise. All eight men on board, including Hunley, succumbed to the depths. Although Hunley was in charge of the sub's operations, he was not part of her crew. It is not known why he was at the helm when the sub sank for the second time.
She disappeared beneath the water in a normal fashion. After scanning the surface for what seemed like hours, it slowly became clear that the Hunley and her full crew of eight were lost. No one survived, including her namesake, Horace Hunley.
Again the Confederacy recovered the Hunley from the ocean floor, but bad weather meant divers could not get down to the ill-fated Hunley for days. When they finally put on their heavy copper diving helmets and submerged to the frigid muddy bottom, they were shocked to find the vessel with her bow buried deep in the mud with her hull protruding at about a 30º angle. It looked as if the Hunley had literally plowed nose first into the black mud.
The H.L. Hunley was found stuck nose down in the mud after her second sinking.
(Image courtesy of Dan Dowdey).
If the crew had been able to close the forward sea valve, the freezing water
that had already entered the ballast tank and spilled over the top could
have been bailed back into the compartment and pumped into the sea. In the
darkness and confusion that followed the impact with the ocean floor, the
valve handle must have fallen off the stem and become lost beneath the
bodies that had been thrown into the forward area.
As icy water and internal pressure steadily rose within the vessel, panic would have gripped the terrified crewmen. Beneath nine
fathoms, hopelessly stuck in the mud, their shouts for help were soon silenced by the biting cold water at the black bottom of Charleston Harbour.
After a search and salvage operation was put into place the day after the sinking, the new volunteer crew was put under the command of Lt. George E. Dixon. After months of repairs, re-modification and practice missions, the Hunley was ready to attack
The Civil War
The First Crew
The Second Crew
The Third Crew
The Historic Mission
Complete The Journey