On February 17th, 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the first successful combat submarine in world history with the sinking of the USS Housatonic. After completing her mission, she mysteriously vanished and remained lost at sea for over a century. For decades, adventurers searched for the legendary submarine.
Over a century later, the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), led by New York Times-bestselling author Clive Cussler, finally found the Hunley in 1995. News of the discovery traveled quickly around the world. A ground breaking effort began to retrieve the fragile submarine from the sea. The Hunley Commission and Friends of the Hunley, a non-profit group charged with raising funds in support of the vessel, led an effort with the United States Navy that culminated on August 8th, 2000 with the Hunley’s safe recovery.
She was then delivered to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, a high-tech lab specifically designed to conserve the vessel and unlock the mystery of her disappearance. The Hunley has since been excavated and proved to be a time capsule, holding a wide array of artifacts that can teach us about life during the American Civil War. The submarine and the hundreds of artifacts found onboard are currently undergoing preservation work while archaeologists use the historical clues they have found to piece together the final moments of the Hunley and her crew.
The Hunley’s journey through time has been marked by innovation, courage and tragedy. Her against-all-odds tale has spanned the centuries and is one of the greatest maritime mysteries in recent history. This website follows the pioneering vessel from her inception during the American Civil War to the modern-day efforts surrounding her preservation and study.