The Hunley Team Celebrates
10th Anniversary of Submarine’s Recovery
CHARLESTON, SC — The week of August 2 – 8, 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the H. L. Hunley’s recovery off the coast of Charleston, S.C., after the historic submarine had been lost at sea for over a century.
To celebrate the milestone date of the world’s first successful combat submarine, the Warren Lasch Conservation Center will be offering 10 % discount on all official Hunley merchandise during weekend public tours on Saturday August 7th and Sunday
August 8th. Later this week, the Hunley Project will also make a major announcement about future plans for the legendary submarine.
Senator Glenn McConnell, Chairman of the Hunley Commission, and Warren Lasch, former Chairman of the Friends of the Hunley, were both on board one of the recovery boats, August 8, 2000, the day the Hunley was raised to the surface. “You could hear a collective gasp from everyone involved,” Lasch said. “We knew we were witnessing an important moment in history. But I don’t think any of us anticipated the scope of what would be achieved or the amazing drama that would unfold over the years immediately ahead.”
The Hunley has always been shrouded in mystery. After she sank an enemy vessel, she vanished. For over a century, treasure hunters and history buffs searched in vain for the submarine. In 1995, an expedition led by Clive Cussler’s National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) finally located the lost submarine and her eight-man crew.
Bringing the Hunley back to land was a major engineering feat. Then, after recovery, the Hunley’s scientific team faced the challenges of excavation and conservation. Federal, State and private groups have worked in partnership to support the Hunley’s historic journey.
In the decade since the recovery, the Hunley Project has compiled a long list of accomplishments and technological advancements, some of which were unexpected benefits of the historic effort. A few of the highlights of the last ten years include:
Excavation: The groundbreaking excavation of the Hunley’s crew compartment unearthed rare 19th century artifacts, including a gold coin that saved the life of the submarine’s Captain at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. The coin is curved from the indention of a bullet and inscribed with his initials along with the words “My Life Preserver.”
Crew Burial: In 2004, the eight-man crew was buried with full military honors alongside the other men who lost their lives on the submarine. Forensic and genealogical research to discover who they were has been highly successful, with a majority of the crew now identified.
Center of Excellence: The Warren Lasch Conservation Center–built to house and preserve the Hunley–has become an internationally recognized center of excellence for underwater archaeology and conservation of marine artifacts where other important pieces of American history will be saved and enjoyed by future generations.
Solving the Mystery of the Hunley’s Disappearance: Important forensic evidence and clues have been collected that will ultimately help answer questions about why and how the Hunley vanished.
Hunley Project Aids National Defense: Hunley research is aiding national defense initiatives and the Project’s study on the impact of x-rays on DNA were formally requested by the Mass Fatality Management Partnership, a multi-jurisdictional group of various federal, state and local governmental officials working on planning for homeland defense.
New Technologies: In collaboration with Clemson University, new technologies have been developed that will substantially reduce the time and cost needed to save other maritime treasures. This research may also have applications far beyond artifacts by helping modern industries deal with the challenges of metal corrosion for bridges, ships, and the metal infrastructure in chemical plants.
Tourism and Awareness for South Carolina: With limited weekends-only tour hours, over 500,000 visitors from all 50 states and over 20 countries have visited the former Charleston Naval Base to view the Hunley. This number of visitors surpasses many established, full-time museums in the United States.
The Hunley has also received major media attention, including movies, documentaries and feature coverage on National Geographic, The History Channel, Discovery Network, The Today Show and dozens of other media outlets. For a state where tourism represents a major portion of the economy, the international exposure has produced tremendous value for South Carolina.