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Press Release: Historic Submarine to Surface
in Charleston, SC Harbor

Press Release 6-2000: 3 August 2000

           On August 8, 2000, the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel in combat will surface for the first time in 136 years, thanks to modern technology. Since 1864, H.L. Hunley and its volunteer crew of nine have rested at the bottom of Charleston Harbor, shrouded in silt and mystery. What happened that chilly February night to cause the state-of-the-art submersible to sink following its historic engagement with the Union blockader, USS Housatonic?

           A team of underwater experts led by Dr. Robert S. Neyland, Hunley Project Director and Head, Underwater Archaeology Branch for the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C, directed the raising of H.L. Hunley. Naval Historical Center experts, and others, will seek to unravel the mystery surrounding the submarine’s final moments. H.L. Hunley is not only a time capsule of sorts, it is remarkable because its successful attack was not repeated until World War I.

           "The success of H.L. Hunley proved once and for all the great potential for submarine warfare," Neyland said.

           When recovery and conservation of H.L. Hunley is complete, she will be on display at the Charleston, SC Museum in a new wing built especially for this exhibit. Organizations participating in H.L. Hunley’s recovery include: Naval Historical Center; South Carolina Hunley Commission; National Park Service; South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology; Friends of the Hunley; and Oceaneering, one of the largest deep water salvage and recovery companies in the world.

POINT OF CONTACT: LT Steven T. Gibson, USN, Public Affairs Officer, Naval Historical Center, 202/433-0412.

Bow of H.L. Hunley For high resolution graphics (3.5 mb)






H.L. Hunley Spar Recovery. For high resolution graphics (3.5 mb)


Forward Hatch of H.L. Hunley with sandbags surrounding it. For high resolution graphics (3.5 mb)





Nut and bolt from H.L. Hunley's spar. For high resolution graphics (3.5 mb)

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3 August 2000