Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley


Photo #: NH 999  Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)

Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864). Sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1902, after a painting then held by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society Museum, Richmond, Virginia. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. (NH 999). 


The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship during wartime. On 17 February 1864, H.L. Hunley rammed her torpedo into the Union sloop-of-war Housatonic, sinking both ships off the entrance to Charleston Harbor. Housatonic lost two officers and three enlisted men. Hunley, however, sunk with all hands after the collision and was not seen again for 131 years. 

In 2000, H.L. Hunley was discovered after a 14-year search. Learn more about the discovery and recovery of H.L. Hunley on the NHHC Underwater Archaeology site page


Bust of H.L. Hunley

Bust of Captain Horace Lawson Hunley mounted on Tennessee white marble. "Captain Horace Lawson Hunley, designer of first successful submarine torpedo boat in naval history. B. Sumner Co., Tenn., 29 December 1823. H.L. Hunley drowned with his crew 15 October 1863, Charleston, South Carolina. CSS Hunley was raised and destroyed USS Housatonic, 17 February 1864, Charleston, South Carolina. Bust by B.J. Godwin Mitchell." Bust completed in 1965, based on wartime photograph.



Photo #: NH 53545  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)

Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864). Midships section drawing, after sketches by W.A. Alexander, who directed her construction. Key to numbered features is provided in Photo # NH 53544. (NH 53545)



Photo #: NH 58769  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)

Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864). Cutaway drawings published in France, based on sketches by William A. Alexander, who directed her construction. (NH 58769)               



CSS H.L. HUNLEY (1863-64)

Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-64) at Charleston, South Carolina, 6 December 1863. Original at Confederate Museum, Richmond, Virginia. (NH 63086)



USS HOUSATONIC (Sloop of war) 1861-1864.

Housatonic (Sloop-of-war) 1861-1864. 



The HUNLEY Plot in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston South Carolina

The Hunley Plot in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston South Carolina. Here rests at least 12 members of the crew of the Confederate submarine torpedo boat H.L. Hunley, victims of experiments and accidents before the submarine's historic sinking of the steam sloop-of-war, Housatonic.                          



CSS H.L. HUNLEY (1863-64)

CSS H.L. Hunley (1863-64) at Charleston, South Carolina, 2 December 1863. (NH 63087)



<p>Photo #: NH 53544 Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)</p>

Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864). Inboard profile and plan drawings, after sketches by W.A. Alexander, who directed her construction. Key to numbered features also includes entries for Photo # NH 53545. (NH53544)



Photo #: NH 91755  Horace Lawson Hunley

Horace Lawson Hunley (1823-1863) Plaque in his honor, erected at the Submarine Library, Groton, Connecticut, by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1960. He was one of the designers of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864) and lost his life in her on 15 October 1863. The 1828 birth date given on the plaque is incorrect. Courtesy of the Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. (NH 91755)



Photo #: NH 63084  Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)

Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864). Model built by Floyd Houston, New Suffolk, New York, and presented by him to the Naval Historical Foundation on 7 April 1960. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C. (NH 63084)



Submarine Pioneer Horace L. Hunley

Submarine Pioneer Horace L. Hunley. A photograph of the New Orleans cotton merchant, lawyer, legislator and submarine promoter and builder. He was lost on 15 October 1863 when the manually powered submarine named for him and built entirely by his means did not surface after a dive in Charleston Harbor. Subsequently the sub, raised and refitted, sank the Union steam sloop-of-war the Housatonic, the first time a submarine sank a warship in combat. (NH 48969)


Published: Thu Feb 13 16:51:50 EST 2020