160 Years Since the Hunley Made Waves as the First Combat Submarine

Today, February 17, 2024, marks a pivotal moment in naval history. 160 years ago, on this day in 1864, the Hunley submarine achieved a historic feat by sinking an enemy warship, becoming the world’s first successful combat submarine. However, following this groundbreaking achievement, both the submarine and its crew vanished without a trace, leaving behind a legacy and a mystery that endured for over a century.

Thanks to the relentless efforts of treasure hunters and historians, the Hunley was finally located in 1995 by an expedition led by Clive Cussler’s National Underwater Maritime Agency (NUMA). Resting about 4 miles off the coast of Charleston, 30 feet below the surface, the Hunley was raised completely intact on August 8, 2000, in a remarkable engineering feat.

Now undergoing a meticulous excavation and conservation process, the Hunley serves as a time capsule from the 19th century, holding invaluable historical treasures and the remains of its brave crew. Partnering with Clemson University, scientists are working tirelessly to preserve this legendary submarine, extracting harmful salts from its iron skin to prevent decay.

The Hunley’s story continues to inspire innovation and scientific advancements, pushing the boundaries of historical exploration. Important forensic evidence collected during the excavation offers hope of solving the enduring maritime mystery surrounding its disappearance.

The Hunley lab, now a center of excellence run by Clemson University, showcases cutting-edge technologies developed to conserve maritime treasures efficiently. Moreover, the submarine serves as an educational beacon, attracting visitors from across the globe to learn about history, archaeology, and science firsthand.

Join us in commemorating this historic milestone and witnessing the ongoing efforts to preserve the legacy of the Hunley. Click the arrow below to watch the video and delve deeper into the remarkable story of the world’s first successful combat submarine.

Posted by News Release