Save America's Treasure Grant - H. L. Hunley Submarine

Birth of modern submarine warfare

Photo of scientist at work on the H.L. Hunley
Scientist at work on the H.L. Hunley recovery
Friends of the Hunley

On February 17, 1864 the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley embarked on a mission that would forever mark its place in American history. Seven men led by Lt. George Dixon entered the experimental vessel, which was to become the first successful submarine in history. That night the Hunley rammed its spar torpedo into the hull of the Federal blockade ship USS Housatonic and sank it. However, minutes after its historic achievement, the H.L. Hunley and its crew vanished into the sea without a trace.

On August 8, 2000 the submarine was recovered from the harbor sea. Once recovered, the submarine was brought to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, South Carolina to undergo excavation in a controlled environment. With help from a $98,611 Save America's Treasures grant and a $5,000 grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, the Hunley will be preserved for future generations. This Civil War-era time capsule is open to tours and and is still being examined by scientists in its 90,000-gallon conservation tank.