Civil War Submarine

The wooden bench from the Civil War Confederate submarine, the H.L. Hunley, completed its conservation treatment at the MAC Lab this spring. The first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship, the Hunley successfully used a torpedo against the USS Housatonic in 1864. The hand-cranked submarine rammed the explosive charge (which was projected from the Hunley by a pole) into the Housatonic’s starboard side and sank the massive warship. Shortly afterwards, the Hunley also sank with eight crew members on board. The submarine (a “secret weapon” of the Confederacy) was certainly ahead of its time: it would not be until the First World War that submarines were used commonly in warfare. Archaeologists and conservators from North Charleston, South Carolina, raised the Hunley in 2000 and conservation efforts have been ongoing. The MAC Lab’s conservation of the submarine’s benches marks the first time that any artifact from the Hunley has been conserved outside of South Carolina – and we are very proud to have been entrusted with the task! The submarine’s bench is currently packed for transport back to North Charleston.

Eight men turned the propeller using a handcrank. Maximum speed was 4 knots.
Outside air was provided by two four-foot pipes. The hull contained a maximum
of ½ hour of air.

Artist’s conception of the Hunley as it lay on the sea floor before recovery.

A wallet recovered from the Hunley.

Pocket watch belonging to the commanding officer of the Hunley, Lt. George Dixon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s