Thursday, February 17, 2005


Thurs. marks exactly 141 years since sinking of Hunley


February 17, 2005

North Charleston - Thursday is the 141st anniversary of the sinking of the Confederate submarine Hunley.

Scientists still don't know exactly why the 40-foot sub went down after sinking the blockade ship Housatonic off Charleston in 1864, in the process becoming the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship.

The senior archaeologist on the Hunley project, Maria Jacobsen, says there's no smoking gun. And, she says scientists are working on a very cold case file as well.

Jacobsen says it will take time to put together dozens of clues. The Hunley was raised off Sullivans Island in 2000 and is being preserved at a lab in North Charleston.

Journalists on Thursday got a chance to see the crew bench removed earlier from the hand-cranked sub. Scientists say it's in good shape, likely meaning the sub for a time filled slowly with sand, which would have preserved the bench.

They say if water rushed in more quickly sea worms likely would have entered the sub and eaten away at the wood.

The eight-man crew of the Hunley was laid to rest Saturday last April. Thousands of re-enactors in Confederate gray and Union blue marched in a funeral procession a mile-and-a-half long to Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.


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