Visit the First Successful Combat Submarine in World History that Mysteriously Vanished

It remained lost at sea for over a century.

This one is for the history lovers and Lowcountry explorers! Visit the Hunley and see the world’s first combat submarine along with amazing artifacts found onboard during the excavation of the crew compartment.

The Hunley Project

The night of February 17th, 1864, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley attacked and sank the USS Housatonic off the coast of Charleston. She then mysteriously vanished with her crew of eight. That night, history was made and a mystery was born. The Hunley became the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship. But why had she suddenly disappeared? What caused her to sink? And would she ever be found? Lost at sea for over a century, the Hunley was located in 1995 by author Clive Cussler and raised on August 8th, 2000. The innovative hand-cranked vessel was delivered to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, where an international team of scientists are at work to conserve the submarine for future generations and piece together clues to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

The Mystery

The disappearance of the H. L. Hunley is one of the greatest mysteries in maritime history. Shortly after sinking the USS Housatonic on February 17th, 1864, the Hunley vanished without a trace. For more than a century, history buffs and adventurers speculated on the legendary submarine’s fate while divers searched for the wreck in the waters off Charleston.  When the Hunley was found in 1995, and then raised in 2000, many hoped the answer would finally be within grasp.

The archaeological examination of the wreck has provided tremendous insight into the pioneering submarine’s operation and offered many clues into the Hunley’s final moments.  Still, a complex puzzle has emerged with evidence sometimes creating more questions than answers.   We are closer to discovering the cause for the Hunley’s disappearance, but there is still no clear explanation.

The Hunley Project is conducted through a partnership with Friends of the Hunley, the South Carolina Hunley Commission, Clemson University Restoration Institute, Naval History and Heritage Command, and the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority.


To order tickets to see the Hunley during the weekend tours, click here to order online.

Friends of the Hunley
1250 Supply St.
Charleston, SC 29405


Text and historical facts provided by the official website of The Friends of the Hunley | Video created in partnership with The Friends of the Hunley