Talk:H. L. Hunley (submarine)

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Former featured article candidate H. L. Hunley (submarine) is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
August 10, 2004 Featured article candidate Not promoted

old comments[edit]

The earlier 2 sinkings of the Hunley were in Charleston harbor. The Hunley attacked the USS Housatonic from Breech Inlet, between Sullivans Island and the Isle of Palms. Both it and the Housatonic sank in the Atlantic Ocean off Sullivans Island, not in Charleston harbor. The entrance to Charleston harbor is south of Sullivans Island. Breech Inlet is at the north end of the island.

What are the length and diameter of the ship? Rmhermen 19:18, Jul 23, 2004 (UTC)

"About 30 feet long, 4 feet wide and 5 feet deep" ("The Hunley", Mark K. Ragan, Narwhal Press Inc.)Ypacaraí 09:48, 2004 Oct 2 (UTC)

By examining Civil War records and conducting DNA testing with possible relatives, forensic genealogist Linda Abrams was able to identify the remains of Dixon and the four other men: Frank Collins, Joseph Ridgaway, and James A. Wicks.

Is this just a mistake or is there a name missing? Kate | Talk 00:48, 2004 Aug 5 (UTC)


I fixed the busted link in this sentence "This cemetery was earlier part of the Citadel's Physical Education department; part of the cemetery was under their football field."

But I'm not sure it has any real relevance to the rest of the article.Thatcher131 20:45, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


I visited the remains of the Hunley last year in Charleston and found out that since she sank before she was officially commissioned, she was never given the designation "CSS". Perhaps someone familiar with naval issues could research that for the article. Hal Jespersen 21:12, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe that is correct, although my father would know for sure. I can contact him in the real world, so to speak. She was privately financed and built under terms of a law that paid inventors 50% of the value of any Union ship sunk by means of a new invention. However after the first trials and deaths of the crews, the CS Navy took her over. So the CSS designation may be appropriate in principle if not in specific. What does the Hunley excavation website have to say? Thatcher131 21:31, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I didn't do an exhaustive search on the site, but doesn't seem to call her CSS. Hal Jespersen 22:05, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Don't know if she was commissioned or not myself, but I can say that the CSS designation seems to at the very least go back to 1921 and the publication of the "Offical Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series II Volume I." [1] The Hunley is listed as CSS Hunley on page 256. [2] But there's nothing on that page about her being commissioned. Fact is looked through a few of the pages I'm only finding a few ships mentioned as being commissioned, and that includes ships that were commissioned in the Confederate navy

Any unbiased review of the actions of the Confederate Government at the time the Hunley was shipped to Charleston, S.C., make it clear that the submarine was intended for service as a government vessel. All accounts, from the Official Records to Alexander's account, leave us in no doubt that by the time Dixon was operating the vessel, it was an official vessel of the Confederate forces. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:19:59, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

I don't have any evidence that CSS was widely used by the Confederate Navy. Ship prefixes are a relatively modern thing (USS wasn't standard until Teddy Roosevelt made it law). (talk) 13:11, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Then why does the Wikipedia page for CSS Virginia refer to her as CSS? As well as and and numerous other sources? Note also the Wikipedia pages for USS Monitor and USS Constitution (that's a whole lot earlier than Teddy Roosevelt's presidency). Please excuse me if I am VERY skeptical. Fnj2 (talk) 02:51, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

The Hunley was a privateer commandeered by the Confederate Army. It did not belong to the Confederate Navy and thus was never and should not now be called C.S.S. This is easily verified by checking with the Friends of the Hunley at the restoration site in North Charleston, which I did today.

Yes, Hunley was a VERY odd circumstance. She was built as a privateer, "came under the control" of the Confederate ARMY, and was manned partly by a Confederate Navy crew. I think the bottom line is unclear, but you can make a good case that CSS in not an appropriate prefix. Fnj2 (talk) 02:51, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

"The Wreck"[edit]

The section entitled "the wreck" actually describes the discovery of it. I found one article that may have found an intentional opening of the hatch sank the sub:

Found twice?[edit]

The search for Hunley ended in 1995, 132 years later, when best-selling author Clive Cussler, and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) found the submarine where E. Lee Spence had discovered it in 1970.

Um, what? It was found in 1995 after having been found in the same spot 25 years earlier? This needs clarification.-- 02:09, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, given that there was no GPS in 1970, plus the possibilty of the wreck shifting in storms or being covered over with silt, having to find it twice would not be unusual. Agree it needs clarification. Thatcher131 03:26, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Like User, I don't understand how something can be discovered twice. I hope readers will take the time to read my comments in the "Discovery section" and in "Discovery Revisited" on this page.HunleyFinder 16:05, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

If this logic is to be followed, the CSS H.L. Hunley was in fact found THREE times! It is true to state that the wreck was found at the spot where avocational archaeologist Lee Spence claimed to have found it in the early 1970s. As everyone knows, the last search for the submarine was conducted by the staff of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology at the University of South Carolina (SCIAA). The project, conducted in 1994, used funds provided by author Clive Cussler. Cussler and three contracted employees were part of the remote sensing team and did not dive during this search. The initial thirteen day search located two anomalies or 'targets" both candidates for the submarine. The search ended at this point. Later, in September of the same year, the SCIAA team returned to the two locations and identified one of them as the Hunley. Cussler was informed and the news was kept secret until funding could be arranged for the recovery. A member of the September team guided Cussler employees to the site in 1995 (the "third" discovery). Cussler announced his own "NUMA" discovery in June of the following year, a few days before the joint team had planned to make an announcement. Both parties were present at the actual announcement of the discovery. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:32:19, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

Unknown Crew?[edit]

Apart from the commander of the submarine, Lieutenant George E. Dixon, the identities of the volunteer crewmembers of the Hunley remained a mystery The article states that only Dixon is known of the crew, yet the premier Hunley restoration website lists the entire crew (and has for a long time) is there some reason this list was ignored? See here: Zurel Darrillian 17:16, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

It definitely needs a rewrite/update. Thatcher131 (talk) 14:33, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, good. I didn't want to just stick it in there in case there was some reason it was in dispute. If nobody else does it first I will in a few days. Zurel Darrillian 15:12, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, for me the problem is that I can't just add in the names to the existing section, it needs a rewrite, and I don't have the energy to do it right now. But there seems to be no reason no to do it. Thatcher131 (talk) 15:17, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, and I too have the same issue. :) Zurel Darrillian 15:20, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

There are three references in this section to the number of crew and their roles.

a) "The Hunley was designed to be hand powered by a crew of eight: seven to turn the hand-cranked propeller and one to steer and direct the boat."

b) "Confederate Navy Lieutenant John A. Payne of CSS Chicora volunteered to be Hunley's skipper, and a volunteer crew of seven men from Chicora and CSS Palmetto State was assembled to operate the submarine."

c) "On October 15, 1863 the Hunley failed to surface during a mock attack, killing its inventor and seven other crewmen."

However, the cutaway drawing by Alexander shows 8 crewmen turning the propeller crank and no one steering or directing the boat.

Has anyone found any drawings/schematics of the actual Hunley as described (i.e. 7 crew to turn the crank and one to steer)? 19:40, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps Alexander's drawings were as the Hunley was intended, versus "as built"...either way, I believe the actual number of crewmen found aboard her when the sub was raised indicates the complement intended...Engr105th 04:58, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

I tagged a paragraph in the Crew section as needing Citation. I believe the information is in he bibliography entries but it is not sourced properly in the article. -- (talk) 18:37, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

==== the number of crew is unagreed (7/8 seamen + commander) and also the number of kills (the Britannica gives 34). It would be very doubt-cutting to state how many men were recovered in the wreck.pietro2A00:1620:C0:64:21C:61FF:FE03:A4C (talk) 10:30, 22 January 2014 (UTC) sorry, next time i will read more carefully the text2A00:1620:C0:64:21C:61FF:FE03:A4C (talk) 10:41, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Too much clutter[edit]

This talk page has more cheesy useless vanity tags than it does actual talk content. The whole vanity tag thing has gone way too far. All of these WikiProjects seem hell-bent on slapping tags on as many pages as possible, and most of these tags have very little to do with the content of the page. This needs to stop. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 19:58, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Why remove tags from legitimate projects? Who is the arbiter of "clutter" and what projects are legitimate? If there is this much concern then maybe we need to eliminate the WikiProjects from Wikipedia altogether. If a subject falls within a project, then it should be tagged. I don't care if there's 100 tags on a page. The fact remains that the Hunley IS listed in the National Register of Historic Places; she IS a shipwreck; she IS an important part of military history; she IS a part of Carolina history. I'm sorry if this offends someone's esthetic sensibilities or hurts their feelings. Einbierbitte 18:49, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Discovery section[edit]

The section on the ship's discovery is totally biased in favor of Dr. Spence. I don't know any details, but I know that this is a complicated issue and that someone should really try to resolve it. The problem is that Dr. Spence himself contributes to Wikipedia regularly (as HunleyFinder and anonymously) and has probably written that section of the article. I thought I had to put the POV tag on, given the circumstances. TysK 19:49, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Dr. Spence wrote most of it. I was watching but don't have the time at the moment to fix it (which would entail a lot of library work for me.) We should treat Dr. Spence with some sensitivity, but ultimately the article should state no more than what reliable, independent sources will bear. Thatcher131 20:45, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't understand why it is complicated. If you go to's%20discovery%20sworn%20affidavit.htm there are copies of letters AND affidavits from the 70s showing that Spence was saying that he had found the Hunley, that he did try to get the permissions to raise it. There is even an affidavit from a guy who went to the site and went down and saw it. What more do you want? A T-Shirt saying I touched the Hunley in 1975?? Alex20850 21:11, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

No, but Spence writing the article conflicts with Wikipedia standards, and, as such, it should be rewritten. I do not, unfortunately, know enough on the subject to undertake such a project myself. -Icydesign 08:18, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I discovered the Hunley in 1970. Cussler claims NUMA discovered it in 1995. I have never understood how someone else could subsequently claim to have discovered it, when my location had never been lost. In fact my location had been published in a number of locations including a book that came out only months before Cussler announced to the world that NUMA had discovered it.

I have lots of documentation for my claims. For instance, if you look up the Hunley on the National Register of Historic Places and then examine the actual document that was submitted by the National Park Service in 1976 you will see that the NPS identifies me by name as the source of their location information.

In a recent letter from the NPS their historian wrote "Part of the National Register nomination process requires a exact definition of the physical boundary of the property being nominated. We need to have the "place" exactly pinpointed in order to list it and in order to effectively protect it."

If you convert my location given in the National Register to the same datum used in the 1996 verification of the Hunley, you will find an apparent discrepency of less than 52 meters (or about 0.021" if plotted on the standard NOAA chart of the area). Shipwreck symbols on the same chart are approximately 0.25" in length. To put 52 meters into perspective, that distance is less than the length of the salvage vessel used in the Hunley's recovery in August of 2000. Furthermore, my location as reported by NPS in 1976 was accurate to well within the government's published tolerances for GPS that were in effect at least as recently as 1997 (as per the official "Hunley Site Assessment" published in 1997 that reported 100 meters as the then acceptable margin of error for GPS). I actually beat the government's minimum standard for GPS even though GPS didn't yet exist in the early 1970s and even though I had plotted the location from a rocking boat anchored over the wreck site by using only a magnetic compass to obtain bearings and a sextant that to turn angles on the water towers and lighthouses which angles I then used to plot the Hunley's position on a chart to obtain the longitude and latitude.

If you go back and check my wording of the competing discovery claims, you will see that I was very careful to be neutral. I did that because I truly respect Wikipedia's rules. I did not delete someone's prior mention of NUMA's claims nor did I denigrate them. I am mentioning NPS and the National Register in an effort to point out that there is evidence in old government files (now published on the web) which long predate NUMA's 1995 discovery claim and which absolutely support my discovery claim. Look at them. You be the judge. Then write an unbiased account. I would greatly prefer that to having to defend my claims myself.

I am sorry if some people do not understand why someone who made such an important discovery in 1970, and followed both the intent and the letter of the law with respect to historic shipwrecks, and did not damage or disurb the wreck, and who donated his rights to the the wreck to the State (at the State's request) would want to be properly credited with the discovery.HunleyFinder 03:04, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion ignores the verifiable facts that the search was conducted by a team from the University of South Carolina that was partially funded by Clive Cussler. Cussler and Wilbanks were present during a thirteen day search in the Summer of 1994 as a remote sensing crew. The project found two "targets" by the time it closed down. Later that year, in September, with Cussler's full knowledge, the University team went back to check the two targets and reported that one of them was the Hunley. The find was planned to be secret until June of 1995 when funds could be raised for a recovery effort. Cussler announced that he had found the submarine thirty days before a planned joint announcement by the University, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and Cussler, later NUMA. All three groups participated in the project, not Cussler/NUMA alone. The University team acknowledged that it used Lee Spence's research, along with multiple other sources and many years of SCV research, to actually locate the submarine. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mark Newell PhD (talkcontribs) 22:11:21, August 19, 2007 (UTC).


Does anybody know the depth at which the Hunley was found? I vaguely remember reading it somewhere and I think it's an important thing to include in the article. Splamo 16:02, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

According to an article in the Confederate Verteran (Vol. 6, 1996) it was found in 28 feet of water (p. 38) Islandist 19:38, 11 May 2007 (UTC) (Martin)

There is a diurnal tide that averages slightly over 5' between extreme low and high in the general area. The low water depth calculated at the site the day the wreck was discovered in 1970 was 29'. Although believed accurate, that was a rough estimate based on a commercial grade versus scientific depth finder and involved using the captain's estimate of the depth the transduecer on the vessel hull versus actual measurement. NOAA charts of the area give the mean low water depth as 27'. The depth shown on an 1865 chart of the location was 29'. So the depth has remained fairly stable for over 100 years even though the area is subject to minor fluctuations due to naturally shifting sands. It should be noted that the bottom is not stable enough to allow permanent growth and is a series of small sand ridges caused by the action of the tide and localized currents. The Hunley was not covered over by an accumulation of water borne sediment, as many have incorrectly theorized and tried to date, but rather subsided into the bottom due to natural scouring (washing away of sand under edges of the wreck), the weight of the iron hull, the limited surface area of the resting portion of the hull, and the unstable nature of the bottom, which is composed of sand, broken shell, mud, and silt. HunleyFinder 14:28, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

"Groundbreaking Submarines" box[edit]

I find it odd that the Hunley's not listed in the "Groundbreaking Submarines" box included in the article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:09, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

Interesting point...I had noticed that as well. I'm waffling however on whether the Hunley was "groundbreaking". She was obviously the first sub to sink an enemy vessel in combat - but the problem is that early subs were intended to do so - for example, the Turtle failed to sink or damage its target, but that doesn't bear much on the technical aspect.
Hunley was human-powered. If you look on the Groundbreaking list, you'll see the Plonguer was constructed several months earlier - the first mechanically powered sub. So the Hunley was "outdated" before it was constructed, in a sense. Human powered subs had already been proven by the time of the Hunley (ex: Turtle, Brandtaucher).
I dunno. Would be nice to call it "groundbreaking" but I'm not so sure...??? Engr105th 13:29, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Had something gone wrong and it not have succeeded, perhaps the use of submarines would've been abandoned. I believe it is groundbreaking, as it became the first, well, "successful" submarine (for what the original was intended for.) I believe it could be considered so. I think that being the first submarine to sink a ship is quite an important step in the timeline of military submarine history. Zchris87v 06:35, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Additionally, An article here [3] from National Geographic states that the Hunley was "a technological marvel that changed the world." I find it hard to believe that's not "groundbreaking". Zchris87v 07:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, I don't much care one way or the other whether its on that "groundbreaking" list - but the NG article statement sound an awful lot like journalistic license. What, exactly, was groundbreaking about any particular part of the Hunley? (I'm talking its technology or design - superior metallurgy? the snorkel? Depth gauge? Far as I know, the designers did not use anything not already known at the time)...just food for thought...Engr105th 19:34, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
I can see your reasoning, and I guess it's not groundbreaking in any manufacturing sense of the word. I do think that "important" would be a much better term, as this would certainly belong on a timeline in submarine (and especially submarine warfare) history. Zchris87v 04:18, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Preservation efforts[edit]

Should a section be included about the efforts to preserve the sub? It appears, from reading this [4] article, that the process may be delayed because of a U.S. Navy ruling that the sub must be soaked in a certain solution to remove sea salts. In addition, it states that the project was apparently taken over by Clemson University, with a deadline of having preservation processes complete by 2009, with a consequence of losing the research laboratory if efforts aren't completed. First time I heard about this, but it seems like it was a while back. Zchris87v 07:02, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Discovery Revisited[edit]

I understand that there is controversy about the discovery of the Hunley. But why remove all information on the original claimant and only have a glowing rendition of the NUMA discovery? This is supposed to be unbiased. I re-edited that section and added links to the documents. I personally don’t see why there is a dispute. The state thanked Mr. Spence for gifting the wreck to them and the Federal Government acknowledged the discovery in the 1970’s. Both sides of the story need to be told fairly and impartially. I find it disturbing that someone feels the need to purge the information on previous discovery claims when they are added.

Rickdrew 20:39, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Please also read see my previous discussion above in the original section on Discovery. I had published the Hunley's correct location in my various books, maps and letters to government officials, and my discovery claim was well known even to NUMA years before they first claimed to have discovered it. My location for the Hunley (identifying me by name as the source of the coordinates) had even been used by the National Park Service when they nominated Hunley for the National Register for Historic Places in 1976, almost twenty years before Cussler's 1995 claim that NUMA had discovered just discovered it.

At the same time, it should also be noted that it was largely because of Cussler's rightfully famous name and the attention his involvement drew to the Hunley that the government finally got interested in doing something about visiting and raising the historic wreck. Without Cussler's involvement, the Hunley would likely still be sitting on the bottom. So, I personally believe, and have been so stating for over a decade, that both Cussler and NUMA deserve immense credit for their respective roles, just as many others (such as Dr. Mark Newell, an underwater archaeologist then with SCIAA, who was the official director of the 1994/1995 SCIAA/NUMA Hunley expedition and not Cussler or Wilbanks as many incorrectly assume) deserve credit for their important roles.

However, I personally think that NUMA should have been credited only with the much needed independent "verification" of the wreck's identity rather than with "discovery." Verification is an extremely important part of the discovery process and this should have been ample credit. To not properly credit people with their discoveries discourages others from reporting their finds and could lead to lost information, looting and destruction of sites. I for one would not have published the Hunley's location, nor would I have donated my rights to the wreck to the State of South Carolina had I known that someone else would be credited with its discovery and that I would be made out by some individuals to look like a liar and a looter. I definitely discovered the wreck of the Hunley, the facts speak for themselves. I don't have the ability to go back in time and manufacture evidence. And, I am certainly not a psychic who picked the correct location out of the recesses of my mind. Not to ignore sworn statements and affidavits of those who worked with me, the proof of my discovery is self-evident and demonstrable in the sheer accuracy of my reported location and my insistence that I had discovered Hunley at that location even when Cussler initially claimed it had been found by NUMA well over a mile from my coordinates. (Note: The Hunley's official location was not released by SCIAA until after the wreck was raised in 2000 and it was only at that date that I finally had proof that my location and the official location were, by NOAA's published mapping standards, effectively the same. Yet during that five year period I had not faltered on my discovery claim.)

Please, before someone attacks me again, either here or on another site, just look at all of the evidence with an open mind. My career has already been damaged enough by certain bureaucrats and politicians who have placed their own interests first and/or have a political axe to grind and/or by well intentioned but misinformed individuals who, outside of their area of expertese, have made statements that simply don't reflect the facts and/or have ignored other important and revelant facts. Just as bad are those who have used poor quality or inapplicable science to justify their arguments against my discovery, even though some have done so with unfortunately ignored caveats that their own data is seriously flawed and thus unreliable. So, please be accurate and use an identifiable screen name linked to your true identity. Only then can people accurately judge your contribution. Just as important, please do not make personal attacks on Cussler or NUMA thinking you are helping me. You would not be. As I stated above both Cussler and NUMA deserve immense credit. Although I certainly don't agree with their discovery claim and personally feel it has caused certain problems and damages, I absolutely believe that both Cussler and NUMA have played a very important role in promoting public interest in the Hunley and deserve immense public applause and credit for that. HunleyFinder 16:02, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia has certain guidelines regarding original research, self-published information, and reliable sources. Wikipedia is a tertiary source that reports the conclusions of others. The goal here is not to either lionize or demonize either Cussler/NUMA or Spence, but to report the facts as others have already reported them. This is definitely an area that requires care and study and I am sorry that I don't have the time to work on it right now, as it is an interesting topic and I have access to some good sources. Thatcher131 17:56, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Not sunk in Charleston Harbor[edit]

I noticed that in two places it says the Hunley and Housatonic were sunk in Charleston Harbor. While the Hunley did sink twice in Charleston Harbor prior to its mission on Feb 17, 1864, the location of the attack on the Housatonic was four miles out to sea, off Sullivan's Island, near the entrance to Maffitt's Channel, not in the harbor. 17:51, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Hunley report photo[edit]

In the DANFS article for USS Housatonic, there is a photo of a report on the sinking here. The photo is not that readable but it is in the public domain and could be used in this article. --Brad (talk) 21:13, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

32 Confederate deaths?[edit]

I found the article confusing as to the number of Confederate sailors lost while operating the HL Hunley. I counted two sinkings during trials, with 3 survivors. Since the boat had a crew of 8, I would expect the number of lives lost to be 21 rather than 32. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

I just read the article (7 June 2010) and I noticed this sentence "The Confederates lost 4,000 crewmen in three sinkings during the CSS Hunley's career." Obviously this can not be correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:46, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Major corrections to opening section[edit]

I have just had to make several major corrections to the opening section of this article. While the rest of the article appears to be accurate, the opening section contained several significant misstatements that contradicted the correct information later in the article. Since a student doing research for homework would read the opening summary first, and possibly read no further, this is an egregious example of Wikipedia's unreliability, and especially startling given that (according to this discussion page) Dr. Spence is a Wikipedia editor. (See also the previous user's comment!) Gildir (talk) 21:55, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I would like to comment that the egregious example of Wikipedia's unreliability is a good reason that editors seeking to correct articles, thus removing such unreliability, is important. Wikipedia is a continual work in progress and a spectacular example of the modern age of online information vehicles. This editor, although also a critic, needs to be awarded a "historical preservation" barnstar. Otr500 (talk) 08:26, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Articles of importance to expand[edit]

I have added this article to others on my list of articles with high importance to research and expand. Otr500 (talk) 08:26, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Condition of bodies?[edit]

Were the bodies of the crew just skeletons at the time of recovery?? The article says something about brain tissue. -- (talk) 22:34, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Fair to call it a submarine?[edit]

I realize in broadly general terms the Hunley was the first combat "submarine", but by modern standards she would accurately be described as a semi-submersible, since that was the only role in which she ever showed any seaworthiness at all.

Unless we count failed attempts at dives that killed the entire crew and necessitated her being dredged off the bottom of the ocean, she was no more a true submarine than the USS Monitor. Her snorkels and viewports needed to be above water so they could draw air and see where they were going; she was mostly controllable when floating under her own buoyancy just under the surface, but if we're being honest here, her diving gear was beyond rudimentary and simply didn't work. She wasn't technologically capable of handling a self-contained subsurface dive, as H.L Hunley and his second crew unfortunately found out while practicing precisely the kind of mock attack that required such a dive. And that was under controlled, organized conditions in broad daylight! It went "submarine" alright, it just never came back up... In fact, General Beauregard was so dismayed with losing Hunley that he ordered the (third) crew to scrap the whole concept of diving and simply attack clandestinely on the surface at night with the spar torpedo, which was angled downwards to accomodate her inability to dive.

Thus I ask, in what sense other than in service to the Lost Cause is Hunley fairly considered "the first submarine" vs. "the first attempt at a submarine"? Vintovka Dragunova (talk) 23:29, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

From an engineering point of view, you're probably right that the H.L. Hunley should be considered more like one of Lilienthal's gliders than like the first Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk. It marked a significant development in submarine engineering, but was not entirely a success (Lilienthal died in a stall) and did not actually submerge and resurface (similar to a glider not having an engine for sustained flight). The Hunley did, however, 'succeed' in in the sense of sinking an enemy ship. Maybe it should be referred to as the first semi-submersable to be used successfully in combat, where 'success' is used in a qualified sense? Vehicle reclassification should still not diminish the sacrifice made by those who served as crew. PoqVaUSA (talk) 07:42, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Who found the Hunley?[edit]

The article is not very clear.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:13, 28 June 2013


In the "Recovery of wreckage" section the article states, "in a specially designed tank of fresh water to await conservation.". This needs updating, and I did read where the words "fresh water" were used, but those words mean naturally occurring water and the Hunley was placed in specially prepared water using a Impressed current cathodic protection system (ICCP), to inhibit further corrosion, which is monitored continuously for pH, temperature, chlorides, conductivity, and oxygen.

  • There was comments concerning submarine verses submersible and a military history web page, in the opening paragraph, refers to the Hunley as a submersible.
  • The article needs updating as most of the information is from circa 2000. Otr500 (talk) 08:14, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Dr. Mark Newell comments on finding Hunley[edit]

In this YouTube clip, Dr. Mark Newell, when asked how the Hunley was found, states that they had to search "50 square miles" of ocean.

If true, this would certainly refute the claim that Dr Newell had been supplied the location from a gentleman (that I won't name) claiming to have found the Hunley or that Dr Newells team only went out to "verify" the location. Verifying a location should not require searching 50 square miles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

use of word enemy is biased, wikipedia must be neutral[edit]

There are some who are bitter that the Confederates lost. That's why they like to sneak the words enemy warship to this article.

Wikipedia is neutral. It doesn't call one side the enemy.

Is there any proof that any submarine sunk any ship earlier? No. Therefore, the Hunley was the first submarine to sink a ship....end of story. It would be different if another submarine accidentally sank another ship in the same navy first. If so, the neutral way would be to write that the Hunley was the first sub to sink a ship in combat.

Stephanie Bowman (talk) 21:19, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

I feel forced to exclude a priori that enemy may mean "of the opposite side". the reader should be trusted to be able to understand fairly these words. pietro spizzo31.194.186.138 (talk) 10:39, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

NUMA vs. Spence Lawsuits: Noteworthy?[edit]

I see this page contains nothing about the lawsuits NUMA and E. Lee Spence filed against each other regarding their separate claims about finding the Hunley. Is this noteworthy for inclusion on Wikipedia's Hunley page? If so, does it warrant a separate section or should it be included in the section about the discovery and recovery of the Hunley?TH1980 (talk) 20:22, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

I think I saw the article length was closing on 40k. I would think some mention would be alright but not a section. Otr500 (talk) 00:25, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I've gone and made a succinct, impartial entry about the litigation.TH1980 (talk) 02:19, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Cheers. —cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 17:33, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Archive of link was also dead. Replaced it with a link to the same AP story in USA Today and its archive. Mojoworker (talk) 19:44, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

R.G. Skerrett's drawing of H. L. Hunley[edit]

Conrad Wise Chapman's 1864 painting
R.G. Skerrett's 1902 drawing

The drawing of H. L. Hunley by R.G. Skerrett, featured in the infobox, is almost certainly not based on a photograph taken in 1863 by George S. Cook. Per the description, it is based on a painting then held by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society Museum, Richmond, Virginia. That painting is Conrad Wise Chapman's Submarine Torpedo Boat H.L. Hunley, Dec. 6, 1863 at the American Civil War Museum (see the history section re: the Confederate Memorial Literary Society). A photo of the Hunley by George S. Cook may exist, but there doesn't appear to be any record of it at the Library of Congress or the Naval History and Heritage Command, and Chapman makes no mention of it in his notes of the painting.

I am replacing the infobox image with Conrad Wise Chapman's original painting. MrFrosty2 (talk) 00:39, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Excellent Article about finding of Hunley[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:30, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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I replaced the failed deadlink archive attempts with a working link. Mojoworker (talk) 21:16, 21 July 2016 (UTC)