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Key Clue Emerges in Sinking of Confederate Submarine

H.L. Hunley – the first marine to sink an enemy ship in the history, met some new clues which may help out to find the reason behind the sinking. The federal submarine was made of almost 40 feet bulletproof iron. The Confederate submarine had a crew of eight and despite its fame, it was too dangerous to be inside it.

The submarine remained functional during the Civil War for the period of 8 months. And during that time, it killed 30 men and sank three times as well. It was also reported that the submarine also killed its inventor when it was in operation from 1863 to 1864.

The painting of submarine Hunley made by Conrad Wise Chapman

Before sinking for the third and final time, it plunged a torpedo. From the centuries, the military historians are puzzled over the final sinking of Hunley. Back in 1995, the submarine was found on the floor of the ocean after 130 years of sinking.

It was then brought to the surface in 2000. When the marine was analyzed, researchers found that all the eight crews were found at their stations in a frightening position. The 90’s discovery has sparked a lot of theories about the sinking of the submarine and people wonder why the crews did not try to escape.

For now, the researchers are removing corrosion from the submarine which remained under water for 150 years.

To lengthen the debate, the researchers found another clue – a hidden failsafe. It was reported that researchers found a failsafe mechanism in the bottom of the submarine. If activated, the mechanism would have helped the crews escape the vessel but unfortunately, it was never activated.

The study shows that crews never saw what has caused the marine to sink. Michael Scafuri, a famous archaeologist, has been working on Hunley from last 18 years and after removing the corrosion from the submarine, Scafuri and his team found out that all the emergency levers were locked in position. While talking to Associated Press, he said that from the study it is easy to say that there wasn’t much panic in the vessel before sinking.

According to the researchers, the marine was so small that crews were not able to stand straight in it.

He further said that if crews have made an attempt to pull the emergency levers, the marine could have brought to the surface of the water allowing levers to open 1,000 pounds of keel blocks.

After the research, the researchers found two reasons for submarine sinking – first the crews never felt danger and second they never predicted the need to surface quickly. The Confederate submarine was small in size and yet crews did not make any attempt to escape. The Hunley was so cramped that it wouldn’t allow its men to stand straight.

A watch belonging to Lt. George Dixon was also found in the submarine.

According to the Duke University researchers, the crews must have been killed instantly with the torpedo blast. Rachel Lance, one of the students at Duke University told Nature that during the sinking, pressure from the explosion was transmitted to the Hunley. The wave of the pressure was so large that it killed all the crews.

But Scafuri wasn’t convinced despite all these advancements and said that they are still far away to find out the exact reason of marine sinking. He said that he would love to know the exact reason for the incident but didn’t promise whether they will be able to reach there or not.

Back in 1995, H.L Hunley was found in the depths of the sea and then brought up from the depths in 2000.

For the time being, archaeologists are removing corrosion from the submarine which was placed underwater for centuries. With each step, they will be able to figure out how the crew looked like and what was the actual condition of the craft.

The progress made in the last few years is significant enough to discover more about the incident. While commenting on the situation, Scafuri said that no one has seen the parts in last 150 years which we have seen. He further said that all of these researches will bring us to the point where we will able to discover something authentic, but said that they don’t have blueprints.

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