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A Hunley diver


August 10, 2000
Sunken Civil War Submarine Returns Home
A piece of history is lifted from the ocean floor

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An important piece of Civil War history has just been lifted from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. After spending 136 years on the ocean floor, the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine ever to sink an enemy warship, was raised on August 8th. It took five years of planning and millions of dollars to finally bring this historic submarine home to South Carolina's Charleston Harbor.

War Under Water
The Hunley sunk with its crew of nine on February 17, 1864, after it torpedoed and sunk the Housatonic, a Union ship, during the Civil War. The Civil War was fought between the federal government and 11 Southern states from 1861 to 1865. The Hunley belonged to the Confederacy, the government of the 11 Southern states that had formally withdrawn from the federal government.

Actors representing Civil War soldiers march in front of the historic submarine.

A Super Journey
The Hunley stood 40 foot long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Divers slipped slings under the submarine and attached them to a steel superstructure above it to raise it. The submarine was secured on a barge and taken to the old Charleston Navy base, where it will remain for about seven years before going on display at the Charleston Museum.

Home at Last!
Following four failed attempts, author and shipwreck seeker Clive Cussler found the Hunley in 1995. It was in one piece, except for minor damages. Actors representing Civil War soldiers fired cannons as the submarine and its crew, who will be buried with military honors, returned to port. "We're giving tribute to some heroes," said Keith Purdy. "We will be proud of this day the rest of our lives."

-By Laura C. Girardi

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