Under the Concretion: Examining New Evidence for H.L. Hunley’s Attack on USS Housatonic

Author(s): Michael P Scafuri

Year: 2018


On February 17, 1864, the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley detonated its spar-mounted torpedo against the hull of USS Housatonic, sinking the blockading ship several miles off the coast of Charleston, SC. While successful, this attack also resulted in the loss of Hunley. Recent conservation work on the hull of the submarine has revealed more details about the condition of the submarine and provided new clues about the causes and relevance of some of the damage found to the submarine. This paper will discuss this damage and address possible contributing factors related to the attack.  In addition, the deconcretion of the interior of Hunley has revealed more information about the torpedo weapon system, including indications of later hull modifications for this weapon system and new evidence regarding a potential trigger mechanism. These factors and their potential relevance to the attack and subsequent loss of Hunley will also be addressed. 

Cite this Record

Under the Concretion: Examining New Evidence for H.L. Hunley’s Attack on USS Housatonic. Michael P Scafuri. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441601)

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Temporal Keywords
American Civil War

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 753