Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley commanded by Lt. G.E. Dixon in a effort to break the Federal Navy's blockade, successfully attacked and sank the U.S.S. Housatonic a steam powered sloop of war outside of Charleston harbor. The Housatonic went down in 5 minutes but only suffered the loss of 5 lives, the rest of the crew were able to either man lifeboats or climb into the rigging of the ship until rescued. After the attack the Hunley never returned to it's base so was considered lost with all aboard(Lt. Dixon and seven crew members)in the attack.
The Hunley's place in history was due to it's being the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime. It's success came at a high price however. The lost of it's crew on it's combat mission, but also two other crews during testing and development. Say what you will about the cause they served, but it had to take a brave man to climb down into a iron tube that had only one hatch, no lights, no fresh air, soon to be under water. To turn a hand crank for hours(the method of propulsion for the Hunley) on end with no guarantee that you are ever coming back.
Lt. Dixon and his crew did make it back however. On August 8th 2000 the Hunley was raised from Charleston harbor with the remains of the crew still on board. On April 17th 2004 the Hunley's crew was buried with full military honors in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery.
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