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H. L. Hunley Limited 24"
Ready for Immediate Display - Not a Model Ship kit
This museum-quality scale Civil War replica of the famous CSS Hunley celebrate one of the most influential and unique warships in history. Ideal for display upon any shelf, table or desk, fine-craftsmanship and careful detailing combine to produce truly impressive model warships.
24" L x 2" W x 8" H (1:30 scale)
- Handcrafted from from scratch by our master artisans
- Accurate scale Civil War replica of the real CSS Hunley
- Museum Quality features include:
- Highly-detailed hatches
- Harpoon torpedo with arming rope
- High quality materials used in construction
- Cloth flag included with the CSS Hunley
- Limited production run only 100 of this CSS Hunley model
- Certificate of Authenticity individually numbered Civil War replicas signed by HMS Founder and Master Builder Richard Norris
- Wooden display base separates from the model
- Metal nameplate included for display
NOTE: Some basic assembly is required once you remove the model from pacakging. First insert propeller into predrilled hole in back of ship. Then attach the black circular piece into the predrilled holes convieniently located above and below where propeller is positioned. Next, hook brass piece through hole for ammunitions pack and insert bottom of long pole into predrilled holes in front. Once this is done simply place the model on the solid wood base provided in the packaging. Finally, position the H.L. Hunley nameplate proudly in front of model. This assembly is usually completed within 3-5 minutes.
H.L. Hunley Creates his Namesake:
Though it was not the first American submarine in existence, the legendary H.L. Hunley has the dubious distinction of being the first submarine to sink an enemy warship. Named for inventor Horace Lawson Hunley, the H.L. Hunley was launched in July of 1863, meeting its fate not long after. Prior to developing the Hunley two other submarines were constructed and tested. The first model was dubbed Pioneer, built in New Orleans and tested in the Mississippi River in 1862, and though promising, it was scuttled as Union forces advanced on New Orleans. The next year the American Diver was created, though she too met an early demise and sunk during a harsh February storm. Soon after the sinking of the American Diver, Hunley and his associates began work on what would become his namesake.
Moving operations to Mobile, Alabama Hunley, James McClintock, and Baxter Watson began developing a more modern submarine. Built from a cylindrical iron steam boiler, which was deepened and lengthened, the Hunley was purposely sleek and contemporary in design, utilizing stealth as its greatest weapon. As a perfect starting point, the steam boiler had the right shape and size to incorporate a crew of eight, with one person to steer while the other seven turned the hand-cranked propeller. On either end ballast tanks were added, which could be filled through valves and pumped clean by hand, allowing the Hunley to ascend and descend as it attacked. The simple design also included two small hatches, each measuring only 14” by 15 3/4.” Launched in July of 1863, a demonstration was held prior to the Hunley being shipped to Charleston, South Carolina to begin testing.
The Confederacy’s First Submarine:
Seized by the Confederate military upon arrival in Charleston, the Hunley began a series of tests that would see her sink twice before actual service at sea. On August 29, 1863 human error during a training run caused the Hunley to dive while the hatches remained open, killing five crew members within minutes. Not two months later, on October 15, she sank again during a training exercise, killing all eight of the crew as well as Horace Hunley himself, who was aboard to observe testing. Though she was never officially commissioned by the Confederate Navy, after she was raised the second time, the Hunley was slotted to carry out a mission.
Far from being a simple reconnaissance tool, the Hunley carried a surprising amount of firepower for a ship only 37 feet long, crewed by eight. Though no cannons or gun placements were feasible aboard this early submarine, an early version of a torpedo provided all the artillery she could handle. The spar torpedo, much like the bang-sticks carried by divers to fend off sharks, was a 90 pound explosive charge attached to a 22-foot-long spar emerging from the bow of the vessel. Designed to be used underwater for maximum destructive power, the torpedo featured a barbed point that was designed to stick in an enemy vessel’s side. The Hunley would ram her target, leaving the torpedo behind, and retreat to a safe distance before detonation. Although originally designed with a 150-foot-long rope used to trigger the explosive, recent discoveries of copper cable and battery components point to a possibility that the Hunley’s torpedo was actually activated electronically. One final adjustment was made after her second sinking, when General Beauregard ordered that the Hunley was no longer to attack submerged, making alterations to the spar necessary before her mission.
The Hunley’s Sole Mission:
For her only mission, the Hunley departed the night of February 17, 1864, venturing into the cold Atlantic waters off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Five miles out to sea, stationed at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, the 1240-ton USS Housatonic floated in the ocean unaware of her imminent demise. At 205 feet long, and bristling with twelve massive cannons, the screw-sloop-of-war was a menacing enemy, one that traditional battle tactics would have a difficult time stopping. Using her stealth and torpedo, commanded by Lieutenant George E. Dixon and with a crew of seven volunteers, the Hunley made her way out into the ocean in an attempt to disrupt the Union’s naval blockade. Striking the Housatonic just before 9:00 pm that night, the Hunley’s massive torpedo ripped into the lower hull, causing the warship to sink within five minutes. Though five crewmembers sank with the Housatonic, the rest safely made it to lifeboats or were rescued by nearby Union ships.
The H.L. Hunley Vanishes at Sea:
While the crew of the Housatonic may have been spared, the crew of the Hunley was not to be so lucky. Though the actual cause has yet to be determined, what is certain is that within an hour of the attack the Hunley lay at the bottom of the sea. A commander at base stated seeing the signal lights of the Hunley returning from her mission, a fact corroborated by various witnesses, yet for some reason she never made the short trip back to port. In this several theories abound, the most prominent being that she was too close to the Housatonic when the torpedo exploded, causing irreparable damage to her hull. Another theory is that the viewport was shot out by a crewman of the Housatonic and, upon submerging for her return, the Hunley took on water. It has also been suggested that the crew of the Hunley may have run out of breathable air and were rendered unconscious, or that she may have been accidentally hit by the USS Canandiagua as she was sailing to the aid of the Housatonic.
We may never know with certainty how she sank, yet the Hunley remains a legendary ship in a transformative era of naval battle. With her success, the power of underwater warfare was recognized, leading to the evolution and creation of the magnificent submarines we see today. In 1970 the wreckage of the Hunley was discovered by underwater archeologist E. Lee Spence, not more than 100 yards from the Housatonic in 27 feet of water. Under a layer of silt, which had preserved the ship quite well, and encrusted with rust and barnacles, the Hunley was identified and mapped. Thirty years later, on August 8, 2000, the Hunley was raised, and for the first time in 136 years saw daylight. Shipped back to Charleston, South Carolina the H.L. Hunley can now be viewed at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center located on the site of the original Charleston Navy Yard.