The historic H.L. Hunley was raised from the sea amid a festive cannonade and taken to Charleston. The Confederate submarine finally returned to port 136 years after it carved its name in history as the first submarine to sink an enemy warship. The Hunley sank with its crew of nine on Feb. 17, 1864, not long after ramming a spar with a black powder charge into the wooden hull of the Union blockade ship Housatonic.
The hand-cranked sub, which was 40 feet long, 4 feet wide, 4 feet high and fashioned from locomotive boilers, is expected to remain at the Navy base at least seven years before going on display at the Charleston Museum. It was found that the vessel was more technologically advanced than records indicated. Its spar could be tilted, perhaps making it easier to attach the powder charges or aim the spar when making an attack.
Scientists believe the Hunley was covered and filled with sand soon after it sank, preserving the metal and perhaps much of the remains of crew members and their belongings. Divers found a hole in the Hunley's side and a broken window in a low observation tower, which allowed the sub to fill with sediment. The crew will be buried with military honors after the interior of the sub is excavated.
South Carolina set aside $3 million to help return the Hunley to shore and start restoring it. The total cost of recovering and preserving it is estimated at $17 million.