Delve deep into a little known moment in history

By Amy Cherry 2:58pm, June 28, 2013
A close-up of the Hunley. (Courtesy of Bill Jenkins and the Friends of the Hunley).
Learn more about the first combat submarine to ever successfully sink an enemy ship this weekend at Fort Delaware State Park.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more.

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The Hunley was a Confederate Civil War submarine.

"People never even heard of it," says historian Bill Jenkins.

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That's why he's seeking to educate the public about the Hunley in a free lecture on Pea Patch Island.

"This sub, everything that they did in inventing it and making it work, a lot of those things are still in use today in our atomic subs," says Jenkins.

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The Hunley sunk the Union's USS Housatanic. But shortly after the Hunley's successful mission, the sub sunk itself. Why remains a mystery. The eight people on board were all killed.

"They died from breathing their own exhalation, carbon dioxide, and they just went to sleep," he says.

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The Hunley was discovered in 1995 along with the bones of the crewmembers and is on display on weekends in Charleston, South Carolina.

But Jenkins adds the story behind the Hunley isn't just one for history buffs.

"There's a little love story there with the commander of the sub and his girlfriend, and they found a coin that she had given him," he says.

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