Episode 5: The Hunley

Submarines…do they carry nukes? World War II soldiers? Delectable deli meats? Frank takes us to Charleston, South Carolina, where the Friends of the Hunley are preserving a submarine from an extraordinary time: The Civil War.

Frank's Thoughts

Getting to see the H.L. Hunley, and talk with Kellen Correia was amazing. The interest to see the Hunley didn’t start with: “if we go to the Carolina’s, what should we see?” The drive started much, much earlier…even before History at Risk.

The same trip to Harper’s Ferry that jumpstarted my deep interest in history, also introduced me to the Hunley. After Harper’s Ferry, my wife and I continued our trip with going to Antietam. After visiting the battlegrounds, I visited the gift shop (as I tend to do when I go to historical locations, because usually, any money they can get helps). I noticed that they were having a massive book sale. So I just started grabbing, and in the midst of stacking books higher and higher, I noticed a book about the Hunley.

I had heard of the ironclad ships that came out of the Civil War, but I had never heard of this tiny submarine. I couldn’t put the book down. The story was incredible. And when I heard that it was raised and in Charleston, South Carolina, I knew I had to visit one day.

Fast-forward to the first meetings about History at Risk. We were just starting the show, with the idea of staying in Fell’s Point for a bit. Jacquie asked me where my dream location would be. If I could go anywhere, and see anything, what would it be. I didn’t hesitate. It was the Hunley. It might be because I have always had an interest in marine topics, especially shipwrecks, but something about this submarine just pulled at me. I had to see it one day.

When I found out we had the chance to go to the Carolinas, I said, “Yes, as long as we can see the Hunley.”

There is no footage taken of me when I first got to see the Hunley in person. I’m half glad, half sad there isn’t. I was a bit numb walking into the room. You couldn’t even see it when you first walked in. You had to go around a large tank, and then walk up stairs onto a platform where you could then view it. My heart was pounding as I walked up those stairs, each bringing me closer. When I finally stepped high enough to lay eyes on it, I froze. I almost didn’t know what to do.

I think that’s the amazing thing about history, or really, any interest. When something pulls you in and grabs you tight, it can change you. I will never, ever forget this day.

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