How close was the Hunley?


Sep 13, 2018
Regarding the design and viability of a submarine design, just how close was the CSS Hunley? The program was shut down due to the human loss, but should it have been? Granted, they were successful in sinking the USS Houstatonic, but it did come at the loss of all hands.

Were they really close to having something that worked and gave crews a chance without sacrificing their lives or do modern review of the designs suggest a ton of engineering flaws and the program was right to have been terminated? Was the technology for a truly viable submarine still decades away?


Dec 30, 2020
Superstition Mountains
Brave men and advanced technology (for the time) are not by themselves a recipe for success. And what is success? More than one sunken Federal ship? A better ratio of dead Federals versus dead Confederates? Too subjective for a definitive answer, but fun to speculate.

Me? Like the Confederate ironclads, too little, too rushed, too few and too late. Given time, material and the limited chances for success (we aren’t even sure what sunk the sub - the torpedo, sitting on the bottom too long waiting for the tide, who really knows). I vote that continuing the program would have had zero affect on the war and would have just cost more brave Southern lives.