Letters illuminate first search for the Hunley

In the fall of 1864, a U.S. Navy officer serving in the blockade of Charleston set out on a quest that would consume some men for more than a century.

He wanted to find the H.L. Hunley.

William L. Churchill, executive officer on a gunboat and a diver with much interest in submarine technology, had volunteered to survey the wreckage of the USS Housatonic, a blockader sunk by the Confederate fish boat earlier that year.

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