World gets better view of Civil War submarine

The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sits in a conservation tank after a steel truss that had surrounded it was removed on Jan. 12, 2012 at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C. Scientists say removing the truss allows the first clear view of the sub since it sank in 1864 off the South Carolina coast. AP Photo/Bruce Smith

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The world has a clearer view of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley for the first time in nearly 150 years.

Crews at a North Charleston conservation lab on Thursday lifted a more than eight-ton truss that has shrouded the hand-cranked sub for the last dozen years.

The operation took about 15 minutes as the truss was slowly lifted and moved laterally over the tank.

Raising A Civil War Submarine
Sifting Through A Civil War Sub
Funeral For A Civil War Sub Crew

The endeavor allows conservation of the sub to begin. Scientists hope that getting a close look at the entire hull will finally yield clues as to why the Hunley sank in 1864 with its crew of eight.

The Hunley sent the federal blockade ship Housatonic to the bottom, becoming the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship before sinking as well. It took another 50 years before another sub was able to take down a ship.

A funeral for the crew was held in 2007, 140 years after the sub sank. Thousands of Civil War re-enactors wore Confederate and Union uniforms, and marched along the bodies of the crew until they reached their final resting place along the Cooper River.

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