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Experts: Confederate sub Hunley closer than thought to Union blockade ship when it attacked

  • ee3a875863b6e303270f6a7067008771.jpg

    FILE - The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sits in a conservation tank after a steel truss that had surrounded it was removed in this Jan. 12, 2012 file photo taken at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C. Scientists say a pole on the front of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley designed to plant explosives on enemy ships may hold a key clue to its sinking during the Civil War. The experts are to release their findings Monday Jan. 28, 2013 at the North Charleston lab where the hand-cranked sub is being preserved and studied. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File) (The Associated Press)

  • 97b925dc63bbe303270f6a706700c9d3.jpg

    FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2010 file photo, the spar of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is displayed at the conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C., where the submarine is being conserved. Scientists say a pole on the front of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley designed to plant explosives on enemy ships may hold a key clue to its sinking during the Civil War. The experts are to release their findings Monday Jan. 28, 2013 at a North Charleston lab where the hand-cranked sub is being preserved and studied. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith) (The Associated Press)

Scientists say the submarine that was the first in history to sink an enemy warship was much closer than thought to a Union ship it sank in 1864.

Scientists announced Monday that 135 pounds of gunpowder was attached to a pole, or spar, at the front of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley.

It has been long thought the Hunley attached a torpedo to the bottom of the blockade ship Housatonic and then backed off. But new evidence indicates the Hunley was only about 20 feet away, meaning the concussion from the explosion could have knocked out the crew.

The Housatonic sank, while the Hunley, built in Mobile, Ala., never returned with its eight-man crew. The sub was found off South Carolina in 1995 and raised five years later.

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