National Geographic Ultimate Explorer host Lisa Ling gives a first look at a mystery that has puzzled historians for over a century, examining the recently recovered wreck of the Civil War submarine, H.L. Hunley. In “Forensic Case: The Hunley,” modern science and technology, along with the disinternment of bodies and DNA testing, help identify the eight crew members who died when the Hunley sank in 1864. Their faces and identification are revealed for the first time in this world exclusive.
The story of the Hunley is the stuff of popular legend. On a chilly February night in 1864, the Hunley became the first military sub to sink a ship in battle when it torpedoed the Union warship Housatonic. The sub disappeared later that night, taking the crew and their stories with it. It was not until 2000 that the wreck of the sub, located in 1995, was finally raised from the ocean floor. Sealed inside the 136-year-old time capsule were the remains of the crew, and — as many historians hoped — the answers to over a century’s worth of lingering questions.
In the four years since the Hunley’s recovery, a team of experts has undertaken a massive effort to identify the eight members of the crew and determine why they volunteered for such a dangerous mission. With the combined expertise of a forensic anthropologist, an underwater archaeologist, a forensic artist and a genealogist, the team hopes to use the evidence from the wreck to finally lay to rest the mystery — and the memory — of the Hunley.
Join Ultimate Explorer for this remarkable forensic and geneaological detective story, and learn who was aboard the Hunley and what happened to them on that fateful night.