NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Ten years after the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised off the South Carolina coast, just why it sank remains shrouded in mystery but scientists are hopeful a shift of the ship will reveal some clues.
Scientists announced Friday the H.L. Hunley wouldd be carefully rotated to an uprights position, "achieving a major milestone for the Project."
Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the raising of the Hunley. To mark the occassion, the Hunley Project announced the plan to rotate the ship which would give the world the opportunity to see a portion of the hand-cranked submarine that has been hidden since the Civil War.
"It will be a major turning point for the project, both literally and figuratively," said Senator Glenn McConnell, Chairman of the Hunley Commission.
The rotation also signifies the advent of the final phases of the project, including the removal of shells, sediment and rust from the sub's body to reveal the actual surface of the submarine.
"When the Hunley was recovered, we knew we had a difficult road ahead of us," McConnell said. "Our accomplishments over the past ten years have exceeded even my wildest expectations. We are making history everyday on this project. It has been touching to see how people have come together to support the Hunley and make the impossible possible."
Thousands watched from boats and the shore in 2000 as the sub was placed on a barge and brought to a conservation lab in North Charleston.
Thousands of people again turned out in April 2004 when the Hunley's crew of 8 was buried in what has been called the last Confederate funeral.
The Hunley sank in February 1864 after sinking the Union blockade ship Housatonic.