A Secret Confederate Submarine Was So Deadly, Even the Crew Wasn’t Safe

On Feb. 17, 1864, naval warfare was changed forever.

That night aboard the U.S.S. Housatonic, master John H. Crosby of the Union Navy saw what he described as a porpoise sliding through the water on a direct course for his vessel just a few hundred feet away.

Three years prior, President Abraham Lincoln had ordered a blockade of all major Confederate ports, and the Housatonic, a sloop-of-war with 12 large cannons, was stationed in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor to help the presiden

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