Scientists to begin rotation of Confederate sub

June 22, 2011 - 5:44 AM

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Scientists in South Carolina are starting the delicate chore of righting the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley.

The work at a conservation lab in North Charleston begins Wednesday and is expected to take two days. When completed, the hand-cranked sub will be sitting upright for the first time since it left on its ill-fated mission in February 1864.

The Hunley sank after becoming the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship when it sent the Union blockade ship Housatonic to the bottom.

The Hunley was resting at a 45-degree angle on its side when it sank and was raised that way 11 years ago. Rotating it will reveal the entire hull and perhaps provide clues as to why it sank.