Alligator sub

An HMS American Cultures collaborative production

Sketch of the Alligator

During the American Civil War, the Union was the first to field a submarine. Submarines had been tried at before, but the Alligator was one of the first well established attempts at it. The final version of this primitive idea had a crew of twenty men. The Alligator was originally designed in conjunction with the French. To move the sub, the crew had to manually row it. After six months of only being able to row the submarine with oars, the power was converted to a screw propeller powered by a hand crank. This machine was the very first to grasp the concept of compressed air and an air filtration system. Larger than Confederate submarines, the Alligator was 47 feet long and approximately 4 feet in diameter. On its way to its first combat mission, the Alligator was lost within the waves, sinking into the dark waters off of Cape Hatteras. It was lost while being towed to Charleston on April 1, 1863. Still today, the sub has never been recovered and still remains a mystery on where it currently is.
In 1960 the aligator submarine went 2 knots an hour but 2 years later it improved speed by another 2 knots.

Online Sources:
"Civil War Submarines." 20 May 2009 <>.

"Submarines In the American Civil War." Wikipedia. 20 May 2009 <>.

Image Source:
Alligator. 20 May 2009. <>.