This time it is about the Civil War… and submarines

Posted on April 5, 2009 by


While I think darn near everybody knows about the ever-popular Hunley, I’d say a great deal fewer know anything about the Alligator. Until I visited the Sublant page recently, I didn’t know anything about it. So, in the spirit of the month, I figured that I would post something about it here.

It appears that the Alligator was built in Philadelphia in 1862, but never made it to the U.S. Navy’s Registry as a commissioned vessel. It could, however, be considered in modern terms as having been “in service.” Like the Monitor, the Alligator eventually found its demise off the coast of North Carolina.

Towed by the USS Sumpter, the Alligator left Washington, D.C., for Port Royal on March 31, 1863. On April 2, a fierce storm forced the crew of the struggling Sumpter to cut the submarine loose off the coast of North Carolina in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” It was never seen again.

Sounds pretty familiar when thinking about the Monitor, huh? The story about the Alligator is covered on this NOAA page.