Wed, July 1, 2020

ZOOM Lecture: In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine

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On July 1, 2020, at 6:30 PM EDT, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania will welcome Dr. Rachel Lance, a biomedical engineer with expertise in the effects of explosions on humans, to live-stream a lecture via ZOOM to answer one of American history's most haunting questions, “What sank the H.L. Hunley?” Dr. Lance’s lecture, based on her new book, In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine, examines how and why the Confederate submarine Hunley, after completing its deadly mission, sank from history until the year 2000 when it was extracted from the depths of the Charleston Harbor, its crew of eight men still seated peacefully at their posts..

This ZOOM lecture is made possible by the Army Heritage Center Foundation. Register in advance at to receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the lecture. To submit questions during the lecture, use the Q&A icon on the ZOOM website..

The night of February 17, 1864, the Hunley, a hand-propelled submarine carrying a 135 lb. keg of gunpowder on the end of a 16 ft. wooden pole, rammed the make-shift mine into the side of the Union warship, the USS Housatonic. The massive explosion sank the warship, making the Hunley the first submarine successfully used in combat. The Hunley then immediately and mysteriously disappeared. In her book, Dr. Lance’s dogged and cutting edge research into the aftereffects of the explosion not only offers the explanation for why the submarine sank, but it also helps to provide critical information on the effects of explosions on today’s combat service members.

Dr. Lance is an author and Assistant Consulting Professor at Duke University, where she conducts research out of their Hyperbaric Medicine facility, with a focus on military diving projects. Before earning her PhD, Dr. Lance worked as an engineer for the United States Navy, and helped to build specialized underwater equipment used by Navy divers, SEALs, and Marine Force Recon personnel. Her trailblazing research into predicting the risks of injury and fatality from underwater explosions has received numerous international citations.

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