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One of the special exhibits that will be featured at “Rifles, Rails & History” is a replica of the H. L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine that mysteriously disappeared, with all hands, shortly after sending the USS Housatonic to the bottom of Charleston Harbor on February 17, 1864.

The half-scale model of the intrepid Hunley will make its voyage to Tavares from its home port in Jacksonville, Florida. Built in 2010, it was donated to Kirby-Smith Camp 1209 Sons of Confederate Veterans, who puts plenty of nautical miles on the replica - visiting schools and participating in many living-history events. The crew of the replica Hunley will provide guests and visitors with the intriguing story of this vessel, which was the predecessor of the modern day submarine.

The story of the original H. L. Hunley’s role in the War Between the States, as well as its discovery, recovery, and preservation is an extraordinary and fascinating chronicle of legendary American history.

On April 17, 2004, almost 150 years after they perished, the eight man crew of the Hunley, including its commander, Lt. George E. Dixon, was laid to rest in Charleston, South Carolina, in a moving and inspirational ceremony. Tens of thousands of people from around the world were in attendance. Click here to read a personal account of this poignant day, titled “One Hundred Thousand Honors” written by Harry Hurst, who participated in the ceremony.