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The 2005 NOAA-ONR Alligator search expedition is taking place Sept. 9-12 off Cape Hatteras, N.C. in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” where the Civil War-era vessel was lost during a fierce storm in 1863. Click below to access the expedition website.

Uncovering the Secrets of the Alligator

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research are working to uncover the secrets of the Alligator—the U.S. Navy’s first submarine.

A Brief History

Alligator submarine illustrationLaunched in 1862 during the Civil War, Alligator was an engineering marvel that helped usher in a new era in undersea travel. But until recently, little was known about the green, 47-foot-long Union vessel. The Alligator was lost off the North Carolina coast during a storm in 1863. It was never seen again.

With the help of naval historians, archaeologists, oceanographers, teachers, and students, more information about the Alligator is coming to the surface than ever before. This Web site shares what we have learned to date about this mysterious and historically important vessel.

National Marine Sanctuaries - Exploration

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If you have a question regarding the Alligator project, please e-mail

The United States Navy's Office of Naval Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have initiated a cooperative project to unlock the secrets of the U.S.S. Alligator.

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Revised November 08, 2006 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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