H. L. Hunley was a wealthy southern lawyer who was dedicated to creating a secret weapon to help the confederacy win the war. He wanted to build a boat that could not be seen by other ships and a boat that could deliver a deadly torpedo that the enemy would never expect. The submarine was outfitted with a long bench, where eight of the crew members were supposed to sit side by side and operate a hand crank propeller. The ninth man steered the submarine and operated the ballast. When the ballast tank was filled with water, it would cause the submarine to submerge. A volunteer crew was organized to man the submarine. They practiced in the harbor and got the submarine to successfully submerge, travel across the harbor, and return to the surface. Determined that his secret weapon was the solution to the union blockade, Hunley himself volunteered for the next trial.