David Bushnell was a "Yankee Tinkerer" during the American Revolution. Although the budding country had virtually no navy, this Yale graduate (with no practical training) created the world's first submarine. A closely guarded secret, the Turtle received limited funding from the government and was built in a shed behind Bushnell's home.
Having come into a world without steam engines, electric power, or propellers, the Turtle was completely human powered. In 1776, the small submarine's primary objective became to sink the British flagship, the HMS Eagle, anchored in New York Harbor. This was the first of three daring attempts to attack Royal Navy vessels.
A dedicated American Patriot, Bushnell was later appointed by General Washington to the post of captain in what is now known as the Army Corps of Engineers.