DDC Blog

Discovery Diving Co., Inc.
414 Orange St
Beaufort, North Carolina 28516
252-728-2265

dive@discoverydiving.com

What's Happening at Discovery Diving

Get all the latest info from our Instructors and Staff on our SCUBA Classes, Charters, Equipment and Special Events.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

US Navy recovers cannon to identify 200-year-old shipwreck

Posted by on in Uncategorized
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 238
  • 0 Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Now that a cannon that rested in waters off Rhode Island’s shore for two centuries has been raised, U.S. Navy archaeologists are hoping to confirm that the ship that sank at the site was a schooner commanded by a War of 1812 hero.

In thick fog and heavy swells, the USS Revenge became ensnared in a reef off Watch Hill in Westerly in 1811. Oliver Hazard Perry ordered his men to jettison guns, masts and the anchor, but lightening the vessel didn’t free it. It sank.

The treacherous reefs, rocks and poor visibility kept the cannon and other artifacts hidden until 2005.


That year, recreational divers from Connecticut, Charlie Buffum and Craig Harger, found what’s believed to be the naval schooner’s wreck site. Navy divers recovered the cannon May 24. It’s the first artifact the Navy has raised from the site.

Buffum said it was exhilarating to see the cannon brought ashore.

“To see it finally break the surface after being down there for 206 years, it was just really, really cool,” said Buffum, a brewery owner from Stonington, Connecticut.

The cannon was taken to a conservation lab at the Washington Navy Yard to be desalinated and stabilized. It’s encrusted with bits of sea life and calcium carbonate from the interaction between the iron it’s made of and salt water.

There are not many examples of early naval guns of this type, said George Schwarz, an underwater archaeologist with the Naval History and Heritage Command. The command oversees the identification and management of sunken naval vessels.

“It’s a tangible reach back through naval history,” he said.

Schwarz said he has a high level of confidence that the cannon is from the Revenge.

Perry’s career languished after the wreck until he was sent to the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. He’s remembered as the Hero of Lake Erie for defeating the British navy. He was famous for reporting simply, “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” after the decisive battle in 1813.

Archaeologists will look for foundry marks on the cannon that could identify it. Even if there are none, Schwarz said they could corroborate the identity using historical documents.

“There aren’t any other U.S. Navy vessels lost, as far as we know, right in this area, and there aren’t too many other armed vessels, as far as we know, lost here,” Schwarz said.

The cannon is 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) long and weighs over 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms). Schwarz estimates the conservation process will take about two years.


It could eventually be displayed in a museum.

The Navy plans to continue mapping the site, but it hasn’t yet determined whether any other artifacts will be recovered. The site is protected from any unauthorized disturbance under the Sunken Military Craft Act.

Schwarz said he’s grateful for the help of Buffum and Harger, who led the Navy to the site.

Buffum said he’ll keep looking for other shipwrecks, though he doubts he’ll ever find something quite like this one. He’s working on a new beer to celebrate the cannon’s recovery.

Harger, a retired industrial gas salesman from Colchester, Connecticut, said it still gives him chills thinking about the moment he and Buffum saw the cannon surface.

“We just looked at each other and chuckled and thought, 12 years is a long time but man, it sure was worth it,” he said.

0

Comments

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest
Guest Saturday, 21 October 2017

U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Tournament

eventsiconWe need your help to make Carteret County's 5th Annual "If you Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" Spearfishing Tournament a success! This Tournament is a joint effort between Discovery Diving and Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association (ECARA).

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.

ECARA Event

2013Join us June 3rd, 2017 in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.