Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Scuba Divers Claim Discovery of USS Revenge

We're not talking about the World War II-era Auk-class minesweeper.

The divers claim to have discovered the USS Revenge that was commanded by U.S. navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry and wrecked off Rhode Island... 200 years ago.

The divers, Charles Buffum, a brewery owner from Stonington, Connecticut, and Craig Harger, a carbon dioxide salesman from Colchester, Connecticut, say the wreck changed the course of history because Perry likely would not have been sent to Lake Erie otherwise. Sunday is the 200th anniversary of the wreck.

Buffum said he’s been interested in finding the remains of the Revenge ever since his mother several years ago gave him the book “Shipwrecks on the Shores of Westerly.” The book includes Perry’s account of the wreck, which happened when it hit a reef in a storm in heavy fog off Watch Hill in Westerly, Rhode Island, as Perry was bringing the ship from Newport to New London, Connecticut.

“I always thought to myself we ought to go out and have a look and just see if there’s anything left,” Buffum said.

The two, along with a third man, Mike Fournier, set out to find it with the aid of a metal detector. After several dives, they came across a cannon, then another.

“It was just thrilling,” Harger said.

They made their first discovery in August 2005, and kept it secret as they continued to explore the area and make additional finds. Since then, they have found four more 107-centimetre-long cannons, an anchor, canister shot, and other metal objects that they say they are 99 per cent sure were from the Revenge.

Buffum and Harger say the items fit into the time period that the Revenge sank, the anchor appears to be the main one that is known to have been cut loose from the ship, and that no other military ships with cannons have been recorded as sinking in the area.

Continue reading...

And on the eve of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, no less.

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