Historic gun found by US divers is raised

archive – Diving NewsHistoric gun found by US divers is raised

A cannon that lay off Rhode Island for some two centuries has been raised by US Navy archaeologists.

They hope to confirm that it came from the schooner USS Revenge, commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry. Perry survived the sinking of the ship and went on to become an American naval hero.

Stranded on a reef in fog and heavy seas in 1811, the Revenge sank even after eight of its 14 guns, mast and anchor had been jettisoned.

The site is difficult to dive, so was not visited until Connecticut sport-divers managed to explore it in 2005 and spotted the cannon, along with shot, ballast, an anchor and other concreted artefacts. 

A 1130kg lift-bag was used to raise the 450kg gun, which is 1.7m long and would probably have fired 2.7kg ordnance. It is now being conserved, a process that could take up to two years, in a Naval History & Heritage Command laboratory.

Few examples are said to remain of this type of early US naval gun, but archaeologists hope that foundry marks and/or historical documents can be used to obtain a positive identification of the wreck. This process is complicated by the fact that so many other vessels have been wrecked in the area since the Revenge.

The US Navy plans to continue surveying the site, which is protected under the USA’s Sunken Military Craft Act.

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