18 March 2021: First, we must offer our congratulations to Team New Zealand/Emirates for their spectacular victory yesterday in the final race of the America's Cup held in New Zealand. They sailed brilliantly against the Italians opening their lead on each leg of the six leg course. As that was their 7th win, they will retain the Cup for the next four years. So, well done, Kiwis!
Last week we suggested that something of perhaps wider interest might be our subject and we hope this is. It's from the British periodical The Guardian and concerns the British man of war (frigate, actually) which gained fame during the American Revolutionary War (1776-81). In England, the war is referred to as the War of Independence.
Three cannons discovered during routine dredging of the Savannah River (Georgia, U.S.) are believed to be from a British warship that was intentionally scuttled during the Revolutionary War.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revealed the discovery in photos published this week, after recovering the pre-Civil War artillery pieces while clearing the river of obstructions.
Tentative research suggests the cannons may be linked to the HMS Rose, the British naval terror that was scuttled in the river to block French forces from rendering aid to the Americans during the Revolutionary War.
The cannons were recovered along with an anchor and timber from a ship near the area where the wreck of the ironclad Confederate warship CSS Georgia was salvaged, but experts believe that they pre-date the Civil War.
During the Revolutionary War, the HMS Rose rained
fury up and down the Atlantic Coast, leading to the creation of the U.S. Navy
in response.[ed:slight correction here: the Navy had already been created by then.]
The British warship played a major role in the invasion of New York, helping to drive George Washington from his rebel base in the city and ranging up and down the Hudson River.
In 1779, the Rose was defending the loyalist stronghold of Savannah, after King George III's forces shifted their focus to the Southern theater of the war following bitter disappointments in the north.
The British ship was sacrificed to created a blockade in a narrow part of the river channel, preventing the French fleet from rendering assistance to the American assault on Savannah.
The wreckage of the Rose was removed after the war to clear the channel, but experts believe that the recovered artifacts were left behind at the bottom of the river.
Following the discovery of the cannons, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified the British government to share their findings, and the UK embassy responded with enthusiasm at the discovery.
'It is exciting when artefacts from naval history are found. The discovery of an anchor, cannons, and ship timbers gives us a great opportunity to work with our US colleagues and allies to help identify them,' Commander Jim Morley, the UK's assistant naval attache in Washington DC, told WRDW.
'The possibility that they may, in fact, be from HMS ROSE, a Royal Navy vessel that was part of our fleet operations during the American Revolutionary war is fascinating,' Morley added.
enny Wraight, an Admiralty Librarian with the Royal Navy Naval Historical Branch, said: 'The source of these artefacts has yet to be definitively identified, but it is likely to date back to the American War of Independence when the British occupied Savannah.
'In 1779, HMS ROSE, a 20-gun 6th rate of the Royal Navy's Seaford Class, was scuttled, with no loss of life, in the river to block the channel. After the war, the wreck had to be cleared to restore safe navigation,' Wraight said.
Meanwhile, teams continue to search the area in hopes of recovering more artifacts that could positively identify the wreck.
'We hope that we find something down there that has integrity that can tell more of the story or the history of the Savannah River,' said Farmer.
'Of course, the 1700s there was a lot going on in Savannah at that time. So, it may just be a new part of the story that we're able to uncover,' she added.
Should the foregoing seem to our American readers a trifle slanted in its approach, please bear in mind that it comes from a British source! And as a point of interest, there is a reproduction of HMS Rose living life as a tourist attraction in San Diego, California. It was renamed HMS Surprise for her role in the film "Master and Commander" where she played Jack Aubrey's ship of the same name.
So, again, congrats to the Kiwi sailors,and we'll see you next time!