A copy of the report on our third field session (Sept.-Oct. 2012) is attached. I hope we can go back in the spring and continue work.
During September and October 2012, IMH plans to continue an underwater reconnaissance in the Delaware River for several American warships and one British warship that were sunk in 1777. Our work will support the efforts of Andrew Doria – The First Salute, Inc., to build a replica of the brigantine Andrew Doria, one of the vessels lost. She was one of the first four vessels purchased by Congress for the Continental Navy in 1775. The project will be coordinated with the State of New Jersey and the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.
On our way to the Delaware and back we will also reconnoiter 88 possible shipwrecks in the Chesapeake Bay for the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT). Five of the sites are in the Potomac, and 83 are in the Bay. We have scanned many of them in prior transits, but have only dived a few. Many of them may never have been dived. The sites lie along 147 miles of transit from Tall Timbers MD to the C&D Canal. Site data will be reported to MHT and nobody else.
Scanning will employ IMH’s hard-mounted sidescan sonar. When conditions and manpower allow, we will also use a Marine Sonic Technologies “Splash Proof PC” sonar on loan from the National Park Service. The Marine Magnetics “Explorer” magnetometer that was used in the first part of the project in April and May 2012 is not currently operational, but we will use it if it is repaired in time. Participants can gain as much “scope time” as they want.
Targets selected by MHT will be dived by IMH volunteers, manually mapped, and scanned with metal detectors. To maximize volunteer participation, those dives would be conducted on weekends and clustered geographically to meet divers. The transit schedule would be adjusted to suit. The project depends on IMH receiving funds to work in the Delaware River. The Chesapeake work could then be performed along the way at minimal cost to participants.
Participation requires the usual diving waivers plus your agreement not to disturb sites, not to move or remove anything, and not to tell anyone outside the project where we went or what we found. “No take, no talk.“
An interim report on progress so far is attached.
The Continental Navy brigantine Andrew Doria (sic) was a former merchant brig that was purchased by the Continental Congress late in 1775 and sas rerigged and converted to a warship at the Humphreys shipyard in Philadelphia. She fought in the battles of Block Island and Nassau, received the first international salute to the American flag from the Dutch at St. Eustatius, and was burned to prevent capture near Philadelphia on 21 or 22 Nov 1777 after the Royal Navy forced the Delaware River.. Oh, those Brits….
A non-profit group called Andrew Doria – The First Salute, Inc. wants to build a replica, and wants to find and map the original to make the replica more accurate. They think they know where the brigantine and a British prize named Racehorse were burned.
The site probably is heavily sedimented. If the vessels were destroyed too quickly to strip them first, and if their guns were iron (probable) and are still there (doubtful), there is a good chance we can find them with a magnetometer. However, ground-truthing any buried mag hits would require excavation, which is far beyond the scope on this initial reconnaissance. All we could accomplish on this trip is to localize mag targets for later investigation, a necessary first step.
If First Salute is correct about where the wrecks lie, the search should only take a day or two. I hope we can do it in April while we are in Delaware River for the Fort Elfsborg search and while we still have LAMP’s good mag on loan. The project would be coordinated with the Naval History and Hertitage Command, and the New Jersey Bureau of Archaeology and Ethnography. Stay tuned. As always, contact IMH if you would like to participate.
We are contemplating a massive reconnaissance project to run from18 August to 10 November 2011, to investigate a long list of targets (372 at current count) in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays and off Cape Henlopen. A draft project plan is attached as a .pdf file.
The idea is to start when Roper returns from her summer soujourn at St. Augustine, and to finish in time to pull the U-1105 buoy on 12-13 November for the winter. “We are ready now … as soon as we refuel.”
Anyone interested in participating as a diver, tender, boat-driver or researcher would be very welcome, subject to our rule against disturbing sites or disclosing them to others who might: “no take, no talk.” Some of the diving will be easy, and some challenging. All of it will be low-viz or no-viz. Most targets are in 40 feet or less, but some are as deep as 90 feet.
If you would like to sign up or get more information please use the “contact” link or email firstname.lastname@example.org.