The National Park Service of USA has one sunken vessel in its jurisdiction. They located a British
Man-o-War, The Fowey, a number of years ago and have salvaged many artifacts. Several artifacts are on display in Florida.
John Murray Dunmore, 4th Earl of Dunmore, (1732-1809), British Colonial Administrator was born in Scotland. A member of the British House of Lords from 1761 to 1770, he was
appointed governor of New York in 1770 and of Virginia in 1771. He dissolved the Virginia Assembly in 1772, 1773 and 1774 because of its revolutionary attitude. An action against the Shawnee Indians in 1774, which he supposedly instigated to protect his own property, became
known as Lord Dunmore's War. In April 1775, having had news of the battles of Lexington and Concord, he prompted a revolutionary uprising by transferring part of the colony's
gun power stores from Williamsburg to the British warship Magdalen. After a riot at the June session of the colonial legislature, Dunmore transferred the seat of government to the British man-o-war, Fowey, anchored at
Yorktown. The colonial burgesses declared that he had abdicated, and they vested a committee of safety with executive powers. Dunmore equipped a flotilla and used it to attack Ham.
A variety of nautical, military, and personal artifacts dating to the mid-eighteenth century were recovered from the wreck site of the Fowey.
A number of the artifacts recovered were related to the ship itself and its rigging, such as
chain plates, wooden pulleys and block sheaves, and lead scuppers. Several 16.5 cm square panes of green window glass were recovered, of the "Bull's eye" ; variety detailed by Noel Hume (1969: 234). The ship was ballasted with loose, coarse gravel ("pea rock") as well as the typical British military pig iron. A mound of these iron bars was found, neatly stacked, covering six square meters and weighing an estimated 13.5 tons. A single pig was three feet by six inches by six inches, weighed 320 pounds, and was marked as property of the British crown by an incised, 5 inch long Broad Arrow. The bars had holes bored at an angle through either end, apparently so a rope could be strung through as a lifting aid.
On a wooden ship a fire was a real hazard, so the cooking area had to lined with bricks or tiles. A concentration of bricks, in the appropriate English statute sizes, as well as stone slabs and tiles marked the galley. The remains of a barrel were found in this area as well.
Besides the partially intact barrel, there were many other iron barrel hoops strewn along the wreck site. These casks would have been used as shipping containers for water, victuals, and mercantile cargoes. A few barrel hoops were made of copper and incised with the British Broad Arrow; these would have been used on powder kegs, as copper will not strike sparks like iron can.
Though musket balls and a single gunflint were found, no small arms were discovered. This is not surprising, as the Admiralty records indicate that all of the small arms (except for 33 muskets saved by the crew) were ordered thrown overboard before the Fowey drifted to her final resting place. Bladed weapons were recovered, including English cutlasses and scabbarded bayonets for the British Brown Bess musket. Cannon on the site consisted of four observed 9 and 18 pound iron guns, marked with the British Broad Arrow and the crowned Tudor Rose. Solid iron shot was found in the 6, 9, and 18 pound sizes. As a British fifth-rate man of war, the Fowey would have carried 44 guns of these three sizes.
Many broken and several whole wine bottles were recovered. For the most part, they are dark green and match the sizes and styles associated with British bottles of the 1730's through the 1740's. A variety of pottery fragments were recovered, and the ceramic assemblage dates the site to the 1740's (Vernon 1984). Ceramic types included delftware, faience, Rhenish stoneware, gray and brown saltglazed stonewares, Agate ware, various earthenwares, and porcelain. Some of the French faience sherds match exactly with types known from the 1745 siege context at the French fort Louisbourg, which Fowey visited at least twice after the fort fell to the English.
In addition to ceramics, the Fowey carried plates, platters, porringers, cups, and spoons made from pewter. One pewter basin was stamped "MADE IN LONDON" with a "TIDMARSH" maker's mark. The Tidmarsh family were
pewters in London from 1691 to 1752. Other metal artifacts included a variety of brass buckles (belts, knees, and shoes), a brass sword guard, two pairs of iron navigational dividers, a brass-bound folding ruler, and other items such as candle holders. There were relatively few clothing or personal items recovered by the archaeologists, indicating that the crew may have had time to grab their belongings before abandoning ship.