British Military used the waters of the St. Lawrence River off Fort Haldimand for the abandonment of unserviceable iron ordinance to place them beyond use by the Americans in 1807. Orders were issued in a letter written by Lieutenant Colonel James Green, Military Secretary,
In the early 1960’s scuba diving was in its infancy. The commercialization of the on- demand regulator invented by Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan had started a revolution in underwater discovery. This invention made diving equipment affordable and easily available to sport diving. Two scuba divers from
Binghamton NY area, Jack
Schum and Harold Baker Jr. came to in 1962 and while looking for old
bottles discovered what Colonel Green had denied the Americans 150 years
Bay Carleton Island
Headline October 31st 1962 as recorded in the Auburn Citizen:
“For Sale: Cannon from the St. Lawrence River Bottom” The article went on to detail that the divers had recovered an 18 pound Iron Cannon near Carleton Island in Cape Vincent, NY. It was 12 foot in length, its bore was 5 ½ inches and the barrel was marked with a Tudor-rose Crest and an arrow.
By March 1963 the cannon was in
. It fell under the stewardship of
Wallace F. Workmaster, curator of history for the State Education Department at
Fort Ontario Historic site, on loan from the Oswego, New York New York
Museum in .
At the time there was much speculation about the age of the cannon and
how it came to be in the River. Mr
Workmaster knew that much more research was needed to document its history. The
cannon was too early a piece to be displayed in the mid-19th Century
Fort Ontario. An appropriate carriage was constructed and the gun was mounted
and displayed prominently on the approach to the fort. Albany
The two cannon recovered in 1962 & 1963 by Jack Schum of
Harpursville NY and
Harold Baker, Jr., of are
technically Iron Guns of the Calverin type. This is a class of artillery with a
bore of 5.2 inches and that fired an 18 pound ball. Each cannon has a Rose and
Crown Cypher which dates to before 1714.
The third cannon recovered in 1973 by Peter Perrault and the Syracuse Scuba
Society Dive Club weighs about 3400 pounds and belongs to a type of artillery
know as a Demi-Calverin that fired a 9 pound ball. This cannon had the Rose and Crown cypher of
George II which would make its age between 1727 and 1760. (ref “Artillery
Through the Ages” by A. Manucy) Binghamton
Ordnance of these types were listed as being at
as late as 1804 in the British Military Records RG8 series. These records also indicate that in 1807,
with the possibility of the outbreak of hostilities between the Carleton Island US and Britain,
steps were taken to prevent ordnance at
from falling into American hands. The guns were most likely sunk in the River
where they rested for over 150 years before being discovered. Carleton Island
The Rose and Crown 18 pound cannons were displayed publicly at
from 1963 to about 1994. For a period of years, they were protected by
annual hand treatments with Crown Metal Preservative which had worked
well to protect the cast iron. At some point in time,
these treatments were stopped. The exhibition of the two large cannons outside
was ended when the guns were taken to the Peebles Island Resource Center of New
York State Office of Parks, Recreation , and Historic Preservation, Fort Ontario . The 12
pound George II is on public display at Waterford, New
and remains outside all year. Sackets Harbor
|Gerorge I I cypher |
third cannon recovered.
As to the origin of the guns, the most detailed information is a letter documenting the guns location at the end of the seventeenth century based on inscriptions found on the cannon and recorded in the 1698 Board of Ordnance survey in Britain. The information was provided to Parks in 1985 by Adrian Caruana of Swansea, Hampshire, U.K., a retired Royal Artillery officer and researcher. There are some issues with this information and it is not collaborated or conclusive. The 12 pound cannon of George II seems to have less know about it.
Futher research done Charles Trollop of Ordinance Society of Great Brittan. From the marking on the iron guns and information in the “The Browne survey” which was carried out by British ordnance in 1699 and preserved in the British National Archives, he was able to specificly identify the guns as follows.
The number 5633 is, as above, part of Browns survey and inscribed when this gun was aboard the Vanguard. This gun also went to New York in 1739.
|Rose & Crown at the|
Canadian War Museum
|George II at Sackets Harbor Battle Field|
|Rose & Crown at the|
Canadian War Museum