Revolutionary War Cannon Raised from Savannah Harbor

They remained deep under water for over 200 years. Today, a dozen cannons believed to date from the American Revolutionary War were raised in Savannah, Georgia.

Each 5 feet long, the cannons were found by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is undertaking a project to expand the city’s port.

One of 12 guns found in Savannah Harbor earlier this year. They are believed to have come from one of the British ships scuttled there in 1779. Image: US Army Corps of Engineers.

Three other guns, plus fragments of a fourth, had been found in the same area last year.

In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, British forces captured the town of Savannah but were forced to defend it a year later. HMS Rose, then one of the most formidable ships in the Royal Navy, was brought in to help defend the city.

As part of their attempt to prevent the French from joining the American siege of the city, on September 19, 1779, the British scuttled Rose. They eventually won the battle and remained in command of Savannah until almost the end of the war.

Royal Navy archaeologists and historians initially thought the gun came from HMS Rose. However, the ship was actually sunk further upstream and her artillery removed beforehand. The guns are therefore more likely to have been aboard two armed merchant ships, Venus and Savannah, which were scuttled as part of the same strategy.

The suggestion that the cannon came from the CSS Georgia, a Confederate ship that defended the city during the Civil War of 1861-1865, was ruled out. This despite Georgia being stationed near Old Fort Jackson, where the guns were recently discovered.

The Corps faced a daily struggle with tides and currents in January this year as it placed slings under the guns and used air bags to free them from the mud.

Anchors, tiller shots (a munition designed to destroy rigging that was used during the Revolutionary Wars) and ‘cribs’ (underwater obstruction devices dating from the Civil War) have also been identified in the area. .

The finds will now be analysed, before being displayed in the city, as work continues to deepen the harbor by several feet so that it can accommodate modern supertankers.

“I think it’s fantastic and interesting to find artefacts of maritime history,” Commander Jim Morley, the UK’s deputy naval attaché in Washington, told CNN last year.

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