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Massachusetts looks for lost Revolutionary War ship

Massachusetts is looking for a lost Revolutionary War ship from the Battle of Chelsea Creek.
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Massachusetts has received a $48,300 grant from the National Park Service to find a Revolutionary War ship, and to preserve the battlefield where the Battle of Chelsea Creek was fought.

The Battle of Chelsea Creek was the first naval engagement of the Revolutionary War, lasting two days in May 1775. A notable result of the battle was the capture and destruction by fire of the HMS Diana – a loss that directly influenced and limited the success of the British fleet during the subsequent, more notorious Battle of Bunker Hill.

The grant will be used try to locate any remains of the HMS Diana, and to use GIS mapping to record the sites of British and American military operations of the battle.


The grant was one of 33, totaling $1,360,000, given to 23 states or territories by the National Park Service to assist in the preservation and protection of America’s significant battlefield lands. The list and funding amounts are as follows:

Brown County Historical Society (Minnesota) $33,008: This project will identify the boundaries of Dakota War battlefields at Milford and New Ulm through analysis of extant landscape features, historic maps, oral histories and archeological investigation. Mapping of cultural resources and delineation of battlefield boundaries will aid in the completion of National Register of Historic Places nominations for each site.

Chester County, Pennsylvania $39,890: The Battle of Brandywine was the largest single-day battle of the American Revolution and, although the Continental Army was defeated, George Washington demonstrated, for the first time, his ability to withstand a direct engagement with General Howe’s army. This project will identify and inventory threatened parcels of land within the Brandywine Battlefield National Historic Landmark boundaries, prioritize their importance, and develop a GIS-based animated map to aid in the county’s effort to raise awareness of the battlefield’s significance among members of the community.

Civil War Preservation Trust (Virginia) $40,000: A preservation plan will be developed for the privately owned areas surrounding the gateway to the Wilderness Battlefield unit of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. This product will provide local stakeholders with a practical tool that envisions solutions for the protection of the historic battlefield’s integrity, while simultaneously respecting the community’s goals for new development.

Coastal Heritage Society (Georgia) $46,932: Building on the work of a previous ABPP grant, this archeological investigation will define the boundaries of the 1779 Savannah battlefield. Archeologists will examine the Carolina Redoubt, reserve and counter-attack positions, French offensive earthworks, and camp sites associated with American and French forces, with the goal of establishing the boundaries upon which a preservation plan can be developed in the future.

Culture and Heritage Commission of York County, South Carolina $39,250: Huck’s Defeat, also known as the battle of Williamson’s Plantation, was the first battle after the British capture of Charleston in which patriot militia defeated regular troops of the British army. The success bolstered morale and laid the groundwork for later patriot victories. Archeological investigation of Huck’s Defeat will identify the battlefield’s extent on both county-owned land and adjacent private property. This effort will provide the baseline data required for the future development of a cultural resource management plan for York County, South Carolina.

Fauquier County, Virginia $25,000: The battles of Rappahannock Station I and II were the first and last significant Civil War battles fought in Fauquier County, Virginia. An interpretation plan for these battlefields will be developed as a tool for guiding the short- and long-term public education endeavors of the Fauquier County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Friends of Pecos National Historical Park (New Mexico) $21,400
: A stabilization plan will be developed for the historic Santa Fe Trail bridge at New Mexico’s Glorietta Pass battlefield. The bridge, which was used by troops from Colorado and New Mexico, as well as by Confederate invaders, is one of only two structural features at the site that remain from the 1862 engagement.

Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, Inc. $20,285
: Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, Palmito Ranch was the site of the Civil War’s last land battle. To facilitate public accessibility and interpretation at the site, this project will include development of a cultural resource inventory towards a preservation plan for the Palmito Ranch battlefield.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division $61,833: This project will include underwater archeological investigation to confirm the identity of a shipwreck discovered via remote sensing. Based on primary resources, the wreckage is thought to be that of the USS/CSS Water Witch – a Federal gunboat captured in a daring nighttime raid by a Confederate boat force in the Little Ogeechee River, south of Savannah. If confirmed as the Water Witch, a National Register nomination will be completed for the site.

Historical Preservation Group, Inc. (North Carolina) $36,250
: In 1862, the First Battle of Kinston provided the Union with an early victory in eastern North Carolina, but the battlefield served as the Confederacy’s front line of defense until March 1865 when Union troops advanced after the Battle of Wyse Fork to join Major General William Tecumseh Sherman in Bentonville. This project will develop an interpretation plan for the Kinston battlefield that will identify strategies for public education and marketing for preservation advocacy.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (Vermont) $37,764: Valcour Bay was the site of the Revolutionary War naval battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in Clinton County, New York. Although the American forces lost nearly their entire fleet, the damage inflicted on the British strategically delayed any invasion until the American forces grew stronger. The Museum has conducted extensive underwater archeology at this battlefield site through a previous ABPP grant, and will produce stereoscopic 3D HDTV and 2D HDTV images to record the site and condition of the sunken American gunboat, Spitfire.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (Vermont) $41,381: In conjunction with its high-resolution documentation project, the museum will investigate the impact of invasive mussel species – Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels – as threats to the Revolutionary War gunboat, Spitfire. This project will assess the mussels affect on the wooden shipwreck’s stability, integrity and rate of deterioration, and help guide future preservation planning decisions. Mableton Improvement Coalition, Inc. (Georgia)$45,000: A cultural resource inventory for the Johnston’s River Line Battlefield Park will be developed as a tool for guiding preservation of the unique “Shoupade” fortification system designed by Confederate Brigadier General Francis Ashbury Shoup. The Shoupades were characterized by Federal Major General William Tecumseh Sherman as “…one of the strongest pieces of field fortifications I ever saw,” but were never built at any other site.

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development $40,000: Considered among the most well-preserved War of 1812 battlefields in Maryland, Caulk’s Field is the site upon which 170 American militiamen defeated 260 British troops on August 31, 1814, following the burning of Washington, DC. This project will complete Phase I archeological assessment in support of a National Register nomination for the battlefield.

Maryland Department of Planning $78,000: This statewide project will identify and assess naval engagements associated with the Revolutionary and 1812 Wars in Maryland. Collection of baseline data at six engagement sites will be used to build future planning and management efforts including National Register nomination for eligible sites.

Maryland State Highway Administration $60,000: The defeat of American forces by British invaders at the Battle of Bladensburg on August 24, 1814, resulted in the capture and burning of Washington, DC. This project begins a multi-phased plan for the interpretation of Bladensburg battlefield and will include: GIS mapping of historic resources and battlefield boundaries; development of a research design outlining methods and techniques for archeological survey; evaluation of the site’s eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places; and creation of cultural resource inventory.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (Connecticut) $59,700
: This project will build upon investigations supported by ABPP in 2007 and will include archeological survey and collection of GIS data to support completion of a National Register nomination for the May 26, 1636, battle of Mystic Fort. The study area will include the fort, as well as sites associated with 6-8 additional actions. Spanning hundreds of acres, the Battle of Mystic Fort is a unique example of protracted combat between early 17th century Colonial and Native people.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs $48,300
: Overshadowed by the Battle of Lexington/Concord, the Battle of Chelsea Creek was a significant part of the siege of Boston for its role as the first naval engagement of the Revolutionary War. A notable result of the battle was the capture and destruction of the HMS Diana – a loss that directly influenced and limited the success of the British fleet during the subsequent Battle of Bunker Hill. Archeological investigation will endeavor to locate the remains of HMS Diana, and GIS mapping will record the sites of British and American military operations.

Metuchen-Edison Historical Society (New Jersey) $31,523
: With its intact 18th-century road network, Short Hills – site of the June 26, 1777 Revolutionary War battle – is a unique example of urban battlefield terrain. Archeological assessment of the site, along with investigation of primary resource documents, will culminate in the completion of a National Register of Historic Places nomination.

National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office $62,028: A cultural landscape survey will be conducted for the World War II battlefield of Kiska. For nearly 14 months, Japanese forces occupied Kiska and several other remote islands off the Alaskan mainland. Following the Aleutian Campaign and scores of attacks from U.S. Army and Navy squadrons, the Japanese evacuated Kiska and American forces recaptured control of the island.

Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority $30,000: To help guide park development operations and determine National Register eligibility, a historic resource inventory will be conducted at White’s Ford. This project will document terrain features associated with skirmishes fought at the site, as well as troop movements preceding the battles of Antietam and Balls Bluff.

Palm Beach County, Florida $40,790: Powell’s Battle and Jesup’s Battle were the last two major engagements of the Second Seminole War – the longest conflict waged against any Native group on American soil. More than 500 Seminoles and Black Seminoles were relocated out of Florida after the conclusion of these battles in 1838. Site identification and GIS mapping will be conducted to determine the boundaries of these battlefields as a first step in the process of developing a plan for preservation of this historic landscape.

Research Foundation of State University of New York at Binghamton $37,357
: Chemung was the first of only two major battles associated with the Clinton-Sullivan Campaign of the Revolutionary War, and is thought to be a critical prelude to the Battle of Newtown and the defeat of Native American, British and Loyalist forces. Documentary research, field mapping, and stakeholder interviews compiled during by this project will help define the Chemung battlefield’s boundaries and contribute to the creation of a research design for future comprehensive preservation planning and determination of National Register eligibility.

Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission $37,320: The Nipsachuck battlefield is the location of two key engagements between New England colonists and Native Americans in the King Philip’s War, 1675-76. Through examination of documentary records and archeological collections, review of oral histories, and field assessment, this study will identify likely battle locations, develop a research design and obtain landowner consent for future archeological investigation.

Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana $52,740: The Battle of New Orleans was the last major military engagement of the War of 1812. This project will draw on historical research and archeological investigation to identify sites of occupation by British troops at the Villeré Plantation, which served as their headquarters during the waning days of the New Orleans military campaign.

San Diego Archaeological Center (California) $46,500: The Battle of San Pasqual, December 6, 1846, marked an early defeat for American forces during Mexican-American War and is consider among California’s bloodiest battles. This project will determine defensible boundaries of the San Pasqual battlefield and, based on those findings, complete a nomination for listing of the battlefield on the National Register of Historic Places.

Saratoga PLAN, Inc. (New York) $31,500:
In advance of an interpretive trail that will connect properties associated with the 1777 Revolutionary War Battle of Saratoga, archeological investigation will confirm the location of American field fortifications along the south bank of the Fish Creek. In addition, a cultural landscape inventory will be conducted on private lands surrounding portions of the Saratoga National Historical Park to further inform the trail’s development.

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (Virginia) $50,000: This project will develop a preservation plan that recommends public and private strategies for preservation of the Cedar Creek battlefield areas outside the boundary of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The effort will engage community organizations, county governments, and private landowners in a steering committee to determine appropriate priorities and initiatives for preservation of the landscape upon which the success of Union victory, despite daring surprise attack by Confederate forces, contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln.

Ships of Exploration and Discovery Research (Northern Mariana Islands) $49,967: The Battle of Saipan, which was fought between American and Japanese forces in the Mariana Islands during World War II, was one of the most politically and militarily significant battles of the war – American capture of Saipan brought land-based, long range B-29 bombers within range of striking Japan. Through archeological survey, and GIS mapping of Invasion Beach at Tanapag Lagoon, this project will identify and document submerged remains of the Battle of Saipan for use in the future development of an underwater maritime heritage trail.

Southern Financial Partners (Arkansas) $54,707: On July 4, 1863, Confederate forces attacked Helena, Arkansas, in an effort to draw Union forces away from the siege at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Archeological investigation of the Helena battlefield will provide baseline data for the development of preservation strategies to prevent further destruction of extant earthworks.

Unison Preservation Society (Virginia) $10,853: After the Confederate defeat at Antietam, Major General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry attacked the Army of the Potomac at Unison – a successful attempt to delay the Union troops and screen the retreat of the larger Confederate forces. As a result, the Confederates were able to regroup, and Unison became the final loss for Union Major General George McClellan. Following up on the work of a previous ABPP grant, development of a National Register of Historic Places nomination will be undertaken for the Unison battlefield.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Board of Regents $24,056: During the 1865 Indian War, the battles of Mud Springs and Rush Creek contributed to the development of military strategies and policies for Post-Civil War frontier conflict. This project will include delineation of boundaries associated with the Mud Springs and Rush Creek battlefields, and with the route used by Native and U.S. forces as they traveled from one site to the other. With the support of this assessment, a National Register nomination will be developed.

University of South Alabama $26,666: While the site of Fort Mims – scene of a major battle during the Creek War of 1813 – is currently preserved as a state park, few other sites associated with this conflict have been identified for protection. Archeological survey undertaken through this project will locate, identify, and evaluate battle sites associated with Redstick Creek Indians and Mississippi Territorial Volunteers, and recommend future preservation action based on these findings.

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