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US Navy recovers cannon to identify 200-year-old shipwreck

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Oliver Hazard Perry defeats the British on Lake Erie, near Put-in-Bay, Ohio, Sept. 10, 1813. Perry was been quoted as writing “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” (AP Photo)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A cannon that rested in waters off Rhode Island’s shore for two centuries has been raised. Now U.S. Navy archaeologists are hoping to confirm that the ship that sank at the site was a schooner commanded by a War of 1812 hero.

The USS Revenge became ensnared in a reef off Watch Hill in Westerly in 1811. Oliver Hazard Perry ordered his men to jettison guns, masts and the anchor, but lightening the vessel didn’t free it. It sank.

The treacherous reefs, rocks and poor visibility kept the cannon and other artifacts hidden until 2005.

That year, recreational divers from Connecticut found what’s believed to be the naval schooner’s wreck site. Navy divers recovered the cannon May 24.

It’s the first artifact the Navy has raised from the site.

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