The USS Scorpion was a ship that was part of the Chesapeake Flotilla in the War of 1812. Thanks to a partnership between the US Navy/Naval History & Heritage Command, the State of Maryland Trust, and the Maryland department of transportation, a talented team lead by Dr. Bob Neyland, an underwater archaeologist for the Navy, had the opportunity to dive into an investigation of this rich piece of history.
This shipwreck was originally discovered in the late 1970s and was determined to be a Navy ship used by Cmdr. Joshua Barney in the 19th century. Looking toward the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812, this ship was selected for further underwater investigation because it is one of the few War of 1812 shipwrecks whose location is known.
Over the summer, the archaeologist and his team found that the ship is exceptionally well preserved. The decking and upper works are still in place, and the wreck provides a unique glimpse into early naval architectural plans.
Preliminary research and excavation has uncovered artifacts from a surgeon’s chest, sailors grog cup, sail rigging, and galley equipment. There is plenty to continue to reveal in this story, and in all likelihood the ship’s equipment and provisions are on board as well. Thus, it is a naval time capsule from the War of 1812.
The findings from the site will be accessible to the public during the bicentennial commemoration. Located along the Star Spangled Banner Trail, the ship site is only 30 minutes from Washington DC, 20 minutes from Annapolis, and 45 minutes from Baltimore.
To check out their adventures in discovering history so far, click here.
On Wednesday, Oct. 19, we hosted Dr. Neyland on a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the excavation of the USS Scorpion.
Listen to the audio.
Read the transcript.