We are now convinced that the six cannon fragments discovered in Valcour Bay were from New York. This archival research combined with the archaeological data has allowed us to make some conclusions about the events of October 11, 1776. The distribution of the cannon pieces and other artifacts suggests that the cannon fragments on the upper face of the gun were blown into the air, but others on the underside were sent into the bottom of the gunboat. The largest piece of the cannon, the muzzle, likely plunged directly into the water after the explosion. We see this pattern on the lakebed with the muzzle by itself at the center of the explosion and the fragments of the upper face of the gun 140 to 180 feet northwest of the muzzle. The pieces on the underside, which remained in the hull after the explosion, were found southeast of the muzzle. These artifacts are part of a "dump zone" in which the debris in the gunboat was cleared out as the vessel was adrift after the explosion.
The VBRP has mapped only a very small portion of the Valcour battlefield. Future years of research will undoubtedly provide us with a greater understanding of this important naval engagement. The Valcour Bay Research Project is made possible with the funding from the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service and the Department of Defense Legacy Program.
Check out the lists of names of canal boats, builders, owners, and masters and see if you recognize a name. Thank you for your assistance in this ongoing project.
View our lists here:
Captain William Montgomery aboard his sailing canal boat.