The Welland Historical Museum has a new, interactive shipwreck exhibit about the HMS General Hunter. The British Royal Navy 10-gun brig (built in 1806) played an active role in the War of 1812, including in the capture of Detroit and the pivotal Battle of Lake Erie, where it was captured by the Americans. The General Hunter was used as a US Army transport ship until it was washed ashore in 1816 by a fierce Lake Huron gale. Later, the ex-warship was ransacked and burned. 185 years later, the General Hunter was rediscovered as a shipwreck on the Southampton Beach in Ontario.
Ken Cassavoy was the marine archaeologist who led the excavation and identification process. In addition, he was also heavily involved in designing the museum exhibit that brings the story of the General Hunter to life. I spoke with Cassavoy about the ship’s fighting days, how he went about identifying the shipwreck, and why the exhibit may remind you of an episode of CSI. Continue reading