- On 21/07/2009
- In Underwater Archeology
By Tom Leonard - Telegraph
HMS Diana was only a six-gun armed schooner but her loss in the first naval engagement of the war provided the colonists with one of their first tastes of victory.
In May 1775, the ship, usually used to catch smugglers, took part in the battle of Chelsea Creek in Massachusetts.
For two days, British troops and colonists fought along the waterway which separates the Massachusetts town of Chelsea from Boston.
The redcoats were attempting to reach farms further inland to obtain food while their opponents were trying to block their way.
The Diana, under the command of Lt Thomas Graves – who later became an admiral and served under Lord Nelson – was sent up river to support the British soldiers.
She was initially successful but, as the tide ebbed, Graves appealed for help in towing the schooner to deeper water.
Despite a desperate effort to pull it with barges, the ship was surrounded by some two thousand colonist troops and, as the tide ebbed, she ran aground.