Royal Military College

Discovery of historic wreck is a significant find

From The Whig

What a glorious discovery has been made of the remains of HMS Montreal ("New shipwreck discoveries hearken back to War of 1812," Aug. 19).

This 22-gun sloop was launched from the Kingston naval dockyard (now home to Royal Military College) in April 1813.

Initially named after the captain general and governor-in-chief of British North America, Sir George Prevost, it was quickly renamed HMS Wolfe and became post ship for the newly arrived commander of the Lake Ontario naval squadron, Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo. It was crewed by some 130 ratings. 

The Wolfe played a key role on Lake Ontario throughout 1813. It was Yeo's flagship during the raid on Sacket's Harbor in May 1813 and fought in the four actions between the British and American squadrons during August and September 1814. 

Perhaps the most famous of these encounters was the "Burlington Races" of Sept. 28, 1813, in which the Wolfe lost its mizen topmast to American fire and was only saved from destruction through a bold move by Commander William Mulcaster on the Royal George, who placed his ship between the Wolfe and the American flagship, allowing Yeo to race away from the danger.

For the next three hours, the American squadron chased the British, who found refuge in Burlington Bay. Within a day, the Wolfe was restored to fighting trim and Yeo was back on the lake.