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Divers lead US Navy to Rhode Island shipwreck they say is USS Revenge

The US Navy and researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are investigating the claims that a 200-year-old shipwreck found lying just off Rhode Island is the USS Revenge.

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Another old US Navy vessel, the USS Constitution, sails into Boston Harbor during an underway Battle of Midway commemoration on June 3, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald/U.S. Navy/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Navy and researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are investigating the claims that a 200-year-old shipwreck found lying just off Rhode Island is the USS Revenge.

The two recreational divers who found the wreck are confident that it is the USS Revenge, which sank in 1811 in stormy weather after striking a reef, the Associated Press reported.

"The Revenge was forgotten, it became a footnote," Charlie Buffum, a brewery owner from Connecticut who found the shipwreck while diving with friend Craig Harger, told the AP. "We are very confident this is it."

The divers found the shipwreck six years ago using an underwater metal detector and "after beer-fuelled bull sessions in Buffum's brewery," the AP reported.

This week, they led a Navy research boat and staff from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts back to the wreck, according to Connecticut news outlet The Day.

During the two-day expedition to survey the wreck site, scientists used "a sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicle from Woods Hole that is equipped with sonar, a magnetometer and a video camera," the Day reported.

They also used a torpedo-shaped robot to survey the wreck and find artifacts that could confirm the ship's identity.

The Revenge was commanded by navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry, who ultimately led US forces to victory over the British navy in the War of 1812.

However, wrecking the Revenge almost wrecked Perry's career at a 25-year-old: the Rhode Island native was court-martialled, although he was later cleared of responsibility.

He was later posted to Great Lakes where, after the decisive Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, he was famously quoted as saying: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120209/shipwreck-uss-revenge-us-navy-woods-hole