Search Underway for HMS Gaspee, British Ship Burned by Colonists in 1772 Off Rhode Island Coast

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The ship sank on June 10, 1772.

The search for the HMS Gaspee, a British ship torched by Colonists off the coast of Rhode Island in 1772, is underway, CBS News reported.

The remains of the ship could be off the coast of Rhode Island, and marine archaeologists and state officials announced Tuesday that they are making an effort to find discover what they can.

The burning of the HMS Gaspee 250 years ago is considered by many in the Ocean State to have been just as important as the Boston Tea Party in what led to sparking the American Revolution, but is seldom discussed in classrooms, according to CBS News.

The ship was burned by colonists led by John Brown as act of open civil defiance of British authority, Britannica reported.

Brown led eight boats worth of  Rhode Islanders on the cutter in Narragansett Bay and overpowered the captain and crew of the Gaspee, taking over the ship and burning it, Britannica reported.

Brown and his followers were never punished for their actions despite the British rulers attempting to bring those responsible for the ship’s burning to justice.

Rhode Island Rep. Joseph McNamara said Wednesday that he hopes that by announcing they are looking for the remains of the cutter will bring more attention to the story of what happened on June 10, 1772.

The U.K. Consulate in Boston tweeted Tuesday: "Best of luck on your endeavours, huzzah!"

The latest search that will start in July is being conducted by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project using more than $30,000 in privately raised funds, McNamara said, according to CBS News.

"The Gaspee was burned to the waterline," he said. "So we'd be looking for the quadrant of a hull, or a debris field that could tell us about the crew and how they conducted themselves."

Debris that could be recovered using the latest sonar technology include pieces of metal, ceramic or flint, among other things, he said.

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