17th Century Cannon Returned To New York


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Cape Vincent Cannon display 2A cannon dating to the mid 1600s, which had been salvaged from the St. Lawrence River at the head of Carleton Island in the Town of Cape Vincent decades ago, has been returned to New York.

Plans are in the works for a long term loan to allow for the cannon’s display at the Village of Cape Vincent’s East End Park on the shores overlooking Carleton Island, where so much of the cannon’s history played itself out.

The nearly 6,000-pound cannon was cast in Britain in the mid-17th century and sent to New York in November 1739 on the HMS Vanguard. During the French and Indian War, it was moved to Oswego or Fort William Henry. It was captured by the French in 1756 or 1757, and recaptured by the British at the Battle of Isle Royal near present day Ogdensburg, NY in 1760.

During the American Revolution, the cannon was moved from Fort William Augustus (Isle Royal) to Fort Haldimand at Carleton Island. Just before the start of the War of 1812, it was sunk in the St. Lawrence to keep it from falling into the hands of the Americans. It was recovered by American divers in the early 1960s, and became the property of the New York State Museum.

New York State offered the cannon as a long-term loan to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, where it has been for more than two decades. Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site has now taken possession of the cannon.

Photo provided by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

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