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The Rigging Material from Boscawen: Setting the Sails of a Mid-Eighteenth-Century Warship during the French and Indian War

Alan Thomas Flanigan
Thesis: May 1999
Chair: Crisman
Nautical Archaeology Program


To secure English control of Lake Champlain in the final years of the French and Indian War, General Jeffrey Amherst ordered the construction of the brig Duke of Cumberland and the sloop Boscawen. Within days of setting sail in 1759 these vessels established British naval superiority upon the lake. At the conclusion of the war in 1763, the vessels were removed from service and moored at the King's Shipyard below Fort Ticonderoga. Stripped of their rigging and armament they settled into the muddy bottom of Lake Champlain.

In 1983 the accidental discovery of the sloop Boscawen led to its excavation during the next two summers and a multidisciplinary study of the naval architecture, maritime history, and archaeology related to the vessel. The excavation produced over 5,000 artifacts of which the 90 items related to Boscawen's rigging are presented in this thesis. The study of these artifacts has contributed to our knowledge of the rigging of one of the earliest colonial freshwater warships.

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