Museum wants Revolutionary War Boat Saved from Lake Bottom

More than two decades after it was discovered at the bottom of Lake Champlain (between Vermont and New York), a Revolutionary War gunboat may see the light of day under a museum plan to raise, preserve and put the vessel on display.

The Spitfire, a 54-foot boat that’s part of a fleet built by Benedict Arnold before he turned traitor, sank a day after the 1776 Battle of Valcour Island, helping delay a British advance down the lake. The Spitfire’s sinking made it possible for the 1777 American victory at the Battle of Saratoga, a key moment in the American Revolution because it led to French recognition of the fledgling United States of America.

The Spitfire was found during a 1997 sonar survey of the lake. Museum divers check on it yearly. Its mast is still erect and the bow cannon still in the firing position. The ammunition and other artifacts from the battle are buried in mud.

The five-phase plan for raising and preserving the Spitfire calls for planning and construction of a facility on the Burlington, Vermont, waterfront where the Spitfire would be preserved before it is brought to the surface between 2024 and 2026. The first two years of planning would cost an estimated $1 million while the 22-year process would cost about $44 million.

You can read more about the project in an Associated press article at:

You can also read more about the history of the Spitfire in Wikipedia at:


Marty Gale

The boat in question is actually between Vermont and Plattsburgh, NY.
Below is a link which talks about the ship and Plattsburgh’s plan for it:


The construction of Arnold’s fleet in Whitehall, New York, at the south end of the lake, gives Whitehall the claim as the birthplace of the US Navy. Residents of Beverly and Salem, Massachusetts also make this claim in a famous never-ending rivalry, but they are both wrong.
Besides his success in the Battle of Valcour Island and his failed attempt to invade Canada in late autumn 1775, Arnold’s actions in 1777 at Saratoga and elsewhere make his contributions to the American side much more significant than the harm of his subsequent actions after he turned to the British. He is recognized by historians as one of our three best generals in the war, and it was only his pride when he was unjustly turned down for promotion that led to him becoming our most famous traitor.


I wonder when some of our own citizens are having a difficult time earning a living wage whether such an expensive project is justified??


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