The 1999 Chesapeake Flotilla Gunboat Project

During the summer of 1814, two Jeffersonian gunboats serving in Commodore Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Flotilla were reported scuttled in St. Leonard's Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. Archaeological investigations identified the remains of one vessel (Vessel D1) in 1998. This vessel was near the old St. Leonard town peninsula, adjacent to a second wreck that was investigated this summer. The second vessel, Vessel D2, possesses vital archaeological potential as support for the identification of both vessels.


Jeff Enright and Dr. Lawrence Babits inspect and artifact from Vessel D2.

In total, 293 artifacts were archaeologically recovered from Vessel D2 and are currently undergoing conservation. Final site and conservation reports are scheduled for completion before the year's end, but these preliminary findings suggest both vessels were constructed at the same shipyard during the same time period.


Tane Casserly records an artifact.


Setting up at St. Leonard's Creek.

In July 1999, nautical archaeologists from the Maryland Historical Trust and graduate students from East Carolina University uncovered parts of the more disarticulated Vessel D2. This archaeological investigation revealed that many of Vessel D2's construction features and timber configurations resembled their counterparts on Vessel D1. Additionally, artifacts recovered from the D2 site, such as ship fasteners and brass buttons, closely matched those found on D1.


Kim Eslinger records a timber from Vessel D2.

This was the second summer of successful fieldwork in the shallow, muddy waters of St. Leonard's Creek under the supervision of State Underwater Archaeologist, Dr. Susan Langley. Last year, graduate student Jeffrey M. Enright was able to develop this research into his master's thesis for the Program in Maritime Studies at East Carolina University. This year Jeff returned as the principal investigator for the St. Leonard Creek site, and again has accomplished significant results for the effort.

The archaeological research is funded in part by a grant from the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program with additional support provided by the Department of Defense Legacy Resources Management Program.

The crew for the St. Leonard Creek site consisted of: Jeffrey Enright (Principal Investigator), Jenna J. Watts (Assist. Field Director and Lead Conservator), Kathy Concannon (Field Crew and Assistant Conservator), Tane Casserley (Field Crew), Kim Eslinger (Field Crew), Russell Green (Field Crew), Michael Hughes (Field Crew), Matthew Muldorf (Field Crew), and Michael Plakos (Field Crew). (Sails and Oars, Vol.3 No.2)