The ship was commanded by US Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry, known for defeating the British in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie and Ontario in the War of 1812, as well as the line: “I have met the enemy and they are ours.”
His battle flag bore the phrase “Don’t give up the ship,” and to this day is a symbol of the Navy.
The divers, Charles Buffum, a brewery owner from Stonington, Connecticut, and Craig Harger, a carbon dioxide salesman from Colchester, Connecticut, say the wreck changed the course of history because Perry likely would not have been sent to Lake Erie otherwise. Sunday is the 200th anniversary of the wreck.
Mr Buffum said he has been interested in finding the remains of the Revenge ever since his mother several years ago gave him the book “Shipwrecks on the Shores of Westerly.” The book includes Perry’s account of the wreck, which happened when it hit a reef in a storm in heavy fog off Watch Hill in Westerly, Rhode Island, as Perry was bringing the ship from Newport to New London, Connecticut.
“I always thought to myself we ought to go out and have a look and just see if there’s anything left,” Buffum said.