National Geographic : 1970 Jul
Thread of water (left) recalls the triumph of U. S. naval forces on Lake Champlain in the War of 1812. To bypass the British fleet, which attempted to bottle him up in Otter Creek, U. S. commander Thomas Macdonough cut this tiny canal from the creek through a swamp to the lake, local tra dition says. By way of it, his small boats could sneak out and surprise the British. Actually, the blockading ships sailed away after a brief cannonade from land. A few months later Macdonough's main fleet moved into the lake and won a decisive naval victory off Plattsburgh in September 1814. White Mist crew member Bob L'Hommedieu and his son explore Macdonough's Dugway, today well hidden by trees at both ends. Waterlogged splinter of history: Flanked by veteran frogmen Frank Scalli, left, and Walt Hornberger, the author in wet suit and diving gloves brings up a shipwreck fragment from the chill depths of Lake Champlain off Schuyler Island. Hoping it might be part of a Revolutionary War vessel, he lashed it aboard White Mist for later examination by experts. EODACHROMES (LEFT) BYARNOLDR. MANCHESTER AND (ABOVE)BY JOHNSHIELDS; EKTACHROME BY EDWINSTUARTGROSVENOR© N.G .S. Old but not historic, came the final verdict on the Schuyler Island shipwreck (right). Reported Smithson ian naval historian Mendel Peterson: "I'd say you've sent us a rotted rib from a 130-year-old coal barge." Nevertheless, Revolution ary relics may await divers. In 1776 two American gun dalows, the Providence and New York, were scuttled near here after the Battle of Val cour Island. Another, the Philadelphia,raised in 1935 at the site of the battle, now rests in the Smithsonian.