As we observe the 243rd year of our nation’s independence this month, a rare relic from the American Revolution is back home in Berkeley County. A British naval cannon, recovered by scuba divers from the Cooper River in the 1980s, returned July 9 to the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center and is again on public display. The museum is an attraction at Old Santee Canal Park. Conservators at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston recently completed the cannon’s nearly two-year restoration. The center is part of Clemson University’s Restoration Institute.
Santee Cooper’s Construction Services department transported the cannon to and from the Lasch Center. Participating in the project were Carl Morris, Wayne Wells, Michael Fitzpatrick and Frankie Metts.
“We were glad to work with the museum and Kearney Gregory in Community Relations, to be a part of preserving this historical artifact that tells part of our nation’s history,” said Todd Robertson, supervisor of Construction Services.
A British warship with the cannon aboard sank into the river’s murky depths during a July 16, 1781, battle with patriot forces, an American victory in which 78 Tories were captured. The warship was anchored near Lewisfield Plantation. The location, called Little Landing in Colonial times, is several miles downstream from the floating dock at Old Santee Canal Park, the site of Stony Landing.
Another cannon and a smaller cannon (a swivel gun) from the warship also sank and were recovered with the larger cannons.
“The cannon is something that vividly brings the Revolution to life, something museum visitors can see and relate to,” said Chelsy Proper, the museum’s executive director. “It is a genuine Berkeley County Revolutionary War artifact, and we are grateful to Santee Cooper for transportation that brought it back home.
“We are fortunate that conservators with special skills needed for restoration were nearby at the Lasch Center. We invite everyone to visit the museum and see this and our other displays from the Revolution.”