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Deadman Bay

In the fall of 1813, two frigates were commissioned to be built at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Kingston, Princess Charlotte and Prince Regent. On 14 April 1814 both vessels were launched and by 1 May they were ballasted, rigged, armed, and ready to begin their service on Lake Ontario. The launching of these two frigates gave the Royal Navy uncontested control of Lake Ontario early in the navigation season. Princess Charlotte and Prince Regent took part in attacks on Fort Oswego and Sackets Harbor.

With the peace after the War of 1812, the Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817 limited the number of active armed vessels on the Great Lakes and all other vessels were to be put up in ordinary. In 1832, the decision was made to terminate the presence of the Royal Navy on the Great Lakes. On 15 March 1832 instructions were issued to sell all vessels and naval stores on the Lakes. While attempts were made to sell some of the vessels remaining in the dockyard, only the St. Lawrence, was definitely sold. Princess Charlotte and Prince Regent were sunk in Hamilton Cove (later named Deadman Bay) on the opposite side of Point Henry.

It was not until 1938 that the two wrecks in Deadman Bay were first investigated. Ronald Way, the Director of Fort Henry, built a platform over the wrecks in February that year to enable a hard-hat diver to recover artifacts from the wrecks. In 1952, Dr. Richard Preston of the Royal Military College (RMC) wrote a paper on the vessels in Deadman Bay based on several dives by a RMC diver. At that time the wrecks were so well preserved that the diver could enter below the lower deck of the Prince Regent. In 1987, Preserve Our Wrecks, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the shipwrecks in the Kingston area, revisited the site and surveyed the wrecks. Between 1995 and 1998, a photographic survey of the wrecks was conducted with stimulus from the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels to the Great Lakes. Jonathan Moore, a Parks Canada Marine Archaeologist, continued research on these wrecks that included re-measuring the length and breadth of the remaining timbers and detailed measurements of the mast steps removed from Princess Charlotte by Ronald Way, now held by Fort Henry National Historic Site and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.

In 2000, a non-disturbance survey of Princess Charlotte was conducted by a team of three Texas A&M graduate students under the direction of Daniel Walker, whose MA thesis assembled the research from the survey.