A little known fact of the Revolutionary War is that Captain James Cook’s bark, HMB Endeavour, was purposely sunk by the Royal Navy in the waters off Providence, RI. British leaders ordered the ship, along with ~13 other transports, scuttled to prevent Continental and French forces from entering the harbor. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project recently launched a $300,000 fundraising effort to finance operations to identify HMB Endeavour from among eight Revolutionary War era shipwrecks it has previously discovered.
HMB Endeavour is most widely associated with Captain James Cook’s 18th century expeditions throughout the Pacific Ocean and exploration of Australia. A full-size replica was built in 1993 and serves as a floating exhibit of the Australian National Maritime Museum. Also designed for exploration, NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour, was named in honor of Captain Cook and his ship. Following Captain Cook’s voyages, the Royal Navy sold off the bark and it was renamed Lord Sandwich (incidentally, Captain Cook named what is today Hawaii as the Sandwich Islands in honor of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, the then First Lord of the Admiralty). Lord Sandwich was contracted in 1776 by the Royal Navy as a transport and was employed as a prison ship prior to being scuttled in 1778.