The Hamilton and Scourge were initially named the Diana and the Lord Nelson respectively, before the War of 1812. They were not large specialized war vessels; instead, they were simple merchant ships that were pressed into service for the American Navy just prior to the War of 1812.
Long before the sinking of the Titanic, the Hamilton and the Scourge, capsized in Lake Ontario in 1813. Today, these unique shipwrecks are the only complete 1812 warships in the world and rest under 300 feet of water. Using first-hand accounts and sonar technology, these wrecks have been found and investigated.
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The City of Hamilton's Role
Legislation Protecting the Wrecks
The City of Hamilton Act, 1979, enabled the City to pass by-laws relating to all aspects of the study, raising, display and restoration of the Hamilton and Scourge as well as their artifacts.
Ownership was still with the United States Navy until 1978 when it was transferred to the City of Hamilton by Congress through the Royal Ontario Museum. The City of Hamilton stepped in and assumed title to the wrecks at that time largely due to the enthusiasm of the then Mayor John A. MacDonald and Alderman William M. McCulloch.
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