The Watermen’s Museum is proud to announce that we are working with the 1781 Foundation in support of the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) Office. During the 2015 ABPP Grant period, the 1781 Foundation was awarded a $32,600 grant. This project is to develop a comprehensive planning and management document. Products will include a detailed research design for the British ships (often called Cornwallis’ Fleet) sunk off of Yorktown VA and Gloucester Point VA during the Battle of Yorktown. Part of the 1781 Siege of Yorktown, this was the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War and was fought over a two-month period in the fall of 1781 in Virginia. The planning document will include objectives for investigating, protecting, and interpreting the more than two dozen shipwrecks in the area.
To date, we have nearly completed research of existing documents and have held multiple public meetings and meetings with county leaders and private individuals. We have conducted interviews with historic and archaeological experts and performed preliminary meetings with dive teams to discuss the process of scuba diving to investigate shipwrecks. We have also conducted preliminary multi-beam sonar examinations of some known shipwrecks and potential shipwreck areas as a means to determine the complexities of mapping out as much of shipwreck area as possible. We are now developing a systematic plan for investigating the entire historic shipwreck area and initiating draft documents for shipwreck protection that can be coordinated with community and industry activities. We are also in the process of developing guidelines and learning objectives for interpretive educational materials which can be used in both physical and virtual training environments.