Ben Ford


Naval power was central to controlling the Great Lakes and, by extension, the interior of North America during the War of 1812. On Lake Ontario, the naval conflict took the form of an arms race with virtually no actual engagements. As a result, few vessels were lost during the war. With the signing of the Rush-Bagot Agreement, however, both belligerents sold vessels and put others in storage, resulting in the wrecks of lost or abandoned war vessels all over the lake. Many of these vessels have been located and studied over the last century. This paper reviews the vessels that have been studied, discusses what has been and what can be learned from these vessels, and notes some of the shipwrecks that are still to be found.