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Published on Nov 6, 2013
Built in 1776, the gunboat Philadelphia is the oldest American fighting vessel in existence. She sank on October 11, 1776, in Lake Champlain during the battle of Valcour Island. After 158 years, the Philadelphia was in her upright position in 60 feet of water. Colonel Lorenzo F. Hagglund, an experienced salvage engineer from New York, made the discovery, and the Philadelphia was lifted with slings and spreaders to prevent her sides from being crushed on August 2, 1935.
The Philadelphia was offered to the National Museum of American History after she was exhibited on a barge in the Lake Champlain region for more than 25 years. She was put on exhibit at the opening of the National Museum in 1965, complete with the 24-pound ball that sent it to the bottom.