The Foundation for Coast Guard History has bee n approached by the Maritime Research Division, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina Columbia to help support an underwater search for the US Revenue Cutter GALLATIN which was sunk in Charleston, SC harbor on April 1, 1813. Can you help us in meeting our goal of raising $1,400 to find this historic ship? Read on:

Here's a bit about the the cutter and the search written by Christopher G. Allen-Shinn:

During the War of 1812, the USRC Gallatin played an active role under three different masters until the explosion of her magazine caused her to sink in Charleston Harbor on 1 April 1813. A review of the evidence indicates that remains of the wreck could be located if further study were performed. The timely location of the wreck would provide the US Coast Guard and our partner agencies positive publicity during the Bicentennial Celebration of the war, could lead to the recovery of historic artifacts, and may also allow for a better understanding of the cultural heritage of the Coast Guard. 


The Gallatin had returned to Charleston after a brief cruise up the Atlantic coast from Savannah on 31 March 1813 with intelligence about the locations of Royal Navy warships sailing off of the South Carolina coast. Her master, Captain Silliman, ordered his crew to clean the ship’s muskets before departing the vessel. At about 11:00 hours, a powder explosion destroyed the stern and a quarterdeck, killing several crewmen and soon igniting a fire on the masts and rigging. Although nearby people rushed to rescue the sailors and drag the ship nearer to Blake’s Wharf for salvage, she went down quickly and was never raised. The swift sinking of Gallatin and the series of fires at the Treasury Department during and after the War of 1812 have created a yawning gap in the historic record that would make any find of an early 19th-century Revenue Cutter extremely significant.


The FCGH has agreed to help raise money for the underwater harbor search and here is their request:

CDR Gary M. Thomas, USCG (Retired) 

Executive Director 

Foundation For Coast Guard History


Dear CDR Thomas, 


Please find enclosed a proposal to search for the wreck of the revenue cutter Gallatin that exploded in Charleston Harbor in 1813. The proposal seeks $1,400.00 in funds to launch a week of marine remote sensing survey at the suspected location of the wreck in the harbor. The proposal contains a brief historical and archaeological narrative of the shipwreck and the method to locate the shipwreck. A budget narrative describes the funding needs to undertake the endeavor. If you have any questions, comments, etc. or need additional information please contact me. Thanks again for your interest in this project to uncover the maritime archaeological legacy in South Carolina. 




James D. Spirek 

State Underwater Archaeologist 

Maritime Research Division


Note: The request and full explaination of the funding needs can be found here: FCGH_SCIAA_proposal_12


The funds raissed will be administered through the USC Educational Foundation. If you are interseted in donating to this effort, please contact me at and I will provide you the specifics of how to do so.

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