British Sloop Industry
“I am extremely sorry to acquaint you that the Industry Transport, Commanded by Captain Lauranes (sic) was unfortunately cast away off the Bar of St. Augustine the 6th . . .”
-- Letter from Major Ogilvie, commander of the St. Augustine Garrison, to General Gage, commander of all British forces in North America, 13 May 1764
The Discovery and Excavation of the British Sloop Industry, Lost in 1764 off St. Augustine
In 1763, as part of the peace negotiations after the Seven Years War, Spain's colony of La Florida was ceded to Britain. As Spanish troops, military supplies, and citizens were evacuated from Florida to Cuba, the colony was re-populated by British troops from the 9th Regiment of Foot, the initial English force garrisoned in St. Augustine. In desperate need of supplies, these soldiers eagerly awaited the arrival of four sloops sent from Royal Army headquarters in New York to St. Augustine, loaded with cargos of weapons, munitions, tools, cookware, and other necessary goods.
One of these ships was the Industry, a merchant ship hired by the British Crown and captained by Daniel Lawrence. Recklessly deciding to navigate St. Augustine's notorious channel without the aid of a local pilot, Lawrence paid for this decision by stranding his ship on a sandbar on May 6, 1764. The loss of the Industry was a blow for Britain's control of Florida, which would only last another two decades (1763-1784).
The wreck of the Industry, designated site 8SJ3478, was discovered in 1997 by archaeologists from Southern Oceans Archaeological Research, Inc. (SOAR), after conducting extensive archival research and a magnetometer survey with support from the state of Florida and the St. Augustine Lightouse and Museum. Excavations were conducted between 1998 and 2000 first by SOAR and subsequently by LAMP, which was formalized in 1999 in conjunction with the ongoing archaeological research on this shipwreck site. A variety of artifacts reflecting the Industry's cargo of tools and military supplies were uncovered and recorded, including eight cast-iron cannon, an iron swivel gun, crates of iron shot, three iron mooring anchors, three millstones, copper cookware, and boxes of tools such as axes, shovel blades, knives, trowels, files, and handsaws. Many of these finds, including one of the cannons and the swivel gun, were recovered, conserved, and are currently on display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum.
LAMP archaeologists have been actively monitoring the Industry wreck site since 2006 by diver inspections and through the use of side scan sonar. This sonar monitoring creates imagery of the site which can help track the erosion and accumulation of sand on the exposed wreckage due to storms and other natural activities.
Links of Interest:
- General Information
- Major Research Projects and Regional Surveys
- Shipwreck Projects
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, Inc. We extend permission to scholars, students, and other interested members of the public to use images and to quote from text for non-commercial educational or research purposes, provided LAMP is acknowledged and credited. If there are any questions regarding the use of LAMP’s work, please inquire at LAMP@staugustinelighthouse.org.