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    Provincetown History Snippets: What is the HMS Somerset III?

    Somerset II Provincetown
    January 31, 2019

    The British man-of-war Somerset III terrorized the Cape area for some years up to and during the American Revolution, and was often anchored in Provincetown Harbor, where “boats frequently landed, and the officers helped themselves to water, provisions, and anything else that they wanted” (The Wreck of the Somerset, E.A. Grozier). It ran aground on the Peaked Hill Bars off Provincetown’s backshore on Nov. 2-3, 1778, while in pursuit of a French vessel within sight of land (people apparently clustered on High Pole Hill to watch!). When the wind from the northeast increased, waves and wind together drove the ship onto the bars. The next morning’s high tide brought it onto the beach, where it was claimed by the waiting townspeople, who marched the survivors to Boston and took possession of the ship.

    Shifting sands initially covered the wreck, but parts of it were subsequently revealed, most recently in 2012.

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