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A submerged cannon that a team of divers say is one of the remains of the U.S.S. Revenge, a ship commanded by U.S. Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry in shown in a November 2007 photo. ((Tom Packer/Associated Press))

Divers say they have discovered the remains of the USS Revenge, a ship commanded by U.S. Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry and wrecked off Rhode Island in 1811.

Perry is known for defeating the British in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie off the shores of Ohio, Michigan and Ontario in the War of 1812 and for the line, "I have met the enemy and they are ours." His battle flag bore the phrase, "Don't give up the ship," and to this day is a symbol of the Navy.

The divers, Charles Buffum, a brewery owner from Stonington, Conn., and Craig Harger, a carbon dioxide salesman from Colchester, Conn., say the wreck of the Revenge changed the course of history because Perry likely would not have been sent to Lake Erie otherwise. Sunday is the 200th anniversary of the wreck.

The two, along with a third man, Mike Fournier, set out to find it with the aid of a metal detector. After several dives, they came across a cannon, then another.

They made their first discovery in August 2005, and kept it secret as they continued to explore the area and make additional finds. Since then, they have found four more 107-centimetre-long cannons, an anchor, canister shot, and other metal objects that they say they are 99 per cent sure were from the Revenge.

Buffum and Harger said the items fit into the time period that the Revenge sank, the anchor appears to be the main one that is known to have been cut loose from the ship, and that no other military ships with cannons have been recorded as sinking in the area.