The Battle of Flamborough Head in Filey Bay


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Dr David Pendleton.  James Hodgson Donald G Shomette

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 Some books by Donald G Shomette

Lost Towns of Tidewater Maryland
2000. 376 pp. 7 ins x 10 ins.
ISBN 0-87033-527-8 $34.95

Tidewater Publishers is pleased to announce the publication of Lost Towns of Tidewater Maryland, written by Donald G. Shomette.

During more than thirty years of exploration on the Chesapeake, noted historian, marine archaeologist, and former staffer Library of Congress Donald G. Shomette has made many important  member of discoveries, from the intact remains of the flagship of an American fleet lost in the War of 1812 to the Kent Island site of the first European settlement in Maryland. During his extensive research into tidewater history, Shomette uncovered a wealth of information about early Maryland's long-forgotten efforts to create and erect scores of urban centres and seaports in the colony Between 1668 and 1751, no fewer than 130 towns and seaports were ordered by the government to be established throughout tidewater Maryland. The scope of these development programs was unrivalled by any other colony. In their concerted efforts to establish a framework of multiple urban centres, the architects of these early plans unfortunately embraced traditional European concepts that were ill suited to the realities of a tobacco economy. In addition, their stubborn belief in the supremacy of man over the forces of nature doomed most of the communities to short lives and ultimate collapse. Many ports died aborning, some in precise syncopation with the silting up of the waterways upon which they had been erected. Some succumbed to the pressures created by the single-crop tobacco economy. Others survived temporarily, only to fall victim to the brutal ravages of warfare. A scant few lived long enough to witness the arrival of the industrial age with its steamboats, railroads, and inland canal system before gasping their last. Today less than a score of the original towns and ports survive. This is the story often early Maryland seaports, chosen to represent a cross-section of all. Each was unique in the manner in which it was given birth, flickered into existence against all odds, matured, and finally expired. The history of Maryland's early efforts at town and port development is not just a tale of buildings and wharves, but also of the men and women-seamen and farmers, jurists and soldiers, politicians and priests, freemen and slaves-who created them, lived and worked in them, held court in them, worshiped in them, defended them, and often perished with them.

Available from booksellers or by contacting Carolina Academic Press, 700 Kent Street, Durham, North Carolina 27701,USA.  (919) 489-7486 FAX (19) 493-5668.

The Hunt for HMS De Braak1993. 444p.
ISBN 0-89089-513-9. $29.95 Plus $5.50 for shipping in the U.S.

The true story of HMS de Braak might have been borrowed from the pages of a Robert Louise Stevenson novel, for it is a classic account of shipwrecks, treasure maps, Weather Witches and mystics hunters and mountebanks. Author Donald Shomette recounts an amazing tale of intrepid deep-sea adventure and the all-consuming lust for gold.

The Hunt for HMS De Braak: Legend and Legacy  uncovers the facts surrounding the famous vessel and the many legends she spawned. On the evening of August 11, 1986, the battered carcass of an ancient warship, believed by many to be laden with as much as $500 million in Spanish treasure, was wrested from the waters of Delaware Bay. The recovery of the remains of the Royal Navy man-of -war De Braak and nearly 26,000 artefacts, dating from the heroic age of Nelson and Bonaparte, had been conducted as a national media event, and brought to an end a remarkable century-long search for a treasure that never existed.

As the hulk was pulled from the sea, the reality behind the myth was uncovered - and one of the worst archaeological debacles in American history was launched. The locations and conditions of artefacts from the De Braak  wreckage - so necessary for historical analysis - were inadequately recorded, or not recorded at all. Many small artefacts were lost forever because the outflow from the airlift system used to dredge up the remains of the ship was not screened. Although the Delaware required that all activities be properly monitored and that artefacts be properly inventoried and analysed for function and placement, the salvors seemed concerned only with the treasure for which they blindly lusted - for naught.

Winner of the prestigious George Lyman Award for Best American Maritime History of 1994.

Available from booksellers or by contacting Tidewater Publishers. P.O Box 456, Centreville, MD 21617 USA,800-638-7641, 410-758-1075. 

Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay
And other Tales of the Lost Chesapeake

1996. 400p. 6 ins x 9 ins.
ISBN 0-87033-480-8.

In this archaeological trilogy, Shomette provides a tour of the treasures beneath the Chesapeake Bay. The New Jersey, which sank in the waters of the Chesapeake in 1870, is the subject of the first part of this absorbing narrative. The wreck, a veritable time capsule of history, became the subject of large-scale relic hunting and also of cutting-edge technology, through the use of remotely operated vehicles, ultrasonic mapping, and imaging sonar

Part Two describes the history and archaeological investigation of Kent Island, where the remains and relics of the earliest permanent European settlement in Maryland were excavated.

Part three of the book chronicles a little known chapter in American History. During World War One, the U.S. government created an emergency program to build hundreds of wooden steamships to replace merchant vessels being destroyed by Germany, Most of these vessels never saw the European theatre and now lie beneath Mallows Bay off the Potomac.


Tidewater Time Capsule
 History Beneath the Patuxen
1995. 384 pp. 6 ins x 9 ins
ISBN 0-87033-463-8.

Only a decade ago few people understood the value of the cultural resources submerged below the waters of the Chesapeake region. Recently, there has been an intensified attempt to study and preserve the priceless resources in the waters of the Bay and its tributaries.

This is the story of one such effort. The Patuxent Project was the first underwater archaeological survey of an entire river system. In this multiphase investigation, archaeologists sought such diverse resources as inundated aboriginal and historic sites, harbour facilities, military establishments, battle sites, shipwrecks, and, in particular, the final resting place of Joshua Barney's famed Chesapeake Flotilla from the war of 1812.

Pirates of the Chesapeake
This being a true History of Pirates, Picaroons, and
the Sea Raiders on the Chesapeake Bay,

1610-1807 1985. 352 pp. 6 ins x 9 ins
ISBN 0-87033-343-7.

Here is a dazzling array of swashbuckling pirates, picaroons, and sea rovers pitted against the often feckless representatives of an out post government authority in the Chesapeake Bay region. It is an exciting and dramatic 200 year history that begins grimly with the "starving time" in the Virginia colony in 1609and ends with the peaceful resolution of the Othello affair with the French in 1807. In between lies a full panoply of violent and bizarre buccaneering incidents that one is hard pressed to imagine from the vantage point of the very early twenty first century.

Shipwrecks on the Chesapeake
Maritime Disasters on the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tributaries

1982 336 pp. 6 ins x 9 ins
ISBN 0-87033-283-X.

The author, a marine archaeologist, shares his great interest in the tragedies and disasters that occurred in the Bay and its tidewater region over a 370 year period. He lists more than 1.800 events that took place between 1608 and 1978, but elaborates on a few of the more significant catastrophes and military losses. Some stand out for their impact upon the course of human events, while others are notable for their immense toll on life and property. Included are the tales of incredible bravery, courage and fortitude, as well as as stories of cowardice, stupidity, and ineptitude.



  Anthony Green April 2021