Unformatted text preview: Fort St. Louis Ren Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle (1643 1687) was born in Rouen, and attended a Jesuit school. After being rejected by the Order he traveled to Canada and established himself as a fur trader in 1666. In 1669 sold business to search for land route to Asia. Explored the Ohio River and was knighted by Louis XIV for that In 1682 traveled down the Mississippi R. to the Gulf, claiming Louisiana to the king of France. In 1684 he was given a small fleet to establish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi. He set out in four vessels, with 300 people, of which four women and six children. A seventh child was born during the voyage. La Salle's fleet: The Joly, a 40gun frigate The Aimable, a flute The Belle, a barque The Saint Franois, a ketch. A 40gun frigate (like the Joly) A flute (like the Aimable) A barque (like the Belle) A ketch (like the Saint Franois) The whole expedition was a failure. The Saint Franois was taken by pirates during the trip. La Salle missed the Mississippi by almost 300 miles. Then, there was no accurate way to measure longitude. Ft. St. Louis La Belle Aimable In January 1685 they arrived at Matagorda Bay, in Texas, and built a fort which was called St. Louis, located on Garcitas creek, north Lavaca Bay. Then the Aimable ran aground. La Salle sent the Joly back to France with some settlers and a letter asking for supplies. Later, he traveled west in search of the Mississippi River, he left the the Belle inside Matagorda Bay. After two months his men got tired of waiting for him and raised anchor. Caught by a storm, the Belle ran aground in Matagorda Bay in 1686. Trying to walk his way to the Ohio River and Canada he was murdered by his own men. The Belle was found by the Texas Historical Commission in July 1995. To overcome the problems created by the strong currents and low visibility a cofferdam was built around the wreck site and the water drained out. The excavation was carried out by the Texas Antiquities Committee under the best archaeological criteria. Hull remains Disassembled Recorded Cleaned And reassembled before conservation treatment started. A vat was built for the conservation treatment of the reassembled remains of the Belle. The drawings of each timber were immensely usefull in the reconstruction of the hull. Using carpenter's marks found on some of the timbers NAP student Taras Pevni developed a theoretical model that allowed the full reconstruction of the Belle's hull. At the same time Glenn Grieco, another NAP student built two models of the Belle. The first is now in exhibition at the Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport. The second is completed and will stay at Texas A&M University. Model makers and the hidden details These models are actually slightly different, and to experiment with different designs of the upper works, the rigging, and the disposition of the armament. Glenn's Belle 1 Glenn's Belle 2 We must keep in mind that the archaeological evidence only extends to the begining of the 3rd futtocks, and there are no original plans of this vessel. The historical accounts contain descriptions that are, at times, contradictory. Very little is known about its rigging. The discovery of the Belle naturally stirred the attention of the French scholars, and Franois Boudriot, a naval historian and editor, has sponsored the construction of another model of the Belle, based in a set of precious documents pertaining to this ship that were retrieved from French archives. France wanted her and everything back C.S.S. Alabama Built slightly later, the Texas A&M models were based not only on these documents, but also on the archaeological information and stand as the best proposed reconstructions of this ship. On its voyage to the New World the Belle carried 43 men between passengers and crew... Armament The Belle carried 6 fourpounder iron cannons, 8 swivel guns, and 4 bronze guns stored in the hold (although only 3 were found). Many pole arms (halbards, spontoons, and partisans). Partisan. and at least 2 boxes of muskets in the hold. Artifacts 1,150,000 lot numbers. Shoes Copper cauldrons Pewter porringer Barrels and boxes with axes, glass beads, bronze bells, or knives The conservation of the more than 1,000,000 artifacts was entrusted to Texas A&M University, and carried out by a team from the Nautical Archaeology Program (NAP). Wine
bottles Nocturnal Pewter plates Religious objects Brass bells Human remains A skeleton was found in the hold. The Mystery Chest (300 lbs.), Chest contents Carpenters tools Wooden handles Pewter fork Brass sword hilt Sickles Drumsticks Fishing Spear Sounding lead Roman Coin ...
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- Spring '09
- Mississippi River, La Salle, Joly, Saint François, Ft. St. Louis La Belle Aimable