Of all the enemy ships that haunted Provincetown Harbor during the Revolutionary War, perhaps the most fearsome was the huge British man-of-war H.M.S. Somerset. With her 64 mounted guns and crew of 400, she symbolized British tyranny where-ever she appeared along the New England coast.
On November 2, 1778, a tempest drove the Somerset onto the shallow Peaked Hill Bars that lay just offshore (about 3 miles / 5 km to your right). Fifty crewmen drowned as storm waves battered the great ship, yet most survived to be taken prisoner by Cape Cod militia. After stripping the frigate of its armament, defiant patriots burned the ship down to the waterline.
Fragments of the Somerset remain buried along the shore, where wave action occasionally exposes them to view.
Built in Chatham, England in 1748, the Somerset saw action in the French and Indian War, and the Revolutionary War. She transported some of the British who marched on Lexington and Concord, and her guns were heard at Bunker Hill.