"Our eyes were bulging out of our heads," diver Craig Harger told AOL News in an interview today, describing the discovery. "We were just flabbergasted."
The Revenge went down after striking a reef in heavy fog on Jan. 8, 1811. Perry became famous for his later role in an 1813 naval battle with the British on Lake Erie and for saying, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."
The sinking of the Revenge changed the course of U.S. history, Harger said, since it resulted in Perry being taken from the Atlantic and sent to the Great Lakes.
"He wrecked the Revenge, was commissioned to the Great Lakes and won that battle," Harger told AOL News. "If a lesser man had been there, who knows what would've happened?"
Harger, with fellow divers Charles Buffum and Mike Fournier, began looking for the wreckage more than five years ago. Buffum had been fascinated by the story of the Revenge ever since his mother gave him a book called "Shipwrecks on the Shores of Westerly."
"The account of Oliver Hazard Perry's wreck said the ship jettisoned eight cannons," Harger told AOL News. "We said, 'Let's go take a look.'"
On their third dive in August 2005, they found a cannon. They kept their discovery secret as they continued to explore the area, The Associated Press reported. Since then, the men have found five more 42-inch-long cannons, along with an anchor, canister shot and other metal objects.
They say they're confident that these artifacts are from the right period and match the official history of the sinking of the Revenge.
The find "fits the account of what happens," Harger told AOL News. "There are just too many things that fit."
Perry was born in 1785, near Wakefield, R.I., and went to sea at the age of 13, according to a biography on the National Park Service website.
In 1809, he was made captain of the 14-gun schooner Revenge -- his first seagoing command.
The command ended in disaster when the ship struck a reef in January 1811. A court-martial exonerated Perry, pinning the blame on the ship's pilot.
Perry won fame for his victory against British forces on the waters of Lake Erie as part of the War of 1812. At one stage, Perry's flagship, the Lawrence, sank. Perry and a small group of sailors rowed to another ship and carried on the battle to victory.
He was later known as the "Hero of Lake Erie." His battle flag read, "Don't give up the ship," words that are still a symbol of the U.S. Navy.
Not everyone is convinced that the divers have indeed found wreckage from the Revenge. Rhode Island marine archaeologist D.K. "Kathy" Abbass said that it is difficult to say for sure where the artifacts came from.
"If you knew the direction of the wind that day and the tide, you might get a trajectory of where she might be" now, Abbass said, according to The Providence Journal. "But it's a very complicated thing. So, if [the divers] haven't done the analysis, I'd question if that is really her."
Harger shrugged off the criticism.
"If it's not the Revenge, whose cannons are they?" Harger said. "As far as I know, it's not a dumping ground for a cannons."