Perhaps you’ve noticed the towering masts and proportionately large flag of the ship currently docked at Rocky Neck Marine Railways. They caught my attention this morning when at the Fish Pier taking photos as the masts are almost as tall as those of the Schooner Columbia. The flag and masts belong to the tall ship Lynx, a privateer inspired by the original tall ship that battled the British during the War of 1812. That war ship was named the Privateer Lynx.
The Lynx is a square topsail schooner. Her port of registry is Portsmouth, New Hampshire and her homeports are Nantucket during warmer months and Saint Petersburg, Florida during wintertime. She is on her way to Portland and is scheduled to depart Gloucester on Monday. The Lynx is an educational organization devoted to hands-on programs that teach the history of America’s struggle to preserve its independence during the War of 1812. You can read more about the ship on the Lynx website here.
This was the only U.S. flag to have fifteen stripes. Two stripes and two stars were added for Vermont and Kentucky when they became states. Congress had a change of heart and in 1818, proclaimed that one star for each new state would be added on the 4th of July following the state’s admission to the union and there would be thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.
From wiki – A privateer was a private person or ship that engaged in maritime warfare under a commission of war. The commission, also known as a letter of marque, empowered the person to carry on all forms of hostility permissible at sea by the usages of war, including attacking foreign vessels during wartime and taking them as prizes. Captured ships were subject to condemnation and sale under prize law, with the proceeds divided between the privateer sponsors, shipowners, captains and crew. A percentage share usually went to the issuer of the commission. Since robbery under arms was common to seaborne trade, all merchant ships were already armed. During war, naval resources were auxiliary to operations on land so privateering was a way of subsidizing state power by mobilizing armed ships and sailors.