Schooner-Gunboats in the U.S. Navy
— War of 1812 —Merchant Schooners In the spring of 1812 there were over 34 schooners in merchant service on Lake Ontario, transporting people and cargo. These small vessels carried 50-100 tons of cargo. Larger vessels were impractical since most lake port entries were shallow. Schooner-gunboats participated in the attack on Kingston in 1812 and the attacks on York and Fort George in 1813. They were also present during the three skirmishes between the British and American squadrons on Lake Ontario in August and September 1813. Armed Schooners When war broke out, the only U.S. naval vessel on Lake Ontario was the 18-gun brig Oneida. Commodore Isaac Chauncey purchased 11 schooners and armed them to support the Oneida. Gunboat Name / Original Name / Fate Governor Thompson / Charles & Ann / Marchant service (US) Last Record 1819 Pert / Collector / Merchant service (US) Last record 1815 Hamilton / Diana /Lost in storm 1813 Asp / Elizabeth / Merchant service (GB) Lost in a storm 1820 Growler / Experiment / Merchant service (US) Fair American / Fair American / Merchant service (US) Wrecked 1816 Conquest / Genesee Packet / Merchant service (US) Last record 1815 Julia / Julia / Merchant service (US) Last record 1829 Scourge / Lord Nelson / Lost in storm 1813 Raven / Mary Hatt / Merchant service (US) Last record 1816 Ontario / Ontario / Merchant service (US) last record 1820 Cargo PRE-WAR - People and cargoes of salt, potash, foodstuffs, and manufactured goods. WARTIME - Troops, powder, shot, provisions. CrewPRE_WAR - A merchant schooner had a small crew, often no more than three or four men. WARTIME - As warships, these schooners were manned by up to 40 men. Conditions below were very crowded; many sailors preferred to live and sleep on deck. ArmamentBroadside guns - carronades (small cannon). Pivot guns - heavier cannon, firing balls weighing from 12 to 32 pounds. Topsail Schooner In early June 1812 the USS Oneida seized the British merchant schooner Lord Nelson, believing it to be smuggling goods into the United States. The schooner was condemned by the court and ordered to be sold. It was bought by the Navy for $2,999.25, armed and renamed the Scourge, the schooner sank during a storm on Lake Ontario. Hamilton & Scourge A merchant schooner was designed to carry its cargo below deck. The armanment, weighing many tons, was carried on deck, making these schooners top heavy and very unstable, particularly in bad weather. The figureheads above adorn the two, the Hamilton and Scourge, upset in a sudden squall in August 1813 and intact at the bottom at the western end of Lake Ontario. Others were often towed by larger warships so they would not suffer the same fate. Commerce was replaced by conflict at times along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
|Series||This marker is part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway series|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Saturday, November 21st, 2015 at 9:02am PST -08:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||18T E 288593 N 4792824|
|Decimal Degrees||43.25858333, -77.60456667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 43° 15.515', W 77° 36.274'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||43° 15' 30.9" N, 77° 36' 16.44" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near Ontario Beach Boardwalk, Rochester NY 14612, US|
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