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Brig USS Enterprise 1799 info gathering

Enterprise

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#21
CharlieZardoz

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I agree frolick it's a bit strange.  I think he attempted to copy the period sketch image above (also look below) which also has 11 gun ports, almost exactly.  I'm finding it's hard to determine how accurate the period illustrations truly are as they were likely drawn by eye, hence why I thought the Donn Thorson illustration, while a bit flawed with its sail position, seems to have a more balanced placement of gun ports.  I don't think the Enterprise would have had half gun ports though like Constitution does today though I could be wrong about that, thoughts?  And to twintrow, It seems that most of the depictions above show the Enterprise with 9 ports on each side, the half hull has 10 but those are merely tape and the ones at the end might not have been there. Also I'm not sure if she had a bluff bow or billet head (the half hull might not have shown it) though I'd like to believe that by the time of her rebuild at least she had a typical clipper bow like in the Don Thorson image since IDK it just looks nicer to me :D

 

The Enterprise of 1799 is an interesting ship in my opinion.  Unlike the later brigs from a few years after Argus, Syren, Vixen etc. which all share a similar look/style Enterprise being older strikes me as a missing link between the sort of privateers of the revolution (Lexington, Providence, etc.) and the Barbary brigs that came to represent the early navy.  The fact that she was altered so radically leads me to think she was something of a prototype. BTW below for those interested are the plans of her successor from the 1830's which looks to my eyes similar to the later era Baltimore clippers like Roger B Taney. I also added a second illustration of the ship after 1806 which looks like it was done by Jean-Jerome Baugean who I believe also did the illustration on page 1 (thought it was the same one at first). Also below is an illustration of all the Enterprises which I feel a nice general depiction of each Enterprise lined up next to one another. :)

Attached Thumbnails

  • enterprise 4 001.jpg
  • the_enterprises__1776_2012_by_sfreeman421-d3gj1yl.jpg
  • 1799 001.jpg

Edited by CharlieZardoz, 16 August 2015 - 11:13 AM.

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#22
uss frolick

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The Venice Arsenal plan shows a vessel with an enormous head, one fitting the Frigate Confederacy, while the two contemporary paintings show no head at all. Oddly, those who discovered and discussed the plans in print don't even mention that Jimmy Durante schnoz!


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#23
CharlieZardoz

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Jimmy Durante?? I'd like to think the Venice plan (if it is legit the Enterprise at all) is possibly just a conjectural plan that possibly wasn't even fully implemented.  Still even as it is the plans may serve useful if just to study the layout of ships similar to the Enterprise at that time period.  The ideal in my opinion would be to take the lines off the half-hull and compare it to the model and the various "plans" to see how closely they match up... if at all.


Edited by CharlieZardoz, 17 August 2015 - 05:13 AM.

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#24
Don9of11

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When I was building my model of the Enterprise which was the kit by Constructo (#80822) I came across a couple publications in my research. The first was an article that appeared in the winter 1999 issue of the Journal Of The War Of 1812 by Michael Bosworth. I don't think this paper is in print anymore so if you would like a copy let me know.

 

The second, was an article I found on a website I believe was called The Ancient Mariner, again I don't think this paper is available anymore either.

 

And thirdly, is a book you can download from Google called "The Lucky Little Enterprise" and Her Successors In the United States Navy 1776-1900 by Fredrick Stanhope Hill.  This book is also available through the Internet Archeive https://archive.org/...enter00hilliala.

 

 

I have some photos of my build here

 

Enterprise - circa 1799
Album: Enterprise
8 images
5 comments

 

and here

 

http://howefamily.co...tos/zellars.asp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Current project: MS Mayflower

Developing plans for a 3rd rate 74 gun ship, circa 1780-1820.

Projects in waiting
MS Katy of Norfolk

www.howefamily.com

 


#25
CharlieZardoz

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That's a great resource Don thanks! I think you did a fine job with the Constructo kit, adding some nice customizations and a more accurate color scheme.  :)


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#26
CharlieZardoz

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Thought I would add this one to the discussion.  Below is the draught of an unidentified schooner which Chapelle sources in "The American Sailing Navy" as a plausible idea to what the Enterprise/Experiment may have looked like.  My understanding is that there were a few unidentified drawings of schooners at this time period with what he called a "square-tuck" stern, but I can imagine the Enterprise may have looked similar to this before her lengthening in Venice.  That said comparing this sketch to the Venice plan below there are some similarities especially in the high deadrise and keel drag and I can believe that the Venice plan is at least a conceptual indicator of how the above draught could look if lengthened.  The draught image also looks quite a bit like the half-hull model from Canney's book. :)

Attached Thumbnails

  • enterprise chappelle 001.jpg
  • 19c917a28924bdf4827635cf44671927.jpg

Edited by CharlieZardoz, 22 August 2015 - 09:29 PM.

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#27
uss frolick

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Things that need to be done (but not by me.)

 

1. Some brave soul needs to redraw the lines of the Venice Arsenal brig plans to a common size, and superimpose them over the Chapelle unidentified schooner plans, as well as with those of the US Navy plans of the USS Vixen, a brig that had been intended to have been built to the Enterprize's model. This may lead to a proper identification of the plans. But that darn head on the Venice plans is too large for any American Naval Vessel to have grown during a repair overseas. It would have added way to much weight! No commander would have allowed it. At best, those plans are a design of a proposed new Italian brig BASED PERHAPS on the lines of the Enterprize.

 

2. Take the lines off that half-model and similarly compare them with the above.

 

Now, we may never know any more about the hull form of the Enterprize than what we do right now, but anyone interested in building a model of her has options. Were anyone here commissioned to build a model of her, they could start with Chapelle's unidentified draught and alter it to fit one of the two contemporary watercolors.

 

Both paintings were created by artists renown for their technical accuracy. But the Roux drawing shows the Enterprize with eight broadside ports, while the Baugean drawing shows her with eleven - or at least ten with an armed bridle port. Author Geoffrey Footner dates both paintings from 1806, but only the Baugean print has a date "1806" clearly marked on her. Since neither maritime artist would screw up the number of ports, we must conclude that each represents the schooner at her two stages, before and after her 1804 arsenal rebuild. Since we know that the Enterprize gained an unspecified number of ports as a result of the rebuild during her Venice stay, we must conclude that the Baugean print marked 1806 represents her as "post-repair". The Roux drawing must show her as launched in 1799. This is the opposite conclusion from what Mr. Footner has put forth!

 

Fun fact: The Enterprize also gained a 24-pounder (a medium-Columbiad) pivot gun carriage that was designed to mount over the main hatch in battle, but to be stored in the hold when not in use. In 1812, her then captain Johnston Blakeley mounted the pivot gun and carriage when he sailed down Balize River to attack the 26-gun British Ship sloop HMS Brazen below New Orleans. An untimely hurricane permanently cancelled the fight.


Edited by uss frolick, 22 August 2015 - 10:38 PM.

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#28
CharlieZardoz

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Was that a pivot gun that faced the stern? I will be that brave soul darn it! (or at least try to be). :S Enterprise is passion of mine, mainly due to being a shameless trekkie but in the grand list of ships I wish to build she is an important part of that journey.  It's the same with John Adams, these ships have enough bits and pieces of information available that a reasonably accurate model could be built as long as one is conscious to avoid historical anachronisms or doing lazy history. So yeah that's essentially what I intend to do merge the Chappelle draught, half-hull lines and the Baugean illustration and a bit of -er "artistic license" to get somewhere close to an accurate representation of the ship in her heyday.  Now how on earth do I get close enough to the half hull to take measurements is a question I've yet to answer. ;D

 

 

A couple of things I am curious about is A. when lengthened is it typical for the extra length to be added to the bow only, stern or both? And would the width have been increased as well.  And B. would the ship name be displayed Enterpri"z"e on the stern unlike the Constructo model which uses an S.


Edited by CharlieZardoz, 22 August 2015 - 11:40 PM.

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#29
uss frolick

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Excerpt from Master Commandant Thomas Robinson Jr.'s initial letter to the Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith, January, 1805, describing the state of the Enterprize:

 

" ... She was out of the water and shored up in one hour from the word heave (they have five or six hundred slaves attached to the arsenal for this type of heavy work) -- When we came to rip the schooner to pieces we found her in a most deplorable situation, it was to the astonishment of everyone, how she brot [sic] us here.  her beams are all off at the ends, the floor and futtocks perfect powder, and in fact to sum up it's only necessary to inform you that in addition to building a new schooner, we have to pull to pieces an old one -- but there is this pleasing reflection, she will be more durable than her companions, for better timber I never saw than we are puting [sic] into her.. I have the pick from frames of frigates that have ben from twenty to five years dressed out, numbered and piled away under cover for use.. There never was a pendant treated with more respect, or officers with more attention than the Enterprize's has been both here and at Trieste, being the first of our vessels of war in either of those ports, and her construction so different from anything they have ever seen, she astonished and delighted.

 

Count Lespine, with whom I stand very fare ... has often told me 'if you don't put good stuff into the schooner, its your own fault, take the pick of the Arsenal for every thing."


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#30
uss frolick

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Robinson's next report, dated February 18th, 1805:

 

"... I have this day got her bends on and ceiling completed. I was obliged to put on a new stem and stern post. In doing the latter, I have taken out the square tuck and have also altered to small degree the fashion of her topsides, by not giving her so much tumblehome aloft, which will aford a better deck and room to manage her guns, but in every instance, I have been particular in preserving her model below, that she may continue to possess her good qualities as a fast sailor and a good sea boat.

 

It astonished me how her stern hung together, it was at first a miserable piece of work, and when we broke it down perfectly rotten.

 

The schooner is as full as I think necessary of the best timber I ever saw, the master carpenter of the Arsenal says (and I think with great reason) that she will be a good vessel after this repair forty years.

 

Oh how I wish I had got permission to give her a few more feet keel and opened her a little, what a sweet brig I would have made of her, and with no apparent expense,but sir it is dangerous for officers young in rank to take libertys [sic]."


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#31
CharlieZardoz

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I imagine Enterprizzzze in its initial incarnation was sort of a quick build type of vessel, her durability wholly unintentional until she gained fame and surpassed expectations. Once upgraded to a brig she must have faired at least comparably well to Argus, Syren, Vixen and the rest.  Young brash officers looking to push these tiny ships to fame and glory. :)


Edited by CharlieZardoz, 23 August 2015 - 12:43 AM.

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#32
CharlieZardoz

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Wasn't there a second rebuild closer to the war of 1812?


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#33
uss frolick

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Excerpt from a letter from Robinson to  James Barron of the Frigate Essex, March 4, 1805:

 

"I am preparing for a heavy gun, and in such a way that the arrangement will answer for any other deck and shall carry all in the hold to the place of action."

 

Again to Barron, March 14, 1815:

 

"I have completed the machinery for a 24-pounder on the schooners deck, having experienced the inactive situation of this description of vessel was in last summer, I calculated her hatches and beams amidships for this mode of armament, the machinery is all  carried in the hold & if when you see the Enterprize, if you do not approve of her carrying a heavy piece, its easy to apply to another vessel that you may judge better calculated. I would not make it a fixture without your approbation, but I am certain that she may carry it in any sea, & if so, what a nice tickler she may be for nightwork on Tripoly, & and altho her senrenades [sic] may not be so agreeable from the Guitar to a Turk, they no doubt will have a respectful audience ..."


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#34
uss frolick

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Report of February 24, 1811:

 

"... after being dismantled and relieved of armament, her masts were taken out, and the structure of the ship altered as to move them farther aft. She was careened, keel out on both sides,  and her copper cleaned. Rigging and sails were refitted, upper works and bends repaired and caulked, and she was repainted thoughout. After receiving new armaments and ammunition, and sailed from the yard on April 25th."

 

But by October, 1811, she was "stripped down to her floor timbers and entirely rebuilt". Her new Commander, Johnston Blakeley, re-rigged as a brig, and rearmed her with mostly 18-pounder carronades.

 

 

So much for for the Arsenal's prediction of her lasting "forty years"!


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#35
CharlieZardoz

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Is there any record of the Enterprize carrying 20 guns though? The illustrations show 10 with the extra bridle port but most articles claim she only carried 14-16.  I think I need to try and visit that Capt Ashley model as well at some point.  While the port placements are a bit off, it does show a more accurate looking quarter deck and wonder if he included the pivot gun somewhere.  I wish there were some more pics online I only see those 3.


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#36
CharlieZardoz

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Also and this is me not really fully understanding rigging details but isn't the Baugean illustration from 1805 a brig rig?


Edited by CharlieZardoz, 23 August 2015 - 01:10 AM.

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#37
uss frolick

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Who knows how she looked after her 1811 rebuild, but since she carried sixteen broadside guns, I would give her eight ports per side again. I bet she looked like the Vixen by that point. Although she always carried her pivot machinery broken down in her hold, the 24-pounder medium gun was borrowed and returned to the yard in New Orleans in 1812 after the hurricane, and so was not aboard when she fought HMS Boxer in 1813.

 

She was also damaged  in the storm and had to be repaired in New Orleans in 1812 also.


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#38
CharlieZardoz

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True though if she was 92' by that point she would have been somewhat larger than the Vixen though I agree she most likely had 8 gunports with and additional 2 forward empty ports.
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#39
CharlieZardoz

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And just for fun here is a pretty nice model of Vixen from the P.C. Cocker book.  While I don't think Enterprize had a quarterbadge (is there any documentation claiming she did?) I would imagine the two, three, four, etc. brigs would be hard to distinguish from a distance. But I am convinced that the golden kits/constructo model is basically the Vixen with a poop deck added. ;)

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  • vixen 1 001.jpg
  • vixen 2 001.jpg

Edited by CharlieZardoz, 23 August 2015 - 01:56 AM.

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#40
CharlieZardoz

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Decided just for fun to add/compare some aforementioned draughts to show where and how they line up.  These were done by eye and are not to scale with each other, however they are more to show the similarity in lines and details.  First we have the schooner figure 20 from Chapelle that is used as a concept to what Enterprize may have looked like.  Next is the draught of the Vixen which to me looks comparable to the schooner above it with it's narrow front and inclined stern where the rudder is. The third is the Venice plan which I modified the offensive beak and weird protrusions on the hull but it does look comparable to the first 2 the rudder looks almost exactly like the schooner above and it looks much like the first she only with it's front extended as would have been likely in her rebuild.  The last is the Syren which I placed here to show an example of a similar ship which was quite obviously not a direct design to Enterprize and has some noticeable differences.  The rudder is almost at a 90 degree angle and the front is much fuller than the 3 above it (added arrows to where I mean).  Below that I added the cross sectional views and again not quite to scale but gives an idea to the idea where these plans differ and are similar (Schooner, Vixen, Enterprise Venice, and Syren which to my eyes looks fairly different to the first 3). Enjoy!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2.jpg
  • 1.jpg

Edited by CharlieZardoz, 23 August 2015 - 04:40 PM.

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