CharlieZardoz

American sailing warships with no plans or records

283 posts in this topic

It's definitely not the 1776 frigate in my opinion.  The design of it doesn't look like a 24 gun frigate the builder probably took the plans from the later Boston as a source.  A 1776 small frigate would look much for like the Virginia with 12 gun ports instead of 13.  Nice model though not sure if the stern is fiction but it's believable.

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Just out of curiosity I was wondering if anyone could answer this question about the Lexington.  Lumberyard/Seaways has one kit that looks rather different from most depictions of the brig and was wondering if there was more evidence towards one rather than the other.  Some have poop decks but most look like the larger brig. I must admit the larger brig looks more attractive overall but that doesn't mean it's historically accurate. ;)

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Well she was a purchase from the Dutch West Indies so I imagine she was probably hastily converted to a warship like many of the Continental ships were (rather than a proper naval brig).  Seeing as how she was captured by the British I am wondering if official lines were drawn and if she was renamed after her capture (since I can't find her on the maritime collections website). If not this guy Dr Feldman from the Nautical Research Guild seems to have done a lot of research on this ship and I imagine his rendition (the upper photo) is more in keeping with what she must have really looked like.

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This is all Winfield has on Lexington. Silverstone doesn't have anything after her capture, just details on her service life before that. Not sure if she was ever taken into RN service.

 

 

Lexington (brig Wild Duck), 14 x 4pdrs. Taken 20.9.1777 by Alert.

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I suspect she wasn't taken to RN as well.  Thank you for the info and thoughts on the matter.  I'll probably invest in Feldman's Lexington at some point in the future and get a better understanding of the work done.  I also have a 3/16" plan set copy that was drawn by Charles G. Davis for The Built Up Ship Model which is what I suspect the Aeropiccola and Mamoli kits are using as a basis.  It'll be a few years before I get to it but I suspect it'll be a fun project to research and work on. :)

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Dr. Clay Feldman is a master modeler in his own right and former owner/publisher of Ships in Scale. He has done work/research on Fair American as well.

 

He has done extensive research into LEXINGTON. He has discussed the Davis model and why it is not correct. Several years ago (maybe 10, by now) when he first came out with the LEXINGTON model, he had an online information about the building...it was a group project. I believe most of that info is included in the Feldman package on LEX available from SiS. If you are interested in LEX, it is a must.

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Thank you Chuck I do sincerely appreciate your input on the matter.  Will definitely check the Lex out during my journey through ship modeling as I find the continental navy and it's history quite fascinating and enigmatic.

 

Charlie

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Three John Adams 1799 plans do survive, enough for a complete reconstruction. Chapelle missed them.

 

1. Original body lines, pre 1829: National Archives, presumably (published in Charleston's Maritime Heritage, Coker.)

 

2. Out board profile, which includes partial inboard profile, partial waterlines (or are they diagonal projections?), as designed, 1/4" scale

Peabody Museum, Fox Papers. Note twenty-four broadside ports, but with no bridle port. The latter was added, along with a five feet extension of keel in Charleston. Not labeled as JA in Fox Papers.

 

3. Half-breadth of Decks, all, with stowage, 1/8th scale, as converted to a corvette, circa 1807, Fox papers. Position of projected stern chase ports indicate an original six window design, with ports in the two and five windows, with the others planked over. All they did was remove the spar deck in 1807-08. Shows length, mast and gunport position as built. (Labeled as "Decks Chesapeake" in Fox Papers, by some long dead, blind, crack-smoking staff volunteer!!)

 

I forgot one!

 

4. There is an inboard profile plan from the 1850s showing her final configuration. I've seen it, but I don't have a copy, from the NA, that shows ten ports aside - down from the 1829 rebuild's twelve - a full projecting stem-post, and a sketch of her bust figurehead.

What a find!!   :dancetl6: How much decorative detail is there? (partial transom in 1. and 3? headrails in all four?) does it bear any similarities to the 24 gun ship of 1799 (figure 22, pg.155 of the blue cover edition of History of the American Sailing Navy) found by Chapelle? Also one confusing point, I thought that while both Adams and John Adams were cut down prior to the War of 1812, only Adams was lengthened? 

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Both ships were indeed cut down.  I don't think that figure is of the John Adams since it's length between perp's is 106' and John Adams was 139'.  The book is ordered and shipping and when I get the Coker book I'll scan and post what's shown in the book :)

 

I do wish those figure's could be identified since those ships could very well be some forgotten bit of history.

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Can't wait! Oh the 24 gun ship certainly is not the Adams or John Adams, but if the hull form is a somewhat close match when scaled, we might have a better idea about the designer, principles that went into both, and thus identity. I think Chapelle hypothesized that they were an improved version of the quasi war corvettes like Patapsco, Maryland, and Connecticut. At any rate, very excited about the John Adams!

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No decorative detail, alas, although her original bust head was saved and placed on the new ship in 1829. Headrails in 2. only. The closest ship to her in Chapelle is the Boston.

 

The John Adams was cut down in 1808 to a flush-decked corvette carrying 22 42-pounder carronades and two long twelves . She was very successful. In 1811, however, Captain William Bainbridge ordered her to be repaired with an armed quarterdeck once again, but not with a raised forecastle, and she thus became the infamous "jack-*** frigate". She was so unsuccessful that she sat most of the War-of-1812 out in New York. The quarterdeck was removed by 1814, and she sailed on one diplomatic mission to Europe.

 

The 12-pounder Adams was cut in half circa 1809, lengthened 15 feet, and put back into service as an 18-pounder frigate. In this configuration, she was crank and unstable. All of her spar deck carronades were landed, and her upper bulwark lightened, but she never lost her upper deck. She was a spar decked corvette, similar to the Jamestown of 1844, but with one brass pivot on her forecastle. She was never cut down. Her 18-pounders were mostly only short versions called "columbiads". She was fast and beautiful, but the lengthening process moved her maximum breadth too far aft. This caused "chattering" of the water eddies at her rudder, which made her hard to steer and repeatedly wore out her pintles and gudgeons. Had she not been destroyed in 1814, she would not have been rebuilt.

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I wish there was some visual evidence for the Adams as well as the elusive General Greene.  Enough to at least extrapolate a conceptual model of what they may have looked like (which I am sure is possible with enough research).  I do appreciate the wealth of info you've added to this topic frolick thanks!

 

Charlie

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There was allegedly a full set of plans of the lengthened USS Adams. The late Dr. William M. P. Dunne, of SUNY, told me that Howard Chapelle had them at home in preparation for his sailing Navy Book in the 1940s, but he got in a final knock-down fight with his soon-to-be ex-wife, and she reportedly burned them, along with several others (USS Portsmouth too) that belonged to the Fox Papers of the Peabody Museum in Salem Mass. How true this is, I don't know, but Dr. Dunne was in a position to know.

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Oh dear we boat loving nerds do need to be mindful of our significant others when plowing through historical documents don't we.  :) Anywhoo I scanned the pics from the Coker book and this is what I found. There's a John Adams body plan, painting and sail plan (though a bit small) also diagrams for the Delaware, Providence and 1776 Boston with clear figurehead details.  Based on these pictures the model above could very well be the 1776 Boston taken from admiralty lines and based on these diagrams it looks like all these ships had draughts taken by RN during enlistment.  Also posted the admiralty model of the L'indien aka South Carolina showing some fine details.  So overall that's quite a lot of continental frigates knocked off my list as well as a few new ones ;)

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Thanks for posting those Charley!

 

The lines were probably taken off just before she was broken up in 1828. The builders in Charleston altered the plan that Fox had provided for them. They were worried that she might not make it over the bar, so in addition to lengthening her five feet, they gave her broader floors to decrease her draught - most evident in the drawing - but this made her roll more, not a good quality for a gun platform.

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Hard to imagine only one set of plans of the Adams and Portsmouth survived but I suppose we should be thankful how much history survives at all.  I always make sure to be attentive to my partner, why just yesterday we were having a serious discussion with our friend about a falling out she had and yes I was sanding the hull of the Sultana at the same time but I swear I was fully attentive and offered advice ;D

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There was allegedly a full set of plans of the lengthened USS Adams. The late Dr. William M. P. Dunne, of SUNY, told me that Howard Chapelle had them at home in preparation for his sailing Navy Book in the 1940s, but he got in a final knock-down fight with his soon-to-be ex-wife, and she reportedly burned them, along with several others (USS Portsmouth too) that belonged to the Fox Papers of the Peabody Museum in Salem Mass. How true this is, I don't know, but Dr. Dunne was in a position to know.

Wow. What a tragedy-both personal and for history. Would've loved to get my hands on plans of the Adams after lengthening, the prospect of a big fast 18pdr armed corvette is inspiring to be sure. I did actually go to the extent of modifying the plans of the 24 gun ship mentioned earlier to be representative of a cut down and lengthened Adams.-figuring that she was known for being too fine lined for a 28, that a 24 gun american sixth rate of the same year might be a good approximation. I scaled the breath and then added the length in her midsection necessary to fit the lengthened dimension (though not 15 feet extra) the depth is of course slightly off. deck and plank sheer were modified to match, new headrails added, and the gunports and chains were rearranged accordingly to the different scale and dimensions. While only the loosest of representations, the concept might be a somewhat decent approximation in the complete absence of plans, if pursued further and properly. 

 

The John Adams find is great, and the Continental frigates-Thanks for posting! I wonder what the sources are, though they look quite believable. However, the john adams sailplan seems to be a copy of chapelle's for the Philadelphia, but with fewer gunports. I wasn't aware that Bainbridge had made her a jackass frigate after she was cut down, 22 x 42pdrs and good sailing qualities should've been plenty. For seeing as much fame, success, and recognition as he did, that captain made a lot of mistakes

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They look too detailed to be mere approximations so I am assuming he found them in the royal archives under whatever they were renamed to when entering royal service.  Though they could be approximations such as the Queen of France which clearly says so. 

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Also looking into some of the archives on this site I decided I should also add a shot of the water color depictions of the sterns from John Lenthall's archives.  In it you can see John Adams, Constitution and Congress among others.  I figure I'll just make this post a big info dump since it feels like so much is out there just not in an organized place.  Happy to find the stern of the Congress... even if it's not the prettiest thing lol  :)

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There is a contemporary watercolor painting entitled "American Corvette" by William John Huggins. She is a flush decked corvette with a long rail-less poop and topgallant forcastle deck with 12 guns a side, exclusive of the broadside ports. I am 99% sure that it is of the John Adams, and I date the painting to her diplomatic mission of 1809-10. You can see it on the NMM site. If anyone can figure out how to repost it here, it would be informative ...

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There is a contemporary watercolor painting entitled "American Corvette" by William John Huggins. She is a flush decked corvette with a long rail-less poop and topgallant forcastle deck with 12 guns a side, exclusive of the broadside ports. I am 99% sure that it is of the John Adams, and I date the painting to her diplomatic mission of 1809-10. You can see it on the NMM site. If anyone can figure out how to repost it here, it would be informative ...

 

Here is the link to the painting: http://prints.rmg.co.uk/art/496525/american-corvette

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I recognize the corvette painting from this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1840673605where I believe it is identified as the John Adams. She was a fine looking ship in this state!

The painting of the sterns is remarkable, particularly for that of the constitution! It is close enough to the 1812 hull model for me to think they are the same , http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/pers-us/uspers-h/i-hull-x.htmand based especially off the quarter galleries might be the original, particularly given the quite close resembelence of president's stern in this contemporary print by baugean

 

http://imageweb-cdn.magnoliasoft.net/nmm/supersize/pu7389.jpg

http://www.maphouse.co.uk/photos/m2918.jpg

 

He also did one of United States vs Macedonian which shows it better, I'll post a link if I can find it

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It'd be nice to fine some more info regarding United States stern details.  The one painting I've seen is hard to make out and these watercolors above give me hope that there is something more out there. :) 

 

(oh and that Zimmerman guy never answered me back pooh!)

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