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Brig USS Enterprise 1799 info gathering


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Just reviving this post again since Im currently looking for research materials regarding the uss Nautilus launched 1799 converted to a brig then caputured by the British to become hms Emulous. No plans have ever been found though descriptions in the Chapelle, Canney and Footner books seem to indicate a ship similar to a Baltimore clipper a very extreme design similar to the Flying Fish almost wedge shaped lower portions. Also curious about the Viper originally the Ferret another pre 1812 schooner/brig with very little recorded info. I'm wondering if any reading resources exist that I may not yet know about perhaps someone attempted some sort of research collection or conjectural drawings or is there is simply no further info. Seems I have most of the books out there dealing with pilot schooners, small craft schooners brigs etc but always happy to find one I dont yet have. It seems that small ships of that time came in two types the Sea Lark which was less extreme and included ships like Enterprize and Experiment eventually leading to ships like Syren, Argus and Vixen. Where the other type more like Baltimore clippers/Pilot schooner gave birth to ships like the Shamrock type Flying Fish, the Nautius and eventually ships like Lynx. Interesting stuff just want to learn more.  :)

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And at the moment I'm trying to track down the origin of these 3 grainy images I found in my own archives supposedly from 2014 regarding a model of Viper. While of course this would be someone's interpretation I can't for the life of me figure out where I got these images from maybe a MSB Journal forum or somesuch driving me crazy :)

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Ok team! Just a bit of an update regarding the Enterprize.  First off I've spoken with 3 naval curators on the matter and sadly the Enterprize half hull was lost some time after that photo was taken back in the 1920's.  Where she is, no one knows it's a mystery which apparently has got quite a few people out there trying to solve, many whom I imagine have greater resources at their disposal than myself.  So that one is a dead end though I am curious if there are computer programs that can take a photo image and digitize them using lighting to extrapolate a form, thoughts? 

 

Secondly I received the book Tidewater Triumph by Geoffrey Footner which indeed does show the Venice plans and an alternate version as well.  They both seem to have stem and stern details which don't appear accurate and can be disregarded. Added pics from the book below. I had a very nice correspondence with Michael Bosworth who explained to me a bit more regarding his thoughts on the schooner and his collaboration with the book writer. I circled a spot which according the book was where Enterprize was lengthened amidship. 

 

Last is a set of conjectural plans at Mystic Conneticut which were apparently made by a member of the Burrows family in 1973 which fellow member Alexmd was interested in. While I can look at the plans, they are historical documents and cannot be touched or photographed, so was thinking of taking a piece of clear vinyl or plexiglass and sticking it in a wood frame that I can house over the plans and then trace with a permanent marker.  I'm not sure if there is a better way to copy them and if anyone here has advice I'm happy to listen. :)

Hi all
 
For some reason I've stopped receiving the warnings about this topic.
 
So, let me revive this specific post regarding to the Mystic museum.
 
When I've contacted them years ago, in their answer to me I've received, sure accidentally, a PDF file. The content of this file I put in the image below.
 
Now, the work consists in some blessed soul go to Mystic and get the other half.   ;)

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Ha! I went there a few times the first there was massive traffic and couldn't get to the museum the second was after they closed as they keep rather weird hours.  They have agreed that I can take pics of the plans with my cellphone I just haven't gotten the right day to go over there and do so. That said while it may be an interesting bit of study, what I am seeing in this draught is a typical clipper/pilot schooner design probably based on La Superior which was built a year after Enterprize and Experiment in the same area. However I believe as I said above that the Enterprize probably had more in common with the Sea Lark/Fly type which was more conservative with more interior space and was something of a prototype to the brigs Syren and Vixen to come rather than a contemporary of Lynx, Flying Fish or Nautilus. That's what the evidence is pointing to anyways. :)

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Hmm good point! I hope I can track the model down looks like some good research was put into it and might be a way to get plans of her made.  I think the saddest fact in this craft is all the info that may be lost to time and all that hard work and research should be catalogued and saved somehow. :)

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Exactly Charlie !

 

My "fight" with the Mystic museum (I've tried to get the plan without going there in loco several times in these years) is that such material should be shared.

 

I don't know how accurate or real is this drawing or even its origin.  However, someone made it not for play, sure that it was based on something - and this "something" may be lost... the plan not... yet.

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Id imagine the plan at Mystic would look very similar to this splendid model ship of Numa renamed Algerine built in 1801 but such a ship is probably an example of a slightly larger Nautilus. The crew complained she had inadequate storage and too shallow a draft as naval officers generally didn't like the pilot schooners since they were designed primarily for speed and couldn't be armed too heavily hence why I imagine the slightly larger Enterprise probably was able to accommodate 14-16 guns especially after her rebuilds.

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Great model ! And the author exposes the frames, giving us a "taste" of PoF.

 

Indeed, the Enterprise may have been too similar to Algerine.  We have up to now the plan showing the bow and it is very similar to the Algerine's bow.

 

By the by, I think that the Constructo's model of the Enterprise (already mentioned here - and I've already assembled one too) is based on the Mystic museum plan. 

 

However, if this is true there's a interesting point: in the Constructo's model, there's a poopdeck and the Baltimore schooners - and the Algerine - do not have for aught I know.

 

This is one of my main curiosities about the Enterprise: did she have a poopdeck or not, and with two cannons under the deck of the poop, like in the model by Constructo ?

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We're only going to get so far on this quest, guys. Greater minds than ours have scoured the surviving naval records and have come up empty handed. It was Enterprise's 'bad' luck that HMS Boxer didn't capture her instead of the other way around. If any spar-plan, deck plan or hold plans were ever taken off, then they were probably torched, along with everything else, at the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1861, or at the Washington Navy Yard in 1814.

 

If anyone wishes to model the USS Enterprise, he (or she) will have to make compromises, and base their model on other similar ships. I was encouraged by word of the discovery of the Venice Arsenal plans, supposedly taken off of the Enterprise in 1804, but on inspection, they look way too far off, to be of any use, without major alterations of their own. I personally think the closest anyone will ever get, will be to use the draught of the USS Vixen as a starting point, since she was thought by her contemporaries to have been modeled after her - but not copied - enlarge her to the known dimensions of the USS Enterprise, and use the visual details of the two contemporary paintings of her to flush her out. But that's still a lot to work with.

 

There is even less information on the Bon Homme Richard, but look at how devoted and slavish some modelers have been to building her exactly from her plans - her entirely reconstructed, conjectural plans. Less still the Mayflower, Golden Hind, etc.

 

The Burroughs Family hired a naval architect who realized this, used a different starting point, but ended up with a similarly beautiful result. Either way, you will get a model which will be very close to the real Enterprise. There are many beautiful contemporary Baltimore Clipper type US Navy schooners, detailed plans for which survive in abundance, and with really cool histories that begged to be modeled, like the USS Spark, the USS Grampus, or the stunning privateers the Dominica or Grecian. 

 

You will probably not find any plans of the Enterprise. But modelers are stubborn creatures, so get your snorkels, plastic buckets, shovels and water-proof measuring-tape ready, because the real Enterprise wrecked on Little Curacao Island in the West Indies in 1823.  ... :)

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I agree with you Frolick that there isn't any plan of the Enterprise... and never has existed.  In my research some years ago someone told me that the Baltimore schooners were ordered by "similarity".  I mean, one has ordered like this "hey, I want a ship like that one" and the naval carpenters started building.  I believe that Enterprise and Experience were ordered by the fresh US Navy in this way.  No drawings, no plans.

 

However, I'm still curious about how is the remaining of the plan in the Mystic Museum. Why  don't they share the plans easily ?  I'm sure that is not due a authoral rights, it's a museum.

 

By getting this plan and comparing it to the Vixen or even Nautilus and Algerine plans could enable to reach a very accurate mixed plan, likely close to the actual Enterprise.

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I believe that you can order a copy of the 1973 plans by Burows.  They list the following:

 

ENTERPRISE: Lines; Profile

SHIPS PLANS
Blueline print
Burrows, John Shober
Blueline print

SP.1973.4.14.21.1

http://mobius.mysticseaport.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=all&f=&s=SP.1973.4.14.21&record=1

 

ENTERPRISE: Schooner of war
SHIPS PLANS
Plans set
Spencer, Henry; Burrows, John Shober
1973  


1 sheet of plans for 83.5 ft. schooner of war, ENTERPRISE (built 1799), built by Henry Spencer. Date on plan is 1973.

SP.1973.4.14.21

http://mobius.mysticseaport.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=all&f=&s=SP.1973.4.14.21&record=0

 

 

These remaining ones may be of the J class yacht Enterprise but not sure.

 


  SP.1983.12.43.83.1
ENTERPRISE: Lines
Burgess, W. Starling
View SP.1992.62.90.43.43
ENTERPRISE: Sail
View SP.1995.1.1.908.1
ENTERPRISE: Sail; ENTERPRISE: Profile
Stephens, W. P.
View SP.1995.1.1.908.2
ENTERPRISE: Profile
Stephens, W. P.
View
  SP.1995.1.1.908.3
ENTERPRISE: Lines; ENTERPRISE: Arrangement; ENTERPRISE: Profile
Stephens, W. P.
View

Edited by trippwj
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Hi Wayne

 

After your post I did myself the same question "Why didn't I order this plan ?"  Then, I went to review the e-mails with the Mystic Seaport Museum in 2011.  Yeap... I tried to order it in that time.  Here you go their answer:

 

"My apologies for the delay in replying to your email for the ENTERPRISE plan. Unfortunately, that plan in our Collections is for research purposes only. It is under copyright and we can not reproduce the plan. It is possible that you may be able to acquire the plan from another source. Please see the attachment for potential contact information: Peabody Museum: http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/collections or the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/research/ .

> Best of luck in your search."

 

Well, two points here:

 

1. I've tried with the Peabody Museum and the National Archives too: "water".

 

2. "Copyrights" ?! It's a museum !  IMHO, the content of a museum is for anyone, public domain. Am I wrong for thinking out of the box ?

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Alex,

 

I don't think your wrong... but there might be other stipulations on the plans or with whoever gave them the plans.   Perhaps the issue is that they're worried that someone will take the plans and turn around and sell them like certain pirate sites do?  Might be worth a short email explaining that they're for personal use...  Then again, some museums are really protective which limits their usefulness as a research resource from a distance.

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The copy at Mystic is probably one of those printed in 1973. Since Mystic does not own the copyright, only a copy of the plan, they can not offer reproductions - even for personal use. Unless he transferred it, Burrows owns the copyright. Wonder if anyone is familiar with him?

 

Oh... a copy...  that changes everything then.  

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The copy at Mystic is probably one of those printed in 1973. Since Mystic does not own the copyright, only a copy of the plan, they can not offer reproductions - even for personal use. Unless he transferred it, Burrows owns the copyright. Wonder if anyone is familiar with him?

So am I

 

And I agree with Mark: a copy changes everything.  Probably, it must be the only remaining copy. Since there's copyright questions, they can't make new copies. Oh my...

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Hi all! Sorry I was at a writers event all day and didn't have a chance to add into the convo. :P Here's the deal, first frolick I completely agree with you. The Argus for example is a beautiful little ship and I've seen no models of her anywhere even though very detailed plans exist. And there is the Amati kit of Domenica I would like to build one day too. The modeling of Enterprise as a subject is one of those things Chapelle would label as "obstinence" however for me I do find the idea of making an educated guess using detective work as quite a lot of fun (especially for relatively simple designs like schooners with little ornamentation). I mean if Hahn can do it with the Hannah I don't think it that unreasonable to make a fairly decent guess on Enterprize's design especially with the plethora of information available. On that note I recommend reading the link added for msb journal december 2009 which attempts to do just that. Dan Pariser who did the excellent Queen Ann's revenge who I work with at the Brooklyn group here is another example. Enterprize for me appeals to my childhood science fiction side Star Trek and all plus recognizing that the constructo model is essentially garbage, they took the plan for Vixen exactly and added a very non-historically accurate poop deck (which may have existed on the ship during her 1805-1810 incarnation). The number of cannon ports are not accurate to the historical ship and the Vixen was at least 10' smaller. I want to correct that erroneous info and with all the info out there I think it can be done easily. Now on that note I'll explain my processes.

 

https://issuu.com/msbjournal/docs/msbjournal-december-2009

Edited by CharlieZardoz
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Ok so first off Alex regarding these Burrow's plans while I think they are well done I have doubts in my mind whether they accurately represent what the Enterprize would have looked like. According to Chapelle's Baltimore Clipper book the type of schooner that was being produced at that time came in two forms. The more conservative type like Sealark originally the Fly from 1801 and the more extreme type Flying Fish or Shamrock type which is an example of the classic Baltimore Clipper design's like Lynx, Algerine/Numa, event the Pride of Baltimore II of today which were for all intents and purposes enlarged pilot schooners like Swift. It is my understanding based on the reading of Chapelle's and Footner's books on Baltimore Clippers that Enterprise and Experiment were contracted by the navy to be built in the less extreme Sealark/Fly type probably so they could serve as better warships (the Nautilus was a purchase and therefore likely of the lighter more extreme design). Chapelle also adds the plan of an unidentified schooner from 1797 which he felt most closely resembled Enterprize and also shows similar lines to Sealark. Remember most of the clipper/schooners in the war of 1812 were privateers and converted to warships out of necessity not designed to be warships and ultimately were disliked by naval officers for not being able to carry much armarment, provisions etc so it's my assumption that the ships actually ordered to be built by the navy would have all served a similar function and considering Vixen, Syren and Argus as examples these ships were less wedge shaped like traditional Baltmore clippers and more box shaped like brigs. The Enterprize thus would have been something of a crossover "prototype" design still a clipper like the lark but approaching the design that would lead to the heavier Syren/Argus etc. Also in my correspondences with Michael Bosworth who has spent countless years on the subject even attempting a full size reconstruction he believes the Andrea Salvini Venice plans to be conjectural builders plans of Enterprize during her rebuilding in the Mediteranean in 1806.  Whether or not those plans are the real deal I am seeing a general trend where if I were to build a model of Enterprize based on the available info I would first use Sealark and the 1797 plan as a reference, then add to it the lines of Vixen and Syren which were for all intents and purposes the next evolutionary step and then add to that the Salvini plans minus the erroneously drawn on bow and stern decorations (probably an attempt to fit her with a beak who knows) and then do the same thing that msjournal PDF does and average the lines out. The problem I have with the Burrows lines is that they don't fit using this system. Burrow's must've felt that Enterprize was of the more extreme type but based on the available info I personally don't agree and if I added that plan to the others they won't line up (I'll still get the plans though just to see of course as I may be wrong ;) ). Look at the images below to see what I mean and note the inclines in the keel  :)

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Edited by CharlieZardoz
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The late modeler Robert Bruckshaw (spelling?) did a really nice boxwood model of the USS Vixen back in the 1980's. Pix appear in P. C. Coker's "Charleston's Maritime Heritage", and I believe that she graced the cover of an 1980's "Ships in Scale" Magazine issue. 

 

My wife is both a vixen, and a former model. :)

Edited by uss frolick
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