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Lady of the Lake

 

In Arthurian legend, Nimue or Vivian, mistress of the enchanter Merlin, was called Lady of the Lake. It was she who gave the magic sword, Excalibur, to King Arthur, and to her it was returned by Sir Belvedere upon Arthur’s death. Also, the central figure of the romantic epic of the same name by Sir Walter Scott.

 

I

 

(Sch.: t. 89; cpl. 40; a. 1 9-pdr.)

 

Lady of the Lake, a small schooner, was built for the Navy by Henry Eckford of Sacketts Harbor, N.Y., during the summer and winter of 1812–13; launched 6 April 1813; and entered service 13 days later, Sailing Master Flinn in command.

 

Built under the personal supervision of Commodore Isaac Chauncey for duty as a dispatch boat on Lake Ontario carrying messages to Niagara, the schooner was seldom used as she was designed. Instead she saw considerable action on the Great Lakes throughout the War of 1812. Actively employed in Chauncey’s squadron, she assisted in the assault on York, Canada, carrying some of General Dearborn’s troops and sailing close inshore to cover the troops with precision fire. A month later, after bringing supplies to troops at York, she joined in the attack on Fort George 27 May, once again carrying troops and using her gun to advantage. She wreaked havoc among the English troops and forced them to withdraw, blowing up the fort behind them.

 

Continuing operations on Lake Ontario, Lady of the Lake captured English schooner Lady Murray with a cargo of ammunition off Presque Isle, now Erie, Pa., 16 June and then operated as a dispatch and supply boat throughout the summer. On 11 September, the schooner was part of the American squadron that engaged the British under Capt. Sir John Yeo in an inconclusive, 3-hour long-range battle in Lake Ontario. She fought again with the squadron 17 days later off York in a short but fierce engagement that forced the British to retreat into Burlington Bay.