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Lynx I (Schooner)


The first Lynx is named for any of a group of wildcats found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, most commonly known as the bobcat or wildcat; the second Lynx (SP‑2), is a former name is retained; and the third Lynx (AK‑100), was named for a northern constellation between Auriga and Ursa Major.


(Sch.: t. 150; l. 80'; cpl. 50; a. 6 guns)

The first Lynx, a 6‑gun Baltimore Clipper rigged schooner, was built for the Navy by James Owner of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., in 1814, intended for service in one of the two raiding squadrons being built as part of the Madison administration’s plan to establish a more effective Navy, one capable not only of breaking the British blockade, but also of raising havoc with the English merchant marine. Though the War of 1812 ended by the time the schooner was completed, the ship was still placed in service in early 1815 and on 3 July sailed from Boston with the nine‑ship squadron of Commodore William Bainbridge, bound for the Mediterranean to deal with the piratical acts of the Barbary Powers against American commerce.

Arriving off the north African coast by the beginning of August, Lynx found that a squadron under Commodore Stephen Decatur had already achieved satisfactory agreements to American treaty demands. The schooner remained in the Mediterranean, however, until late in the year as part of a show of force led by Commodore Bainbridge’s flagship Independence, the Navy’s first ship‑of‑the‑line, to encourage the Barbary States to keep the peace treaties just concluded. Returning to the United States, the ship made a preliminary survey of the northeastern coast during 1817, Lt. George W. Stover in command, at times carrying Commodore William Bainbridge, now Commandant of the Charlestown, Mass., Navy Yard, and Brig. Gen. Joseph G. Swift aboard during her voyage.

Following this duty, Lynx sailedfor the Gulf of Mexico to operate along the southern U.S. coast and in the West Indies suppressing piracy, continuing on this service for the next 2 years. On 24 October 1819, while under command of Lt. J. R. Madison, she captured two schooners and two boats in the Gulf of Mexico, filled with pirates and booty, and 11 days later, 9 November found another pirate boat in Galveston Bay and took her. Remaining off the southern coast through the end of the year, Lynx departed St. Mary’s, Ga., 11 January 1820, bound for Kingston, Jamaica, to continue her service suppressing pirates. She was never seen nor heard from again, and despite the searchings of schooner Nonsuch, no trace of her or her 50‑man crew was ever found. The disappearance of Lynx is one of the continuing mysteries of the sea.

Published: Wed Jul 29 12:01:21 EDT 2015