HMS Lynx (1794)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Lynx
Ordered: 18 February 1793
Builder: William Cleverley, Gravesend
Laid down: May 1793
Launched: 14 February 1794
Completed: 30 May 1794 at Woolwich Dockyard
Commissioned: April 1794
Struck: sold 28 April 1813
General characteristics
Class and type: 16-gun Cormorant-class sloop
Tons burthen: 426 3/94 bm
Length: 108 ft 4 in (33.0 m) (overall)
90 ft 9 in (27.7 m) (keel)
Beam: 29 ft 8.5 in (9.1 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft (2.74 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Sloop
Complement: 121
Armament: 16 x 6pdrs + 12 x ½pdr swivels

HMS Lynx was a 16-gun ship-rigged sloop of the Cormorant class in the Royal Navy, launched in 1794 at Gravesend.[1] In 1795 she was the cause of an international incident when she fired on the USRC Eagle. She was at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, and during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars took several prizes. She was sold in 1812.

Active service

On 1 March 1795, Lynx, while under the command of John Poer Beresford on the America station, captured the Cocarde Nationale, a privateer from Charleston, South Carolina, of 14 guns, six swivels and 80 men. Cruising in the company of the recently captured Esperence, Lynx recaptured the ship Norfolk, of Belfast, and the brig George, of Workington.[2]

At some point in 1795, Lynx, fired a shot across the bow of the USRC Eagle. Hendrick Fischer, Eagle's acting captain, attempted to heave-to, but he had on board Senator Pierce Butler, from South Carolina, who ordered him to sail on. Lynx then began to fire continuously as Eagle sailed towards the shoal waters on the north point of Jekyll Island. As Lynx drew too much water to continue the chase, Beresford sent his pinnace and cutter, in charge of Lieutenant Alex Skene, in pursuit. The British quickly overtook the schooner and came on board, demanding to know why it hadn't come about in response to the shots. After learning the schooner was in fact a revenue vessel of the U.S. government, Skene and his men returned to Lynx.

In the ensuing international political furor, Beresford stated that Lynx had been beyond the 12 mile limit and noted that the schooner was not flying any flag. The Eagle had not in fact flown the national ensign; for unexplained reasons it was instead stored in the captain's cabin. Eagle did apparently display some sort of small pennant that was not visible to Lynx.

On 13 June 1798, Lynx, under Captain Robert Hall, captured the French privateer Isabelle, of two guns and 30 men. Two weeks later, he captured the Mentor, also a French privateer, this of 14 six-pounders and 79 men. During the chase, Mentor threw six of her guns overboard to lighten her and thus, albeit insufficiently, improve her speed. Both privateers had set out from Puerto Rico to cruise the coast of the United States. On 10 July Lynx recaptured the American ship Liberty, from Philadelphia and bound for Liverpool, which had been captured by a French privateer on 4 July, a few hours after leaving the Delaware River.[3]

In 1801, Lynx, Captain Alexander Skene, was with the Baltic Fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen. In 1847 The Admiralty authorized the issuance of the Naval General Service Medal with the clasp "COPENHAGEN 1801" to any remaining survivors of the battle.

Captain John Willoughby Marshall took command of Lynx in June 1802. On 12 August 1809, Marshall and the Lynx, in the company of the gun-brig HMS Monkey, Lieutenant Thomas Fitzgerald, discovered three Danish luggers off the Danish coast. The water was too shallow for Lynx, so Marshall sent Monkey and boats from Lynx in to cut them out. The largest of the luggers, which had four guns and four howitzers, opened fire on Monkey before all three luggers ran ashore once Monkey and the launch's 18-pounder carronade returned fire. The British refloated the luggers and brought them out the next day, having taken no casualties. In their haste to quit the vessel, the Danes failed to fire the fuse on a cask of gunpowder they had left by the fireplace on the largest lugger.[4]


Lynx was laid up at Deptford in May 1811. She was sold there for ₤1330 on 28 April 1812.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Winfield (2008).
  2. London Gazette, 28 July 1795, p. 10.
  3. Alexander Kippis (1809) The new annual register, or General repository of history, politics, and literature: to which is prefixed, a short review of the principal transactions of the present reign, for the year 1798. (London), p.107.
  4. John William Norrie (1827) The naval gazetteer, biographer, and chronologist : containing a history of the late wars, from their commencement in 1793 to their conclusion in 1801; and from their re-commencement in 1803 to their final conclusion in 1815; and continued, as to the biographical part, to the present time. (London), p.202.


  • Colledge, J.J. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of All Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy From the Fifteenth Century to the Present. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87021-652-X.
  • Winfield, Rif. British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing, 2nd edition, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.