HMS Mosquidobit (1813)

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File:Lynx schooner in Morro Bay.jpg
Modern replica of Lynx off Morro Bay, 2007 photo by Mike Baird
Career (USA) 100x35px
Name: Lynx
Builder: Thomas Kemp, Fells Point, Baltimore
Commissioned: 14 July 1812
Struck: 13 April 1813
Fate: Captured by the Royal Navy
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: Mosquidobit
Acquired: By capture 13 April 1813
Fate: Sold 13 January 1820
General characteristics
Type: Topsail Schooner
Tons burthen: 223 92/94 bm[1]
Length: 94' 7"
Beam: 24'
Draft: 10' 3"
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 40 as Lynx; 50 as Musquidobit"[1]
  • American privateer: 6 x 12-pounder guns
  • British warship: 8 x 18-pounder carronades + 2 x 6-pounder guns[1]

HMS Mosquidobit was the Chesapeake-built six-gun schooner Lynx that the British Royal Navy captured and took into service in 1813. She was sold into commercial service in 1820 and nothing is known of her subsequent fate.


Owner-investors James Williams, Amos Williams and Levi Hollingsworth commissioned the noted shipbuilder Thomas Kemp to build them a schooner. Lynx was built at Fells Point, Baltimore during the opening days of the War of 1812. Lynx was commissioned on 14 July under captain Elisha Taylor.

She was a bit larger than the typical swift pilot boats after which Kemp modeled her. Kemp had increased her size to 97' long by 24'4" wide and 225 tons. She was fitted out as a trader though she carried a crew of 40 men and was armed with six 12-pounder long guns. She cost a little under $10,000.

Lynx was a letter of marque. That is, she was an armed merchantman with the warrant to take as prizes enemy merchantmen during the normal course of business, should the opportunity arise. As a merchantman, her crew received a regular wage; they did not depend on prizes for their income.

Lynx served as a merchantman for less than a year. She made one voyage, to Bordeaux, France, and returned with a cargo of luxury goods. She was waiting with three other schooners to run the British blockade for a second voyage when the British captured her.


On 13 April 1813, Sir John Borlase Warren's squadron, consisting of San Domingo, Marlborough, Maidstone, Statira, Fantome, Mohawk and Highflyer pursued four schooners into the Rappahannock. The British sent 17 boats 15 miles upriver before capturing their prey.[2]

One of the schooners, the Dolphin, had been on a privateering cruise; consequently she carried 100 men and 12 guns.[3] Under her captain, W.S. Stafford, she fought for some two hours before she struck. In the action the British lost two killed and 11 wounded; Stafford placed his losses at six killed and 10 wounded.[4]

The British took three of the schooners into service. The Lynx became Mosquidobit. The Racer, of six guns, became Shelburne; the Dolphin retained her name.[5] Lastly, it is not clear what became of Arab, of seven guns, which too had put up some resistance.[3]

British service

The Admiralty bought Lynx for ₤1,933.11.5d (amended figure) and the British named her for the town of Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia, commissioning her under Lieutenant John Murray.[1] Mosquidobit joined the British fleet blockading the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay at Lynnhaven Bay (just inside the Virginia Capes). She was subsequently stationed in Nova Scotia. On 30 March 1814 she arrived in Portsmouth.


From September 1815 she was under the command of James Giffith until 1817.[1] Eventually Mosquidobit sailed to Deptford, England where her lines were taken off (surveyed and recorded) on May 10, 1816. She then sailed out of Cork on the Irish station where she served on anti-smuggling duties.

On 9 December 1818 she sent into Dublin the Dutch cutter Thetis, of Flushing, which she found off the Irish Coast and taken after a long chase. Almost a year later, on 8 December 1819, she received a reward from the Custom-House, Dublin, for the second largest number of smugglers taken on the coast of Ireland, in the year ending 1 Oct 1819,[6]

She was paid-off in July 1819 but then reportedly served in the Mediterranean, sailing between Toulon and Marseilles. By 1820, she had been decommissioned and on 13 January 1820, a Mr. Rundle purchased her for ₤410 and placed her in private service.[1] Nothing more is known of her.


A full scale sailing replica of this schooner, the tall ship Lynx, was built at Rockport, Maine in 2001 and now operates in California. A model of the schooner as HMS Musquidobit is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Winfield (2008), p.368.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Chapelle (1967), 214.
  4. Maclay (1899), 467.
  5. Dudley (1992), p.339.
  6. London Gazette of 26 Jun 1821.
  • Chapelle, Howard Irving (1967) The search for speed under sail, 1700-1855. (New York: Norton).
  • Dudley, William S. (1992) The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History. (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center), V. 2.
  • Maclay, Edgar Stanton (1899) A history of American privateers. (London & New York).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461.