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Additional resources for A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
Brigs. A brig was a smaller version of the brig-rigged sloop of war, and its distinctive feature was square sails on two masts. Brigs usually carried 14 short-range carronade guns and were commanded by Lieutenants. Cutters. Designed for speed, these vessels carried about ten guns and a lot of sail. Most of them bore both square and fore-and-aft sails on a single mast. Some, however, used a distinctively American schooner rig taken from a type used at Bermuda, having a very large triangular sail, and, with only four to six guns, were categorized as schooners.
In 1807, they carried a total complement of about 837 naval officers and men, plus 170 Royal Marines (a special corps of soldiers who served on naval vessels and were called the Royal Marines from 1802). S. Caledonia, launched in 1808. S. Victory, was among the biggest ships when it was launched in 1765. In addition to being fighting ships, these large ships had additional naval roles, often carrying an Admiral and his staff either at sea or in port and serving as symbols of naval power and diplomatic prestige.
These warrant officers were usually less educated than Masters, Surgeons, and Pursers and were not wardroom officers. Boatswains were specialists in sails, rigging, ground tackle, and the skills associated with cordage, held Admiralty warrants, and were responsible to the Navy Board. Gunners were warranted by the Ordnance Board and were responsible to it for the ships’ guns and ammunition, while Carpenters were primarily concerned with the maintenance of the hull, masts, and yards and were responsible to the Navy Board.