This British Naval issue cutlass and scabbard (1804 pattern) was kept as prize booty by Captain George Bacon and crew of the privateer Dash.
According to family lore, Dash discovered the dismasted British privateer Thinks I To Myself in a cove near Wiscasset when the fog lifted. Some of Dash’s gunports were outfitted with logs painted black to fool the British into believing the brigantine was more heavily armed than it was. Consequently, Thinks I To Myself quickly surrendered, and Dash carried its prize and the sloop’s crew to Portland in October of 1814.
During the War of 1812, seagoing vessels changed hands frequently. Thinks I To Myself was originally an American ship out of Castine, ME that had been captured by the British just months before.
These treasures were handed down from Captain Joseph Porter, brother of Dash’s owners, to his great, great-grandson Philip Means, and are cared for and displayed by the Freeport Historical Society.
The Cutlass and scabbard will be on display at the Portland Science Center until October 29th.
From the collections of the Freeport Historical Society, on long-term loan from Philip C. Means.