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Boarding Pikes

A pike has a long shaft with a sharpened metal head. This spear-like implement was used, either to repel boarders or to attack, board and capture an enemy ship. Boarding pike heads came in various shapes. Boarding and capturing was a major objective during the War of 1812 on Lake Ontario. Both sides exerted great energy in constructing new vessels, in an attempt to gain the advantage in the number of ships they could bring into action. Boarding and capturing meant that one side added to his fleet while the other lost part of his. With one or two captures, a serious blow could be dealt. For instance the United States Navy saw the loss of Hamilton and Scourge on August 8th  1813 in a storm and two days later the Royal Navy captured the Julia and Growler. In a report to his superiors, Commodore James Yeo, Commander of the British fleet, described the loss of the four American boats as:, an indelible disgrace, and I am at a loss to know how he (the American Commander) will account to his government for it.