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Scourge was originally named the Lord Nelson and was built at Niagara in 1810-11 for merchants William and James Crooks. The ship was confiscated by the United States Revenue Service on suspicion of smuggling on the eve of the War of 1812. Once war commenced the schooner was sold to the United States Navy and refitted for naval service.  The figurehead was not changed probably because sailors considered it bad luck to do so. Lord Nelson was a British Admiral who died during a successful battle against the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar, off the coast of Spain, in 1805. Fittingly, he was known as the Scourge of the French Navy. Accuracy does not seem to have been important since this figure has two arms even though Nelson lost an arm in battle in 1798.