A brig is a prison on a ship, especially a warship. Two-masted sailing ship with square rigging on both masts. Brigs were both naval and mercantile vessels. As merchantmen, they often followed coastal trading routes, but ocean voyages were not uncommon, and some were even used for whaling and sealing. Naval brigs carried 10-20 guns on a single deck. In the 18th-19th century, they served as couriers for battle fleets and as training vessels for cadets. Brigs of the early U.S. Navy won distinction on the Great Lakes in the War of 1812. Because square rigging required a large crew, merchant brigs became uneconomical, and in the 19th century they began to give way to vessels such as the schooner and the bark
A small two-masted vessel during the Age of Sail, typically carrying 12 guns, comprising two long guns in the chase position and ten carronades on the broadsides. In the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars this term implied an armed brig smaller than a brig-sloop
a two-masted sailing ship which has square sails on the foremast combined with a schooner rig on the mainmast (triangular topsail over a gaff mainsail). As such it has a mix of the two main types of sail plan, hence the term hermaphrodite
About noon we saw a vessel on a wind to leeward of us, which was a source of great delight to us all, and we bore down to her. We soon made her out to be an hermaphrodite brig, under her close-reefed topsails and trysails. — Frederick Marryat, The Privateersman, 1846.
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