Burning of the Teazer

Saturday, August 1, 2009, at 10:15 p.m.

Join us for a re-enactment of the famous chase and burning of the privateer ship Young Teazer in the harbour. Good viewing of this historical event can be had from most places along the waterfront. Date and time will be posted in the schedule.

Watch as Young Teazer sails up into Mahone Bay pursued by ships of the Royal Navy. The chase moves past the festival Wharf; the vessels engaged in a spirited gun-battle. A hush falls on the crowd as the Young Teazer disappears into the inner reaches of the bay. All seems lost and the Teazer crew refuses to surrender. Suddenly a flaming explosion announces the end of the ship and most of its crew.

The Story...

Two successful American Privateers operating under letters of marque from the American President brought the war of 1812 to the waters of Mahone Bay.

The Teazer was a schooner rigged vessel of 80 tonnes under the command of Lieutenant Frederick Johnston. It was intercepted and burned by the HMS Dominigo, and the crew was captured and taken to Halifax. Upon solumn oath not to bear arms agains the King ever again, Lieutenant Johnston was released and sent back to America.

The Young Teazer received a new letter of marque in May 1813 and sailed from Portland, Maine, on June 3 with the very same Lieutenant Johnston serving in her crew. The Young Teazer's brief maiden voyage was an instant sucess as she captured five vessels and quickly became the focus of a major hunt by the British fleet. Three British ships and a local privateer chased her across St. Margaret's Bay, but lost her in the fog. Trying to lose the hunters for good, the skipper of the Young Teazer used Mahone Bay's many islands for cover.

As the wind died, five British Navy cutters were launched in hot pursuit. Remembering his oath not to bear arms, Lieutenant Johnston knew for certain he would be sent to the gallows if captured. His solution was to set fire to the munitions of the Young Teazer resulting in an explosion. All hands, save eight, were lost and and the young Lieutenant was never heard of again

Today it is said that on balmy summer nights when the moon lights up the mist on the outer reaches of Mahone Bay, a flaming ghost of the ship Young Teazer can be seen moving across the Bay.