Signals to be observed by those vessels proceeding under the convoy of the U.S. Frigate Congress
Coded signal flags were the primary means of communication among ships sailing together in a convoy. Depending on the number of ships in the convoy, it was possible that not all ships could see each other any given time, requiring messages to be passed from ship to ship. It was also easy for privateers to slip in among the convey with the intent to raid the unsuspecting ships. These signals were issued by Captain James Sever on USS Congress while leading a convoy of merchant ships back to the United States during the Quasi-War. The signals were intended to ensure that all ships under Sever’s care could be quickly and easily identified, and that enemy ships could not deceptively slip in among them.