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Lesson Plan: Portland Observatory - Signals

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Signal flags, Portland, ca. 1800

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Signal flags, Portland, ca. 1800 / Maine Historical Society

This is a page from a notebook kept by Captain Moody at the Observatory for general signals. Can you read Moody's cursive? (Remember that in Moody's era the letter s sometimes appears as the letter f.) These flags are used to signal townspeople and merchants when a vessel is entering Portland harbor.
What are some of the types of vessels Moody can signal?
How are the signals for a merchant ship and a neutral ship different? How are they the same?
Is there another flag shown here that has a double meaning? Which one and what are the meanings?

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