The privateer ship Rattlesnake was built at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1779 or 1780, allegedly to designs by John Peck. At various times it carried from 14 to 20 guns and its complement consisted of 85 men. It was captured off the American coasts in 1781 by the British 44-gun ship Assurance. It was taken to England, where it was renamed Cormorant and its lines were drawn. With its reduced dead rise and its very sharp fore lines the Rattlesnake must have been very fast. It had a detached forecastle and quarterdeck, linked by removable gangways, unshipped during the battles.