ABOUT BYB     LIST A BOAT     COVER PAGES     RESOURCES     ADVERTISING  
 
< Login >
  HOME     SUBSCRIBE     BYB SHIRTS     FREE BOATS     PAST ISSUES     WHEELHOUSE     FAQ  
   
                       
     

The following story appears Winter 2009 issue:

CONSTITUTION'S GUARDIAN (page 2 of 4)

CONSTITUTION's white oak keel was laid that same year at Edmund Hartt's yard in Boston. Over the next three years at

 USS CONSTITUTION -- U.S. Navy Photo

total cost of $302,700, her live oak and red cedar frames and timbers joined her white oak planking with brass, bronze, and copper fasteners forged by silversmith, and famous patriot of the American Revolution, Paul Revere. Instead of the 18-inch thick sides typical for ships of that era, CONSTITUTION's sides were made 21 inches thick. Her 204-foot length displaced 2,200 tons, and her three masts -- the tallest of which reaches 220 feet -- would carry nearly 43,000 square feet of sail. After becoming stuck on the ways during two launch attempts in late September, 1797, CONSTITUTION was successfully launched on the third attempt on the high tides of October 21st. So began the fighting career of the oldest commissioned warship afloat, but nearly 15 years would pass before she received the nickname for which she became famous.

 

 

The following story appears Winter 2009 issue:

CONSTITUTION'S GUARDIAN (page 2 of 4)

The War of 1812 erupted with England over -- among other things -- its practice of impressing American seamen into service aboard British fighting ships in their perpetual conflict with France. While claiming to be seizing only British deserters, many of those taken were known to be legitimate United States citizens. America had already fought for -- and won -- its freedom from Britain, and it was willing to fight again to preserve that freedom. So it was on August 19, 1812, that CONSTITUTION's Commander, Isaac Hull, ordered the pursuit of sails on the horizon some 600 miles east of Nova Scotia -- sails that turned out to belong to Britain's 38-gun frigate HMS GUERRIERE. A fierce naval battle ensued, and CONSTITUTION poured into GUERRIERE with broadside cannon fire ultimately bringing down all three of GUERRIERE's masts. Cannon shot from GUERRIERE was actually seen to bounce off of CONSTITUTION's 21-inch sides, causing an unknown sailor to famously remark, "Huzza, her sides are made of iron." Totally disabled, GUERRIERE surrendered to CONSTITUTION, and the moniker "Old Ironsides" lives on to this day.

CONSTITUTION engaged in many more battles, including the fight with HMS JAVA in which CONSTITUION's steering wheel was shot away only to be replaced with the stricken JAVA's wheel when the smoke of battle cleared. In April of 1814, CONSTITUTION was returning to Boston to repair a split mainmast when she found herself being pursued by HMS JUNON and HMS TENEDOS. Being damaged and plagued by lighter winds than her pursuers, CONSTITUTION's Commander, Charles Stewart, ordered drinking water, food, and, yes, 'spirits' to be thrown overboard to lighten her load as she made way for Marblehead to the north of Boston. (It is even rumored that she offloaded cannon, but if my friend Ray Bates (1) -- local lobsterman, diver, author, historian, and all-around Renaissance man -- has not found one then I don't believe they ever left CONSTITUTION's decks.) Sources say that CONSTITUTION carried Marbleheaders among her crew who knew the rocky coastline and shallows well enough to pilot her in to safety. Once CONSTITUTION fell under the protection of the guns of Fort Sewall at the mouth of Marblehead harbor, JUNON and TENEDOS called off their pursuit. This very same Fort Sewall is more of a park than a fort today, nearly 200 years later, and it makes for a beautiful view out Dave Cashman's window.

Dream Sheet

Before I headed over to meet Dave that December morning, I did a little homework. I knew that after being commissioned from the US Navy Officer Candidate School in 1964, Dave did multiple tours in Vietnam aboard destroyers, and later in his naval career he assumed the role of Executive Officer of the Aegis Training Center. The Aegis integrated combat system deployed on cruisers and destroyers is considered the most advanced surface ship weapons systems in use today. The question that I just had to ask Dave was obvious:

  Next Page of Story:   < 1 >   < 2 >   < 3 >   < 4 >

 

 
Ads, Emails, & Cool Pics

BYB Subscriber Emails


Mudd Sharrigan Custom Knives


Great Pics from the Archives


BYB Subscriber Emails


Renew Your BYB Subscription


Great Pics from the Archives




Follow BYB on...

Facebook Button  YouTube Button  Twitter Button


 
                     
      Bone Yard Boats     ***     P.O. Box 1432     ***     Marblehead, MA  01945 42° 30.20'N   70° 50.20'W  
     
Official Website of the Bone Yard Boats newsletter.

© 2012 Bone Yard Boats
All Rights Reserved.
Bone Yard Boats is the quarterly newsletter -- and website -- whose mission is to save old boats.
How do we do that?
By spreading the word through our expanding community of subscribers.
  Bone Yard Boats is firmly dedicated to the belief that for every old boat out there in need of a new home...

...there's a crazy boater looking for a project.
Each issue of the print newsletter contains
~50 boats. 

Many are FREE!
   
      | Home  | Subscribe  | Issues  | List a Boat  | About Us  | Contact Us  | Covers  | Free Boats  | BYB Shirts  | Resources  | Advertise  | Wheelhouse  | Account Tools  |