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September 20, 2011

Sailing In Harms Way The US Navy Way


The U. S. S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log:
"On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 8,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping."

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On 18 November, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured snd scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.

By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water.


GO NAVY!


On a lesser note, the wife and I visited the USS Constitution in April of 1984 in Boston Habor. I grabbed a blue information packet which explained some of the ships' rich history. One of the items in the packet told how the Constitution was rehulled back in the 1930's. The oak planks in her hull had already started to petrify from exposure to salt and minerals in sea water.
So much for millions and millions of years needed for petrified wood to form...

H/T to my brother Bob

5 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but ships of those days were known to rigs sails to catch rain water. You DO have to wonder where all the booze went, though. ;-)

sig94 said...

Gorges - hmmm... do you really wonder where all the booze went? I wonder how they found North America again.

The Underground Pewster said...

"The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water."

And NO WOMEN!

Kid said...

I like rum.

christian soldier said...

Hmmm- that would be -Go Army-BEAT Navy : - )

but- when it comes down to it - all of those in our military are our BEST...
Carol-CS