Friday, August 17, 2012

USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere

This Sunday will be the Bicentennial of the great ship-to-ship Naval engagement between the USS Constitution (44 guns) and the HMS Guerriere (38 guns), during the War of 1812.  Interestingly, the Guerriere was built by the French, and captured by the Royal Navy in 1806AD.

On 19 August 1812AD, what is arguably the most famous vessel in the young United States Navy, the frigate USS Constitution, under the command of Isaac Hull (not to be confused with William Hull and Isaac Brock in Detroit!), met in combat the British frigate, HMS Guerriere, far off the coast of Nova Scotia.

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USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere by Michel Corne (+1845AD)

In the end, the foremast of the Guerriere was brought down by the gunners of the Constitution, and along with it came the mainmast, leaving the British vessel with no choice but to strike her colors.  The Americans, after evacuating the British crew, burned the ship which was clearly in no condition to bring back to Boston, MA.  This was a great battle of the era of wooden ships and iron men!

This webpage has a splendid summary of the engagement, along with a number of excellent paintings of the battle:

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The USS Constitution in Boston, Massachusetts in 2010AD.

This was the first of a number of striking American ship-to-ship victories of the War of 1812.  A bit of good news to lighten a country concerned about its failure on the Canadian front.

Live well!

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