Saturday, January 29, 2011

A little known tidbit of naval history

USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)

A little known tidbit of naval history


The USS 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). 

July 27th, 1798: 
However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27th, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 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". 

October 6th, 1798: 
Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. 

November 12th, 1798: 
Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there November 12th. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine. 

November 18th, 1798: 
On November 18th, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each. 

January 26th, 1799:
By January 26th, 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 whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home. 

February 20th, 1799: 
The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whiskey, and 38,600 gallons of water.