On this day, August 19 in 1812, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeated the British ship Guerriere in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia and earned its nickname of “Old Ironsides.” Witnesses said British shots seemed to bounce off the Constitution as if she were made of iron.
Old Ironsides was constructed of pine and Southern Live Oak, and named “Constitution” by George Washington. Paul Revere forged the copper bolts and breasthooks. She is the oldest commissioned ship in the world still afloat.
“A Friendly Race: USS Constitution in the Caribbean, 1799” by Patrick O'Brien
On March 1, 1799 the USS Constitution, commanded by Captain Samuel Nicholson, encountered the HMS Santa Margarita, commanded by Captain George Parker, while on station in the Caribbean Sea. Nicholson and Parker were acquaintances and the American captain invited the British captain to visit his ship. Parker was rowed over to the Constitution, and although he praised the condition of Nicholson’s ship, he boasted his was still the faster. The two captains agreed on a bet. The two ships would race, the winner receiving a casket of Madeira from the loser.
The race began at dawn the next day at the firing of a gun. The two ships raced for 11 hours, and by sundown Constitution had left the Santa Margarita far behind. Just after dark, Parker was rowed back over to the American frigate to deliver Nicholson the promised cask of wine.
So during day two of shipnanigans, I went aboard the Constitution for the first time in like a decade. And I was basically the only person who could wander around the gun deck without having to duck. (I’m 5′3″.)
The Constitution (a frigate launched in 1797) is (as far as I can guess) much bigger than the Artemis and slightly smaller than the Porpoise, so while the only part of the nonsense at sea I care about is silly secksi times with a side of a certain soup I’m curious to see if they’re going to make the freakishly tall cast who play canonically taller than average characters spend a lot of time hunched over for the sake of historical accuracy. Because we all know how seriously they take historical accuracy, just look at how they use it to justify some of the shitty choices they make…