This is the story of one cruise of the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides).
There are some who say that this was just a ‘sailor’s myth’, but it was supposedly researched by Lieutenant Tom Lewis, Royal Australian Naval College.
I tend to believe it -and it helps me understand why Old Ironsides was so successful against the mighty British Fleet.
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 6 months of sustained operations; she carried no evaporators.
On 22 July 1812, the USS Constitution set sail from Boston.
She left with 475 men, 48,600 gallons of water, 7,400 cannon shots, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission - to harass British 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 on 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 Man of War and captured and scuttled 12 English Merchant ships, salvaging only the rum.
By 27 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde. Her Raiding Party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.
The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1813 with no cannon shot, no food, no rum, no wine, no whiskey and 48,600 gallons of stagnant water.
Live Long and Prosper...