Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Old Ironsides"

Today's blog is not about nature, but about history.  Today, August 19, 2012 the USS Constitution sailed on the her own power to celebrate the 200th anniversary of her victory over the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812.  The USS Constitution under the command of Capt. Isaac call engaged the Guerriere often Nova Scotia on August 19, 1812.  In this battle, the Constitution received its nickname after a quote from a sailor, who saw one of the glorious cannonballs would seem to slightly penetrate the side of the Constitution, but dropped into the sea.  The sailor then called out the quote "Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!  See, where the shot fell out!".
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USS Constitution, traveling under tugboat, passing Fort Jefferson on Castle Island, with an airplane coming in for landing at Logan Airport
The last time that the USS Constitution was sailed under its own power was on its 200th birthday in 1997.  Prior to that it hadn't sailed under its own power since 1881.
The USS Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and is visited by more than 500,000 visitors per year.
boston HarborI traveled out to Deer Island in order to watch the sailing of the Constitution.  The Constitution was tugged out to Presidents Roads, which is in between The Deer island and Long Island, accompanied by many small vessels, plus the usual police, fire department, and Coast Guard vessels. 

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Presidents Roads

At this point she said three of her four main sails and sailed under her own power for 17 minutes traveling approximately 1100 yards.
"Old Ironsides"
Under Sail
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21 gun salute
Then tugs were reattached the Constitution's side and she went by Fort Jefferson on Castle Island, where she exchanged a 21 gun salute with the Massachusetts Army National Guards, 101 Field artillery Regiment (this Regiment is the oldest regiment in the United States Army). After this the Constitution was tugged back to her dock at the Charlestown Naval Yard where she was once open again for visitors.