A Page From American Naval History


February 24, 2003, 02:01 PM
This is a piece of literature I rec'd off the errornet, however, in these times that try men's souls, I believe it is worth remembering the heroism and self-sacrifice of all who have been in harm's way. Particularly note the mention of cannonshot and gunpowder in the second paragraph (this keeps it on topic!). :D

The U. S. S. 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 during 6 months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators.

However, let it be noted that according to her log, "On July 27, 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." 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 there 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 men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchantmen, salvaging only the rum aboard each.

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

The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February, 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky and 38,600 gallons of stagnant water.

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February 24, 2003, 03:14 PM
So that means each man aboard consumed about 2 gallons a day of rum, wine, and whiskey.

Must have been some mission! :neener:

Modelo 1935
February 24, 2003, 03:21 PM
Not counting the rum "salvaged" from the Brits the average consumption figures for their 208 day jaunt are as follows:

.41 gallons of Scotch per day, per man
1.49 gallons of Rum per day, per man
.65 gallons of wine per day, per man

Thats nearly 2 gallons of the hard stuff followed by a liter of wine!

Brings back found memories of my college days.

Oh, and to stay topical the figures for the powder and shot are:

.12 pounds of black powder per day, per man
.07 pounds of cannon shot per day, per man

February 24, 2003, 03:26 PM
IIRC, the rum of that era was not as strong as it is today, it was very watered down.


February 24, 2003, 03:26 PM
That's a whole lot of drinking going on on the high seas! I wonder how often they had to swab the deck?

February 24, 2003, 03:36 PM
I wouldn't want to be the guy that had to do the swabbin'..:D ;)

Jim March
February 24, 2003, 04:07 PM

Oh GOD I can't stop laughing!

That's just...impossible! Jeeeezus. Somebody call AA! Quick!

February 24, 2003, 04:24 PM
Talk about a party barge! :eek:

February 24, 2003, 04:48 PM
That's why we're the best!

We can wander around the high seas, completely soused, and still hold our own!

February 24, 2003, 05:53 PM
AA tried to intervene on January 25th. Thats why the USS Constitution's powder and shot were exhausted on the 26th, strangely, the AA's ship was never heard from again and is suspected lost. :evil:


4v50 Gary
February 24, 2003, 08:46 PM
I knew that during the days of tall ships and iron men, grog (1/4 rum to 3/4 water) was issued to the crew, but I never realized that the Constitution's cargo had that much rum aboard. Must have been one jolly cruise ship.

February 24, 2003, 09:23 PM
This makes my liver hurt just reading it.

February 24, 2003, 09:30 PM
(This post has been pre-cleaned up so as not to offend our non-seagoing associates, who have had the misfortune to suffer life ashore without the soul-cleansing character of the open sea). :evil:

Well, by :cuss: (you're welcome, Oleg) , it's thirsty :cuss: (you're welcome, Oleg) work firing up a :cuss: (you're welcome, Oleg) limey frigate to the :cuss: (you're welcome, Oleg) waterline! Then theres the :cuss: (you're welcome, Oleg) obligatory post-plunder and sink victory party, . And, there's only one sure way to cure a hangover, you :cuss:! (you're welcome, Oleg) . All in time for the next day's sailoring, :cuss:! (you're welcome, Oleg)

February 25, 2003, 12:54 AM
so THAT'S how they got by at sea without any women for that long! We Army guys always wondered about that! Now what's this about alcohol being some "alternative fuel for the 21st century"???

Mad Man
February 25, 2003, 10:34 AM
I wouldn't want to be the guy that had to do the swabbin'.

You ever notice in Star Trek that they never show the lowly enlisted man who has to swab the holo-deck after Commander Riker is done using it (http://www.startrek.com/library/techno.asp?ID=70093)?

Mad Man
February 25, 2003, 10:48 AM
But on a serious note...

"On July 27, 1798,

The American Revolution ended in 1783.

The reference to hostilities against British warships in 1798 should have raised some flags. This is especially true among people who frequently cite the War for Independence against Britian as a historical precedent for the need to own firearms. And those of us who criticize the poor state of the education system.

According to the navy's web site (http://www.ussconstitution.navy.mil/) about the USS Constitution (see history (http://www.ussconstitution.navy.mil/historyupdat.htm)):


July 22 - Underway and out to sea for the first time, commanded by Capt. Samuel Nicholson.


She cruises in the West Indies, during the "Quasi-War" with France, protecting U.S. merchant shipping from French privateers. The CONSTITUTION is not engaged in battle with any warship, but captures/recaptures several privateers and victims of privateers.

PS - There's a thread with the same story, different dates, at GlockTalk.com (http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=137360).

February 25, 2003, 01:06 PM
Good thing they weren't pulled over by a Texas Parks & Wildlife game warden.

With all that liquor, gunpowder, & drunken sailors, the game warden would have confiscated the whole kit & caboodle. :what:

Fortunately, the game wardens I know are avid shooters & heavy drinkers...:evil: :evil: :evil:

March 4, 2003, 11:17 AM
I believe Ole Ironsides got her appellation in the War of 1812. Remember, the constitution authorized letters of marque and reprisal. Maybe it was involved in legalized piracy? :confused:

George Hill
March 4, 2003, 11:39 AM
Makes you wonder if we were doing that to them... what were they doing to us at the same time? How many of our ships got raided by Brittish pirates?

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