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of Hull and his good ship, and doggerel Guerrière was shot away, her main-vard verse in songs and sonnets, like the fol. was in slings, and her hull, spars, sails, lowing, abounded:
and rigging were torn to pieces. By a
skilful movement the Constitution now 6. Neath Hull's command, with a taught band. fell foul of her foe, her bowsprit running And naught beside to back her,
into the larboard quarter of her antag. Upon a day, as log-books say,
onist. The cabin of the Constitution was A fleet bore down to thwack her.
set on fire by the explosion of the for
ward guns of the Guerrière, but the flames “ A fleet, you know, is odds or so Against a single ship, sirs,
were soon extinguished. Both parties atSo 'cross the tide her legs she tried, tempted to board, while the roar of the And gave the rogues the slip, sirs." great guns was terrific. The sea was roll
ing heavily, and would not allow a safe On Aug. 12 Captain Hull sailed from passage from one vessel to the other. At Boston and cruised eastward in search of length the Constitution became disEritish vessels. He was anxious to find the entangled and shot ahead of the Guerrière, (iuerrière, thirty-eight guns, Capt. James when the main-mast of the latter, shatRichard Dacres. The British newspapers, tered into weakness, fell into the sea. The sneering at the American navy, had Guerrière, shivered and shorn, rolled like spoken of the Constitution as a "bundle a log in the trough of the sea, entirely of pine boards sailing under a bit of at the mercy of the billows. Hull sent striped bunting.” They had also declared his compliments to Captain Dacres, and tliat “a few broadsides from England's inquired whether he had struck his flag. wooden walls would drive the paltry Dacres, who was a “ jolly tar,” looking striped bunting from the ocean." Hull up and down and at the stumps of his was eager to pluck out the sting of these masts, coolly and dryly replied, “ Well, insults. He sailed as far as the Bay of I don't know; our mizzen-mast is gone; Fundy, and then cruised eastward of cur main-mast is gone; upon the whole, Nova Scotia, where he captured a num- you may say we have struck our flag." ber of British merchant vessels on their Too much bruised to be saved, the Guerway to the St. Lawrence. On the after- riere was set on fire and blown up after noon of Aug. 19 he fell in with the her people were removed. This exploit of Guerrière, in lat. 41° 40', long. 55° 48'. Hull made him the theme of many toasts, Some firing began at long range. Per- songs, and sonnets. One rhymester wrote ceiving a willingness on the part of his concerning the capture of the Guerrière : antagonist to have a fair yard-arm to
Isaac did so maul and rake her, yard-arm fight, Hull pressed sail to get
That the decks of Captain Dacre his vessel alongside the Guerrière. When
Were in such a woful pickle, the Guerrière began to pour shot into the As if Death, with scythe and sickle, Constitution, Lieutenant Morris, Hull's
With his sling, or with his shaft,
diad cut his harvest fore and aft. second in command, asked, “ Shall I open
Thus, in thirty minutes, ended fire?” Hull quietly replied, “Not yet.” Mischiefs that could not be mended: The question was repeated when the shots
Masts and yards and ship descended
All to Davy Jones's lockerbegan to tell on the Constitution, and
Such a ship, in such a pucker." Hull again answered, “Not yet.” When the vessels were very near each other, Hull, Hull had seven men killed and seven filled with intense excitement, bent him wounded. Dacres lost seventy men killed self twice to the deck and shouted, “Now, and wounded. The news of this victory boys, pour it into them!” The command was received with joy throughout the was instantly obeyed.
country. The people of Boston gave Hull The guns of the Constitution were and his officers a banquet, at which 600 double - shotted with round and grape, citizens sat down. The authorities of and their execution was terrible. The New York gave him the freedom of the vessels were within pistol - shot of each city in a gold box. Congress thanked other. Fifteen minutes after the con- him and awarded him a gold medal, and test began the mizzen - mast of the appropriated $50,000 to be distributed as prize-money among the officers and crew the finest vessels in the royal navy. They of the Constitution. The British public were then about 30 miles from the were amazed by the event. Their faith shore, southeast of San Salvador. About in the impregnability of the "wooden walls two o'clock in the afternoon, after runcf Old England" was shaken. Its bearing ning upon the same tack with the Conon the future of the war was incalculable. stitution, the Java bore down upon the The London Times regarded it as a serious latter with the intention of raking her. blow to the British supremacy of the seas. This calamity was avoided, and very soon " It is not merely that an English frigate a most furious battle at short range was has been taken," said that journal, “but begun. When it had raged about half that it has been taken by a new enemy- an hour the wheel of the Constitution an enemy unaccustomed to such triumphs, was shot away, and her antagonist, being and likely to be rendered insolent and con- the better sailer, had the advantage of fident by them.”
her for a time. After his decisive victory over the Bainbridge managed his crippled ship Guerrière, Captain Hull generously re- with so much skill that she was first in tired from the command of the Constitu- coming to the wind on the next tack, and tion to allow others to win honors with gave her antagonist a terrible raking fire. her. Capt. William Bainbridge was ap- Both now ran free, with the wind on their pointed his immediate successor, and was quarter, and at three o'clock the Java atplaced in command of a small squadron- tempted to close by running down the the Constitution, Essex, thirty-two guns, Constitution's quarter. She missed her and Hornet, eighteen. Bainbridge sailed aim, and lost her jib-boom and the head from Boston late in October, 1812, with of her bowsprit by shots from the Conthe Constitution and Hornet. The Essex stitution. In a few moments the latter was ordered to follow to designated ports, poured a heavy raking broadside into the and, if the flag-ship was not found at any stem of the Java. Another followed, of them, to go on an independent cruise. when the fore-mast of the Java went by After touching at these ports, Bainbridge the board, crushing in the forecastle was off Bahia or San Salvador, Brazil, and main-deck in its passage. At that
where the Hornet blockaded an English moment the Constitution shot ahead, sloop-of-war, and the Constitution con- keeping away to avoid being raked, and tinued down the coast. On Dec. 29 she fell finally, after maneuvring nearly an hour, in with the British frigate Jara, forty- she forereached her antagonist, wore, nine guns, Capt. Henry Lambert, one of passed her, and luffed up under her quar
ter. Then the two vessels lay broadside to broadside, engaged in deadly conflict yard-arm to yard-arm. Very soon the Java's mizzen-mast was shot away. The fire of the Java now ceased, and Bainbridge was under the impression that she had struck her colors. He had fought about two hours, and occupied an hour in repairing damages, when he saw an ensign fluttering over the Java. Bainbridge was preparing to renew the conflict, when the Java's colors were hauled down and she was surrendered. She was
GOLD BOX PRESENTED TO BAINBRIDGE BY THE CITY OF bearing as passenger to the East Indies
NEW YORK Lieutenant - General Hyslop (just appointed governor-general of Bombay) and When Bainbridge relinquished the comhis staff, and more than 100 English offi- mand of the Constitution, in 1813, she cers and men destined for service in the was thoroughly repaired and placed in East Indies. The Java was a wreck, and charge of Capt. Charles Stewart. She left the Constitution's sails were very much Boston Harbor, for a cruise, on Dec. 30, riddled. The commander of the Java 1813, and for seventeen days did not see a was mortally wounded. Her officers and sail. At the beginning of February, 1814, crew numbered about 446. Some of the she was on the coast of Surinam, and, above - described passengers assisted in on the 14th, captured the British war. the contest. How many of the British schooner Picton, sixteen guns, together were lost was never revealed. It was be- with a letter-of-marque which was under lieved their loss was nearly 100 killed her convoy. On her way homeward she and 200 wounded. The Constitution lost chased the British frigate La Pique, nine killed and twenty-five wounded. thirty-six guns, off Porto Rico, but Bainbridge, also, was wounded. After she escaped under cover of the night. every living being had been transferred Early on Sunday morning, April 3, when from the Java to the Constitution, the off Cape Ann, she fell in with two former was fired and blown up (Dec. heavy British frigates (the Junon and 31, 1812). The prisoners were paroled Lo Nymphe); and she was compelled at San Salvador. The news of the to seek safety in the harbor of Marblevictory created great joy in the United head. She was in great peril there States.
from her pursuers. These were kept at Bainbridge received honors of the most bày by a quickly gathered force of miliconspicuous kind—a banquet at Boston tia, infantry, and artillery, and she was (March 2, 1813); thanks of legislatures; soon afterwards safely anchored in Salem the freedom of the city of New York, in Harbor. Thence she went to Boston, a gold box, by its authorities; the same by the authorities of the city of Albany; an elegant service of silver-plate by the citizens of Philadelphia ; and the thanks of Congress, with a gold medal for himself and silver ones for his officers, besides $50,000 in money to Bainbridge and his companions-in-arms as compensation for their loss of prize-money. The conflict between the Constitution and the Java was the closing naval engagement of the first six months of the war. From this time the Constitution was ranked among the seamen as a “lucky ship," and she was
GOLD BOX PRESENTED TO BAINBRIDGE BY THE CITY OF called “Old Ironsides.”
where she remained until the close of the art now sought her consort, which had been year.
forced out of the fight by the crippled At the end of December (1814) the Con- condition of her running-gear. She was stitution, still under the command of ignorant of the fate of the Cyane. About Stewart, put to sea. Crossing the Atlan- an hour after the latter had surrendered, tic, she put into the Bay of Biscay, and she met the Constitution searching for
then cruised off the harbor of Lisbon. her. Each delivered a broadside, and, for Stewart sailed southward towards Cape a while, there was a brisk running fight, St. Vincent, and, on Feb. 20, 1815, he dis- the Constitution chasing, and her bow covered two strange sails, which, towards guns sending shot that ripped up the evening, flung out the British flag. Then planks of her antagonist. The latter Stewart displayed the American flag. By was soon compelled to surrender, and skilful management he obtained an ad- proved to be the Levant, eighteen guns, vantageous position, when he began an Captain Douglass. The Constitution was action with both of them; and, after a se- tlien equipped with fifty-two guns, and her vere fight of about fifteen minutes in the complement of men and boys was about moonlight, both vessels became silent, 470. The loss of the Constitution in and, as the cloud of smoke cleared away, this action was three killed and twelve Stewart perceived that the leading ship wounded; of the two captured vessels, of his assailants was under the lee-beam seventy-seven. The Constitution was so of his own vessel, while the stern- little damaged that three hours after the most was luffing up as with the inten- action she was again ready for conflict. tion of tacking and crossing the stem of That battle on a moonlit sea lasted only the Constitution. The latter delivered a forty-five minutes. broadside into the ship abreast of her, Placing Lieutenant Ballard in command and then, by skilful management of the of the Levant, and Lieutenant Hoffsails, backed swiftly astern, compelling man of the Cyane, Stewart proceeded the foe to fill again to avoid being raked. with his prizes to one of the Cape Verd For some time both vessels maneuvred Islands, where he arrived on March 10, admirably, pouring heavy shot into each 1815. The next day the Constitution other whenever opportunity offered, when, and her prizes were in imminent peril at a quarter before seven o'clock, the by the appearance of English vessels British struck her flag. She was the frig- of war coming portward in a thick ate Cyane, thirty-six guns, Captain Fal- fog. He knew they would have no recoln, manned by a crew of 180 men. Stew. spect for the neutrality of the port