Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Fight a War

The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) as a combat vessel during the War of 1812 carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (fresh water distillers). 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, and though unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whiskey 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 powder, No food, NO rum, NO wine, NO whiskey and 38,600 gallons of stagnant water.

Now those guys knew how to fight a war.

Now, for full disclosure, I found the above text on some board and have no proof whatsoever of its veracity. In all likelihood, it is grossly exaggerated or just plain made up.
But it does sound fun.

1 comment:

  1. While that is a great story, I'm pretty sure the only alcohol consumption the original author researched was that bottle of rum he formed while writing it. I'm a crewmember onboard Constitution, and I know for a fact those numbers are not true.

    Also, I dig your blog.