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U.S.S. Constitution

"Old Ironsides"

Flag - 1812     Flag - Today First Navy Jack

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
       These see the works of the
Lord, and His wonders in the deep."
-- Psalms, 107

Fighting battles for our freedom in 1812

'Old Ironsides' Celebrating her 200th Birthday

Our Modern Navy today, with "Old Ironsides"

Why "Old Ironsides"?

In the War of 1812, in a fierce battle with the HMS Guerriere, a British sailor sees one of their cannon shot bounce off the hull of the Constitution and reportedly shouts,

 "Huzzah!"" Her sides are made of iron!"

-and so was born the nickname-  "OLD IRONSIDES" "Undefeated"

 H.M.S Guerriere

  U.S.S Constitution


Images-©Richard C. Moore ASMA

USS Constitution Engagement with HMS Guerriere

(Click here to view more paintings of "Old Ironsides")


Painting of U.S.S. Constitution from:

Artistic Marine & Ship Paintings of Richard Moore

(I have no Commercial or Professional Connection to this site)



By Oliver Wendell Holmes
September 16, 1830

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

(This Poem is what stirred the public's desire to save "Ironsides"

 from the scrap heap, and restore

 Her as a Historic Icon for future generations)

Follow these links to learn more about the USS Constitution:
Official Site

 Naval Academy

History Page


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