Christopher Bertha Dominique Craft Biography & Facts
USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is a three-masted wooden-hulled heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She is the world's oldest ship still afloat. She was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. The name "Constitution" was among ten names submitted to President George Washington by Secretary of War Timothy Pickering in March of 1795 for the frigates that were to be constructed. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so Constitution and her sister ships were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. She was built at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts. Her first duties were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.
Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five smaller British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane, and Levant. The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname "Old Ironsides" and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping. She continued to serve as flagship in the Mediterranean and African squadrons, and she circled the world in the 1840s. During the American Civil War, she served as a training ship for the United States Naval Academy. She carried American artwork and industrial displays to the Paris Exposition of 1878.
Constitution was retired from active service in 1881 and served as a receiving ship until being designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1934, she completed a three-year, 90-port tour of the nation. She sailed under her own power for her 200th birthday in 1997, and again in August 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerriere.
Constitution's stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy's role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History & Heritage Command. As she is a fully commissioned Navy ship, her crew of 75 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours. The officers and crew are all active-duty Navy personnel, and the assignment is considered to be special duty. She is usually berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard at one end of Boston's Freedom Trail.
In 1785, Barbary pirates, most notably from Algiers, began to seize American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1793 alone, 11 American ships were captured and their crews and stores held for ransom. To combat this problem, proposals were made for warships to protect American shipping, resulting in the Naval Act of 1794. The act provided funds to construct six frigates, but it included a clause that the construction of the ships would be halted if peace terms were agreed to with Algiers.Joshua Humphreys' design was unusual for the time, being deep, long on keel, narrow of beam (width), and mounting very heavy guns. The design called for diagonal
riders intended to restrict hogging and sagging while giving the ships extremely heavy planking. This design gave the hull a greater strength than a more lightly built frigate. It was based on Humphrey's realization that the fledgling United States could not match the European states in the size of their navies, so they were designed to overpower any other frigate while escaping from a ship of the line.Her keel was laid down on 1 November 1794 at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Captain Samuel Nicholson, master shipwright Colonel George Claghorn and Foreman Prince Athearn of the Martha's Vineyard Athearns. Constitution's hull was built 21 inches (530 mm) thick and her length between perpendiculars was 175 ft (53 m), with a 204 ft (62 m) length overall and a width of 43 ft 6 in (13.26 m). In total, 60 acres (24 ha) of trees were needed for her construction. Primary materials consisted of pine and oak, including southern live oak which was cut from Gascoigne Bluff and milled near St. Simons Island, Georgia.A peace accord was announced between the United States and Algiers in March 1796, and construction was halted in accordance with the Naval Act of 1794. After some debate and prompting by President Washington, Congress agreed to continue funding the construction of the three ships nearest to completion: United States, Constellation, and Constitution. Constitution's launching ceremony on 20 September 1797 was attended by President John Adams and Massachusetts Governor Increase Sumner. Upon launch, she slid down the ways only 27 feet (8.2 m) before stopping; her weight had caused the ways to settle into the ground, preventing further movement. An attempt two days later resulted in only 31 feet (9.4 m) of additional travel before the ship again stopped. After a month of rebuilding the ways, Constitution finally slipped into Boston Harbor on 21 October 1797, with Captain James Sever breaking a bottle of Madeira wine on her bowsprit.
Constitution was rated as a 44-gun frigate, but she often carried more than 50 guns at a time. Ships of this era had no permanent battery of guns such as those of modern Navy ships. The guns and cannons were designed to be completely portable and often were exchanged between ships as situations warranted. Each commanding officer outfitted armaments to his liking, taking into consideration factors such as the overall weight of stores, complement of personnel aboard, and planned routes to be sailed. Consequently, the armaments on ships changed often during their careers, and records of the changes were not generally kept.During the War of 1812, Constitution's battery of guns typically consisted of 30 long 24-pounder (11 kg) cannons, with 15 on each side of the gun deck. Twenty-two more guns were deployed on the spar deck, 11 per side, each a short 32-pounder (15 kg) carronade. Four chase guns were also positioned, two each at the stern and bow.All of the guns aboard Constitution have been replicas since her 1927–1931 restoration. Most were cast in 1930, but two carronades on the spar deck were cast in 1983. A modern 40 mm (1.6 in) saluting gun was hidden inside the forward long gun on each side during her 1973–1976 restoration in order to restore the capability of firing ceremonial salutes.
President John Adams ordered all Navy ships to sea in late May 1798 to patrol for armed French ships and to free any American ship captured by them. Constitution was still not ready to sail and eventually had to borrow sixteen 18-pound (8.2 kg) cannons from Castle Island before finally being ready. She put to sea .... Discover the Christopher Bertha Dominique Craft popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Christopher Bertha Dominique Craft books.