USS Constitution Launched in Boston Harbor, 21 October 1797

Source: posts on Facebook, October 21, 2015

via National Archives Foundation

Today in 1797, the USS Constitution was launched in Boston Harbor. The ship was one of six original frigates commissioned by the Naval Act of 1794, and was named by President George Washington in dedication to our nation’s founding document.

The ship was initially constructed to ward off Barbary pirates who were terrorizing American merchant ships in the Mediterranean, but is most remembered for its part in naval victories over the British in the War of 1812. During a sea battle with the British ship HMS Guerriere, in which the USS Constitution triumphed, she earned her nickname “Old Ironsides.” A sailor aboard the Guerriere saw 18-pound British cannonballs bouncing right off the hull of the Constitution and exclaimed “Huzza, her sides are made of iron!” which propagated the false belief that she was constructed from iron – she was in fact made from oak.

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned in the U.S. Navy, and went through significant renovations in the 1830s, 1920s, and again in the 1990s. The ship currently resides at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, where it attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Image: USS Constitution, 8/18/1914

USS Constitution 18 August 1914


via Naval History & Heritage Command shared USS Constitution’s photo

HUZZAH!!! On this day in 1797, USS Constitution was launched from Edmund Hartt Shipyard in Boston! Join the crew in celebrating USS Constitution’s 218th birthday!!! There will be a firing of Old Ironsides’ saluting battery at her launch time of 12:30 p.m., followed by the ship opening to visitors from 2:30-5 p.m.

Image: provided by USS Constitution facebook page.

USS Constitution 1797 - 2015