SOME DATA RE
THE CONSTITUTION AND THE GUERRIERE
On this page, I presented 'a la sliderpuzzle', a fine 1845 painting by American artist Thomas Chambers. I prefer not to overload such puzzle pages since downloading large pages is surely difficult unless you enjoy a high speed internet connection. Hence this page of data, supplementary to that provided already, on the general subject of the USS Constitution and the Guerriere.
First the image that I used for the puzzle. The complete image is available on Carol Gerten's wonderful site (CGFA) here (Denmark) or on one of the many mirror sites around the world.
I am always glad to find data or images that relate to a featured page or subject. So I was delighted to find on e-Bay an 1858 engraving (edited image below) of a work attributed to Alonzo Chappel. The e-Bay page was long gone years ago - it was by "lineart (4272) of Downers Grove, Illinois, but there would seem to be no e-Bay 'lineart' store to which I can direct you, much as I would like to. The words below the image were provided by 'lineart' to describe the USS Constitution & the famous battle. And, should you be interested, the engraving sold on e-Bay for U.S. $39.90 on Feb. 4, 2002.
Built in Boston to defend the young American nation, the USS Constitution is nearly as old as the document for which George Washington and Congress named her. Both the document and the ship have proven to be resilient symbols of America's strength, courage, and liberty. Made from more than 1,500 trees, with timbers felled from Maine to Georgia and armed with cannons cast in Rhode Island and copper fastenings provided by Paul Revere, the vessel is truly a national ship. Launched in Boston on October 21, 1797, she first put to sea in 1798. Having remained a part of the U.S. Navy since that day, Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Her first mission, during the late 1790's, was to guard American commerce in the Caribbean against French depredations. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson sent her to the Mediterranean to protect American ships and seamen from attack by the Barbary pirates. With Captain Edward Preble in command, Constitution and other ships of the squadron bombarded Tripoli. Thanks to such determination, a treaty of peace was signed in June 1805 between the United States and Tripoli aboard Constitution. After returning to the United States, Constitution was named flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron. In 1810, her new captain, Isaac Hull, took her to sea.
On August 19, Southeast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a sail was sighted. Constitution made for her with all sails set. It proved to be HMS Guerriere, the British 38-gun frigate. When Constitution was still far astern, the British begin firing. Constitution bore down upon the enemy in silence. Impatiently the men stood at their quarters, the gunners awaiting the order to fire. Not until the ships were fairly abreast did Captain Hull give the word, 'Now, boys, pour it into them!' A whole broadside struck Guerriere, and then another. In 20 minutes her mizzenmast went over. Constitution passed ahead and sent a raking broadside crashing down the entire length of the enemy's decks, which cut away much of the rigging. Guerriere's bowsprit fouled in the rigging of Constitution and both sides tried to board, but the sea was too heavy. Guerriere fired point blank into the cabin of Constitution and set it on flame, but the flames were quickly extinguished. As the ships separated Guerriere's fore and main mast went by the board and she was left a helpless hulk. Captain Dacres struck his flag in surrender. Guerriere was in such a crippled condition that the Americans had to transfer the prisoners and burn her. The British lost 78 killed-and wounded while the Americans lost only 14 in this battle which lasted 35 minutes, one of the shortest in history. The story is told that shots from Guerriere made no impression upon the outside planking of Constitution, but fell into the sea, whereupon one of the British sailors shouted, "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!' Thus Constitution earned the renowned title of "Old Ironsides." It was a dramatic victory for America and for Constitution. In half an hour, the United States 'rose to the rank of a first-class power' and the country was fired with fresh confidence and courage. More importantly the union was greatly strengthened.
A change of subject but still about ancient ships. I'll put this item here until I create a new page on the general subject of early naval engagements. Next is an image of an etching by Jacques Callot (1592-1635), a truly great etcher/engraver of 17th century Europe. His life was brief, alas, but in those few years he produced an amazing body of about 1,600 works. This particular image is of a 1602 sea battle between de' Medici family naval forces and the Turks, etched possibly in 1617 & part of a series of 15 engravings & 1 etching from 'The Life of Ferdinand I de' Medici' or 'The Medici Battles'. This scan is, I know, a poor imitation of the original which is full of exquisite detail. But I hope it of sufficient clarity to interest you & maybe inspire you to learn more. A print would seem to be in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. but I do not know if it is on display. The artist was born in Nancy, in the Duchy of Lorraine, but spent many years in what is now Italy, mainly in Florence. He died, at Nancy also, on Mar. 25, 1635, of what is believed to have been a perforated ulcer. But no less an authority than l'Académie de Nancy-Metz, talks of cancer & seems to indicate the artist may not have been born in 1592. 1593 perhaps? I have inset into the image at upper left for your interest, a small image of the artist. Another version is here.
Some day I would like to show you, in good detail, other of Jacques Callot's great masterpieces & particularly his brilliant works The Siege of La Rochelle (La Rochelle is located on the west coast of France, on the Bay of Biscay. The siege was in 1627/8.) &, lower on the page you used to come to, The Siege of Breda. (Breda, a key fortress in what is now Holland, is located between Brussels & Amsterdam. The siege was in 1624/5.) Or The Miseries of War (The Thirty Years War). Now you might think, from these brief words, that the artist specialized in war scenes. It would seem that he really didn't. His images cover a quite amazing range of subjects & his work is a most authoritative source for depictions of life in the early 17th century. For further information, you could start here. And take a look at the The Fair at Impruneta, 1620, (just south of Florence) to get some idea, in a small image, of the extraordinary detail in his work. The original would seem to be approximately 16" high & 27" wide.
And finally, totally unrelated, is a lovely Monaco naval battle postage stamp which I hope will please you!