US Navy Forces Brit Warship to Strike Colors, Scuttle

| August 19, 2022

“Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!”

On this day, 19 August 1812, a legend was born. USS Constitution, under the command of Captain Isaac Hull, sailed from Boston on 2 August, 1812 to the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. On the afternoon of 19 August, 1812 Hull and his crew sighted the British frigate HMS Guerriere, under the command of Captain James Richard Dacres.

As Guerriere closed to within a mile of Constitution, the British hoisted their colors and the two ships engaged in a fire fight. Constitution’s thick hull, composed of Georgia white and live oak, proved resilient to enemy cannonballs. During the engagement, an American sailor was heard exclaiming, “Huzza! Her sides are made of iron! See where the shot fell out!” After intense combat, the severely damaged Guerriere was forced to surrender.

The next morning, Hull made the difficult decision to scuttle Guerriere. Constitution sailed for Boston and arrived on 30 August. News of Constitution‘s victory quickly spread through town and throngs of cheering Bostonians greeted Hull and his crew. A militia company escorted Hull to a reception at the Exchange Coffee House and more dinners, presentations and awards followed in the ensuing weeks, months, and years. USS Constitution, for her impressive strength in battle, earned the nicknamed “Old Ironsides.”

Sir, when the love of peace degenerates into fear of war, it becomes of all passions the most despicable.” – Senator Giles of Virginia, to President Thomas Jefferson, before the War of 1812

Category: Bravo Zulu, Foreign Policy, Navy

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Tall as a Georgia Pine, Hard as a Georgia Oak, Sweet as a Georgia Peach (the fruit and the female). Y’all welcome!

May She sail for another 200 + years. And may the words of iron in the Constitution of these States United continue to be as hard as the sides of USS Constitution. A Salute to the Kid Squids that continue to serve and maintain this Warrior Vessel.





We know our very own KoB is very proud…

Thank You, AW1Ed, for sharing.

“One Of The Strongest, Most Famous Ships In U.S. History Was Built From Georgia Trees”

“Many of you already know, Georgia is brimming with unique American history. But here is a story you may not have heard before. It starts with a ship named the USS Constitution, also nicknamed Old Ironsides. This beaut was crafted back in 1794 and had an incredible history all over the world. The coolest part about this ship and the incredible stories it has known? It was built primarily of pine and oak trees, including huge southern live oaks which came from Gascoigne Bluff in Georgia.”

Ole Ironside. Southern Born And Bred.



“Gun Drill Aboard USS Constitution”

3 minute video.

“A brief look at simulated gun drill (the process of loading and firing the gun) performed by the crew of the USS Constitution.”

“In the age of sail, gunnery was fairly simple and victory often relied upon the speed and efficiency with which a crew could load and fire its long guns and carronades. The US Navy sailors serving on USS Constitution today still practice gun drill.”


Just can’t beat a Southern Gal.


Part 1

Bring Back the USS Constitution’s Marines | Proceedings – November 2021 Vol. 147/11/1,425 (


Marines on Board
Returning to the Constitution’s battle with Guerriere, the story is incomplete without mentioning Marine Lieutenant William S. Bush.
In 19th-century naval combat, Marines served as snipers, positioned on platforms high up on ship masts. These sharpshooters could eliminate critical enemy personnel, throwing their opponent’s communication and leadership into chaos. Marines also fought man-to-man, leading boarding parties, and it was in that action that Bush made the ultimate sacrifice. Bush’s junior officer, Marine Second Lieutenant John Contee, tells the story in a letter to Bush’s brother in September 1812:


Part 2

“In the heat of the action the Marines were called aft, led by the illustrious Bush, who, mounting the taffrail, sword in hand, and as he exclaimed “Shall I board her” received the fatal ball in his left cheek bone, which passed through to the back of his head, thus fell that Great and Good officer, who when living was beloved and now gone, is lamented by all. His loss is deeply regretted by his country and friends, but he died as he lived, with honor to both.”

Bush was the first Marine officer lost in combat at sea. He was awarded a Silver Medal by Congress, and the Constitution’s quarterdeck is named in his honor. Two U.S. Navy destroyers also would bear his name. Bush understood his duty, writing to a friend before reporting on board:  

“I am ordered to the Constitution . . . should an opportunity be afforded for boarding the enemy, I will be the first man upon his deck.”  


Part 3

‘Many more Marines shed their blood on the decks of the Constitution before her fighting career concluded. Her exemplary combat record would not have been possible without the bravery and sacrifice of her Marines. During the War of 1812, Old Ironsides defeated three more ships: HMS Java and, during a simultaneous engagement, both HMS Cyane and Levant.

Captain Charles Stewart employed impressive feats of seamanship to win the two-on-one encounter. Many accounts of the battle focus on these sailing tactics, but Stewart made a point in his after-action report to credit the “lively and well-directed fire” of his Marine marksmen in winning the battle with minimal lives lost—6 Americans compared to 19 British sailors.’


Part 4


The Constitution falls short when used to promote only the Navy, as her legacy is as one of history’s greatest examples of the power of the Navy–Marine Corps team. Throughout all the events, public outreach, and heritage training, the focus is on the Navy. Marine Corps heritage is an afterthought at best.

Some crew members have gone to great lengths and done considerable research to highlight the Constitution’s Marine Corps heritage. Still, a sailor can only truly represent the Navy. It takes a Marine to represent the Marine Corps.
And it takes both to represent the Navy and Marine Corps team.

Admiral David Dixon Porter reinforced this point in an 1863 letter to Commandant of the Marine Corps Colonel John Harris:

“A Ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons.”


jeff LPH 3 63-66

Read the same USNI article and it would be great if they put Marines onboard. Reading August issue now “focus on Coast Guard”


At a high tech facility in Indiana, hundreds of miles from the sea, the navy maintains “Constitution Grove“, a private 50,000-acre white oak forest dedicated to supplying timber to maintain the one remaining commissioned wooden sailing ship in the US Navy, the USS Constitution. T