THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Feb. 9-Feb. 15, 1814)

February 10, 2014 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

At Sea

The U.S.S. Constitution, a three-masted heavy frigate, has been prowling the Caribbean Sea since New Year’s Eve, looking to intercept British shipping and commerce.

USS Constitution underway (Photo by xxxxxxxxxxxx)

USS Constitution underway
(Photo by Hunter Stires via Wikipedia)

This week, “Old Ironsides,” as the American frigate is known, will take the HMS Pictou a 14-gun schooner on Valentine’s Day 1814, near Barbados.

The Pictou, is escorting the armed merchant the Lovely Ann from Bermuda to Suriname, when it is spotted by the Constitution under the command of Captain Charles Stewart. The American warship captured the Lovely Ann, taking her for a prize and then fired on Pictou.

The 54-gun Constitution stopped Pictou with a shot through her sails, capturing the smaller British vessel. Stewart decides to keep the Lovely Ann but orders the Pictou destroyed. The Pictou was one of five British warships captured or destroyed by the Constitution during the War of 1812. In addition to Pictou, they were HMS Guerriere, Java, Cyane and Levant.

On this Caribbean cruise, Stewart and Constitution captured five British merchant ships and Pictou before problems with the main mast force the captain to take Old Ironsides back to port.

Constitution, one of the six original frigates authorized by Congress in 1794, remains in service today – the oldest, still functioning warship in the world. The other frigates, that formed the backbone of the U.S. Navy were: President, United States, Constellation, Chesapeake and Congress.

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, SHAKO, Technology, Traditions. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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