Another Victory for Old Ironsides 

Another Victory for Old Ironsides 

US #951 was issued for the Constitution’s 150th anniversary.

On December 29, 1812, the USS Constitution scored another American victory at sea in the War of 1812.

Named for the document that established our nation’s laws, the USS Constitution was built in a Boston shipyard between 1794 and 1797.  Its massive 204-foot-long oak hull was composed of trees from Massachusetts, Maine, and Georgia.  The Constitution was launched on October 21, 1797.

US #951 – Classic First Day Cover

The ship fought in battles against the Barbary pirates in 1803-04 and emerged undamaged.  Shortly after the start of the War of 1812, the Constitution fought against the British warship Guerriere.  During the fighting, a sailor saw British shots bouncing off the side of the ship and exclaimed that it had “sides of iron.”  “Old Ironsides” became the ship’s popular name.

Later that year, the Constitution was sent to patrol the South Atlantic, where the British had considerable trade.  Commodore William Bainbridge’s mission was to torment the British and draw their stronger forces away from the US coast.

US #4703 was issued for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

On December 29, 1812, the Constitution, met the HMS Java, commanded by Henry Lambert near Brazil.  The Constitution had a superior crew and weaponry, but both ships suffered substantial damage.  However, they continued firing on each other and at one point becoming entangled.  The Java’s captain was killed in the fighting.

US #4703 – First Day Cover with cachet depicting the Constitution at battle with the Java.

After taking an hour off from the battle for repairs, the Constitution returned to the Java.  However, the British ship was in shambles, and its badly wounded crew surrendered.  Bainbridge saw that the Java was too damaged to keep as a prize and ordered it be burned.  However, he first salvaged its helm and installed it on the Constitution.

This battle marked the third time in as many months that a British warship was captured by the United States.  In response, the British Admiralty ordered its frigates not to engage the larger American ships one-on-one.

US #U609 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Envelope

The victory stunned the world and inspired national pride across America.  In Britain, the London Times opined, “It is not merely that an English frigate has been taken… but that it has been taken by a new enemy… unaccustomed to such triumphs… how important this triumph is in giving a tone and character to the war.  Never before in the history of the world did an English frigate strike to an American.”

You asked, and we listened…  FREE printable This Day in History album pages are now available!

Click here to download a PDF of today’s article.  

It’s two pages.  The first page has a border so you can print it on whatever paper you want.  The second page doesn’t have a border so you can print it on Mystic’s blank supplement pages.  

And click here if you need a binder, or other supplies to create your This Day in History album.  You’ll find handy mount grab bags, or you can get the mounts you need on each individual US stamp page.  

Let us know if you like these pages and want us to keep creating them.  

And remember – you can purchase any of the stamps, covers, or coins in these articles.  Just click on the pictures and add them to your cart.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
[Total: 26 Average: 4.8]

Share this article

0 responses to "Another Victory for Old Ironsides "

Leave a Comment

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!