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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

U.S.S. Constitution

From far out in left field, one for Lestrud :


The U. S. S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers). However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum." Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping." Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rumThen she headed for the Azores , arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wineOn 18 November, she set sail for England . In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each. By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland . Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home. 
The U. S. S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rumno wineno whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water.
Obviously they were taking it "neat", which is a damned shame. A splash of water liberates the some of the subtle flavors. IMHO. (Now there is a statement that could generate a fistfight in any bar in Scotland.)
I just killed the last of The MacCallan 12 year single malt. Larry, you listening out there?

3 comments:

Margadant said...

Men with great appetites. On the average it looks to be that about 2.6 gal. of rum/wine/whiskey consumed per officer/grunt per day. I rounded down to account for spillage, what with rolling decks and all.

Another question occurs -- was this truly a military mission, or was it a device to segregate these remarkable lads from society for 207 days?

Anonymous said...

sailors don't notice rolling decks, and they don't spill whiskey.

mike (ironmike) white
usn 74-78

Mimbres Man said...

She's a badass!