Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.
On 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 rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water.
|An unidentified Boatswain’s Mate contemplates the grog tub in the 1930s. USS Constitution Museum collection.|
the story. While we’ll probably never discover where this all started, we hope this post will work like a “best bower anchor” and keep it from sailing on and on and on.
The ship’s operational history may be traced in the ship’s logs and officers’
journals, including the Journal of Midshipman James Pity, 23 July 1798 to 11
May 1799, in “Logbooks and Journals of
the USS Constitution 1798-1844”
(M1030, Roll 16, NARA).
These numbers come from estimates made by CDR Tyrone Martin, based on comments
from Captain Thomas Tingey to the Secretary of the Navy in 1813, ratios in the
1809 American Artillerist’s Companion,
and an 1837 gunner’s notebook.