In the Yard: Commemoration of the 206th Anniversay of the HMS Guerriere Battle
August 19, 2018
In commemoration of the 206th Anniversary of USS Constitution’s legendary battle and victory against Great Britain’s Royal Navy frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, a special narrative of the battle will be given on the main hatch of USS Constitution in Charlestown Navy Yard at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 19.
Participating in the ceremony will be USS Constitution’s 75th Commanding Officer Cmdr. Nathaniel R. Shick, Constitution Museum’s Manager of Gallery Operations Gary Foreman, and other invited guests. The program will include readings from deck log entries surrounding the battle and gunnery and boarding pike drills every half hour from 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Following the narrative, at 2:00 p.m., Constitution will fire one round from her 24 – pound long gun port side saluting battery and a moment of silence will be observed for those whose lives were lost in the battle.
Constitution’s victory over Guerriere came approximately one month after Constitution was forced to flee from a squadron of five British ships, to which Guerriere was assigned. In an epic fifty-seven hours and fifteen-minute struggle, Constitution out-perform the squadron chasing her and safely escaped. Constitution distanced herself from the squadron when Captain Isaac Hull ordered his men to sail her through a squall into which the British chose not to pursue. After the chase ended on July 19, Hull sailed Constitution back to Boston. Upon arrival, Hull quickly had his crew restock and refit the ship and head back out to sea, fearing a British blockade on Boston should they delay. After harassing British shipping for several weeks, Constitution encountered HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada on Aug. 19 and engagement began.
Visitors to USS Constitution can relive one of Constitution’s most glorious victories and learn how her nickname “Old Ironsides” was earned on August 19, 1812, while visitors to USS Constitution Museum can immerse themselves in the day to day evolution of being a 1800’s Sailor. All guests to USS Constitution age 18 and older must show valid photo I.D. or passport in order to board the ship.