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The Yankee Tar

Anweisungen des Secretary of War James McHenry an Kapitän Samuel Nicholson zur Rekrutierung von Mannschaften für die Fregatte Constitution. 

"War Department, 5th May 1798. 

Capt. Nicholson Boston.

SIR, I have it in command from the President, to direct you to repair on board the Ship Constitution laying at Boston, and to lose no Time in completing, equipping and manning her for Sea. -

The Lieutenant of Marines will immediately proceed to inlist, agreeably to the inclosed Instructions, and the Act intitled an "Act providing a Naval Armament" passed the first of July 1797. -

You will forthwith cause such of the Sea Officers, as may appear best calculated for the Business, to open houses of Rendezvous in proper Places, and to exert Themselves to engage One hundred and fifty able Seamen, and One hundred and Three Midshipmen and ordinary Seamen, at the following Terms of Service and Rates of Wages. The Seamen to engage for twelve Months unless sooner discharged. The Pay of the Able Seamen to be seventeen dollars per Month the ordinary Seamen Ten Dollars. - You will instruct the Officers at each Rendezvous, to engage none other than healthy robust and well organized Men, and to reject those who may be scorbutic or consumptively affected. You will direct the Surgeon or a Mate to attend at these Places to examine each Sailor and Marine, and to certify to the recruiting Officer, that they are well organized, healthy and robust, and free from scorbutic and consumptive Affections, before he engages them or pays them any Money. If Money is advanced or paid to any without such a Certificate, it will be at the risk of the Officer paying it. -

The Officer of each Rendezvous shall make out on every Saturday a Return of the Number of Seamen recruited within the Week, stating therein the Number delivered over to the Ship, and transmit the same to the Captain, and a Duplicate to be forwarded to the Secy for the Department of War. - You will also transmit to the Secy of the Department of War a weekly Return exhibiting the Number of Marines, able and ordinary Seamen on board the Ship, and the Incidents that have taken place respecting Them or any of Them; as also the Progress that has been made in preparing her for Sea. -

The commanding officer at each Rendezvous, on the desetion of a Seaman or Marine, besides the usual Exertions and Means to be employed on such occasions to recover and apprehend them, will transmit as soon as possible a Description of Them to the Secretary of War. - With respect to the Pay of the Marines and Seamen. The Purser, 'till order'd otherwise, will act as Pay-Master to the officers and Crew, and will receive from time to time Money for that Purpose. Marines may be advanced Two Dollars, out of their fust Month's Pay - and Seamen Two Month's Pay, if they cannot be obtained without such Advance. - The recruitg Officers will be held accountable for all Monies paid in their hands for the recruiting service - for the Expenditure of which, roper vouchers must be produced at the Accountant's Office. The names of the Marines and Seamen are to be entered alphabetically in the Muster and Pay Rolls, and the Men to be mustered while in Port by a qualified Person, whose Certificate as well as your's is to be attached to the Muster Roll. -

It is the President's express orders, that you employ the most vigorous Exertions, to accomplish these several Objects and to put your Ship, as speedily as possible, in a Situation to sail at the shortest

Notice. - Should any Articles for this Purpose, be yet wanting, you will specify them without delay, in order to their being procured. -

 

Captain Samuel Nicholsons Werbeanzeige für die Fregatte  Constitution im "Columbian Centinel", 19. Mai 1798. 

FRIGATE CONSTITUTION
To  all able-bodied and patriotic  Seamen, who  are  willing  to  serve their Country, and Support its Cause:

The  President  of  the  United  States, having  ordered the Captain and  Commander  of  the good  Frigate  Constitution, of  44  guns, now iding in the harbor of  Boston,  to employ the most vigorous exertions to put said ship, as speedily as possible, in a situation to sail at the shortest command. 


Notice is  hereby  given,  That  a  HOUSE  OF  RENDEZVOUS  is opened at the sign of  the Federal Eagle, kept by  Mrs. BROADERS, n Fore-street; - where ONE HUNDRED and FIFTY able Seamen,  and NINETY-FIVE  ordinary Seamen, will have an opportunity of entering into the service of  their country for One Year, unless sooner discharged by the President of  the United States. -

To all able bodied Seamen, the sum of  SEVENTEEN  DOLLARS; and  to  all  ORDINARY SEAMEN the sum of  TEN DOLLARS per month, will be given; and two months advance will be paid by the Recruiting Officer, if necessary. None will  be allowed to enter this honorable service, but such as are well  organized, healthy  and  robust;  and  free  from  scorbutic  and consumptive affections.

A glorious opportunity now presents to the brave and hardy Seamen of  New-England, to enter the service of  their country-to  avenge  its wrongs- and  to protect its rights on the ocean.  Those brave Lads, are  now  invited  to  repair  to  the  FLAGG  of  the  Constitution now flying at the above rendezvous; where they shall be kindly received, handsomely entertained, and may enter into immediate pay.

SAMUEL NICHOLSON,
Commander, United States Frigate Constitution.


At the above rendezvous Lt. Clark of  the Marines, will enlist three Sargeants, three Corporals, one Armourer, one Drummer, one Fifer, and fifty privates  to compose a  company for  the Ship Constitution.  None can be inlisted who are not five feet, six inches high.
Boston, Massachusetts, May 12th

 

Bericht des Kapitäns Isaac Hull an den Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton, Washington, über das Gefecht der Constitution gegen die britische Fregatte Guerriere am 19. August 1812.  

 

"United States' frigate Constitution, off Boston Light, August 30, 1812

Sir - I have the honor to inform you that on the 19th inst. at 2 P.M. being in lat, 1,1, nd long 55,8, with the Constitution under my command, a sail was discovered from the mast-head, bearing E. by S. or E.S. E. but at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was instantly made in chase, and soon we found we came up with her. At 3 P.M. could plainly see that she was a ship on the starboard tack under easy ssail, close on a wind - at half past 3 P.M.  made her out to be a frigate - continued the chase until we were within about 3 miles, when I ordered the light sails taken in, the courses hauled up and the ship cleared for action. -- At this time the chase had backed her maintop sail, waiting for us to come down. As soon as the Constitution was ready for action, I bore down with an intention to bring him to close action immediately; but on our coming within gun-shot she gave us a broad side and filled away, and wore, giving us a broadside on the other tack, but without effect; her shot falling short. She continued wearing and manoeuvring for about three quarters of an hour, to get a raking position -  but finding she could not, she bore up and run under topsails and jib, with the wind on the quarter. Immediately made sail to bring the ship up with her, and five minutes before six, P. M., being along side within half pistol shot, we commenced a heavy fire from all our guns, doubly shotted with round and grape, and so well directed were they, and so warmly kept up, that in 15 minutes his mizen-mast went by the board, and his main-yard in the slings, and the hull, rigging, and sails very much torn to pieces. The fire was kept up with equal warmth for 15 minutes longer, when his mainmast and foremast went, taking with them every spar, excepting the bowsprit; on seeing this we ceased firing, so that in 30 minutes after we got fairly along side the enemy she surrendered, and had not a spar standing, and her hull below and above water so shattered, that a few more broadsides must have carried her down.

After informing you that so fine a ship as the Guerriere, commanded by an able and experienced officer, had been totally dismasted,  and otherwise cut to pieces, so as to make her not worth towing into port, in the short space of 30 minutes, you can have no doubt of the gallantry and good conduct of the officers and ship's company I have the honor to command. It only remains, therefore, for me to assure you, that they all fought with great bravery ; and it gives me great pleasure to say, that from the smallest boy in the ship to the oldest seaman, not a look of fear was seen. They all went into action, giving three cheers, and requesting to be laid close along side of the enemy. Enclosed I have the honor to send you a list of the killed and wounded on board the Constitution, and a report of the damages she has sustained ; also, a list of the killed and wounded on board the enemy, with his quarter bill, etc.

I have the honor to be,
with very great respect, Sir, your obedient servant,

ISAAC HULL."

(The Weekly Register, No 2 or Vol III., Baltimore, Saturday, September 12th, 1812, S. 28 f. )

 

Brief des ehemaligen Kapitäns der Guerriere,  James R. Dacres, an Vizeadmiral Herbert Sawyer, RN über das verlorene Gefecht gegen die Constitution. 

 

"Boston 7th September 1812

Sir, I am sorry to inform you of the Capture of
His Majesty's late Ship Guerriere by the American Frigate Constitution after a severe action on the 19th of August in Latitude 40.20 N and Longitude 55.00 West At 2 PM being by the Wind on the starboard Tack, we saw a Sail on our Weather Beam, bearing down on us. At 3 made her out to be a Man of War, beat to Quarters and prepar'd for Action. At 4, She closing fast wore to prevent her raking us. At 4.10 hoisted our Colours and fir'd several shot at her. At 4.20 She hoisted her Colours and return'd our fire. Wore several times, to avoid being raked, Exchanging broadsides. At 5 She clos'd on our Starboard Beam, both keeping up a heavy fire and steering free, his intention being evidently to cross our bow. At 5.20, our Mizen Mast went over the starboard quarter and brought the Ship up in the Wind. The Enemy then plac'd himself on our larboard Bow, raking us, a few only of our bow Guns bearing and his Grape and Riflemen sweeping our Deck. At 5.40 the Ship not answering her helm, he attempted to lay up on board at this time. Mr [Samuel] Grant who commanded the Forecastle was carried below badly wounded. I immediately order'd the Marines and Boarders from the Main Deck; the Master was at this time shot thro the knee, and I receiv'd a severe wound in the back. Lieutenant [Bartholomew] Kent was leading on the Boarders, when the Ship coming too, we brought some of our bow guns to bear on her and had got clear of our opponent when at 6.20 our Fore and Main Masts went over the side, leaving the Ship a perfect unmanageable Wreck. The Enemy shooting ahead, I was in hopes to clear the Wreck and get the Ship under Command to renew the Action but just as we had clear'd the Wreck our Spritsail yard went and the Enemy having rove new Braces &c, wore round within Pistol Shot to rake us, The Ship laying in the trough of the Sea and rolling her Main Deck Guns under Water and all attempts to get her before the Wind being fruitless, when calling my few remaining officers together, they were all of opinion that any further resistance would be a needless waste of lives, I order'd, though reluctantly, the Colours to be struck. The loss of the Ship is to be ascribed to the early fall of the Mizen Mast which enabled our opponent to choose his position. I am sorry to say we suffered severely in killed and wounded and mostly whilst she lay on our Bow from her Grape and Musketry, in all 15 kill'd and 63 wounded, many of them severely; none of the wounded Officers quitted the Deck till the firing ceas'd. The Frigate prov'd to be the United States Ship Constitution, of thirty 24 Pounders on her Main Deck and twenty four 32 Pounders and two 18 Pounders on her Upper Deck and 476 Men-her loss in comparison with ours was triffling, about twenty, the first Lieutenant of Marines and eight killed and first Lieutenant and Master of the Ship and eleven Men wounded, her lower Masts badly wounded; and stern much shattered and very much cut up about the Rigging. The Guerriere was so cut up, that all attempts to get her in would have been useless. As soon as the wounded were got out of her, they set her on fire, and I feel it my duty to state that the conduct of Captain Hull and his Officers to our Men has been that of a brave Enemy, the greatest care being taken to prevent our Men losing the smallest trifle, and the greatest attention being paid to the wounded who through the attention and skill of Mr [John] Irvine, Surgeon, I hope will do well. I hope though success has not crown'd our efforts, you will not think it presumptuous in me to say the greatest Credit is due to the Officers and Ship's Company for their exertions, particularly when exposed to the heavy raking fire of the Enemy. I feel particularly obliged for the exertions of Lieutenant Kent who though wounded early by a Splinter continued to assist me; in the second Lieutenant the Service has suffered a severe loss; Mr [Robert] Scott, the Master, though wounded was particularly attentive and used every exertion in clearing the Wreck as did the Warrant Officers. Lieutenant [William] Nicoll of the Royal Marines and his party supported the honorable Character of their Corps, and they suffer'd severely. I must particularly recommend Mr [William] Snow, Masters Mate, who commanded the foremost Main Deck guns in the absence of Lieutenant [John] Pullman and the whole after the fall of Lieutenant [Henry] Ready, to your protection, he having serv'd his time and received a severe contusion from a Splinter. I must point out Mr [John] Garby, Acting Purser, to your notice, who volunteer'd his Services on Deck, and commanded the after quarter Deck Guns and was particularly active as well as Mr [John W.] Bannister, Midshipman who has passed. I hope, in considering the circumstances, you will think the Ship entrusted to my charge was properly defended; the unfortunate loss of our Masts, the absence of the third lieutenant, second Lieutenant of Marines, three Midshipmen, and twenty four Men considerably weakened our Crew, and we only muster'd at Quarters 244 Men and 19 Boys, on coming into action; the Enemy had such an advantage from his Marines and Riflemen, when close and his superior sailing enabled him to choose his distance. I enclose herewith a List of killed and wounded on board the Guerriere and have the Honor to be Sir, Your most obedient &c.

Sign'd J R Dacres

Vice Admiral Sawyer

Commander in Chief &c &c &c Halifax"

 

(Naval War of 1812. A Documentary History.) 

 

 

Brief des von George Jones an einen Freund über seine Eindrücke von der Constitution.

 

 "March 1, 1826. U. S. Frigate Constitution,
DEAR GEORGE,


I belong now to the "crack ship," as she is called; which means among ships, what the nice, tidy, fashionable gentleman is among men. She has been on the station longest, and is in fine order: every part is under excellent regulation; her crew are thoroughly disciplined, and her officers well trained. She is not so formidable looking as the Brandywine, and is not finished in such costly style; but her accommodations are better, in every respect: she is a dry ship; her decks are higher, by several inches, and the officers' apartments much more comfortable. She is the old Constitution: she was built at Boston, in 1797, and has probably sailed more than any other ship ever did; for she has been almost constantly on service. She is to our navy, what the first efforts of artists sometimes are; efforts which they look back to, with surprise, but cannot reach again (...)" 1

(George Jones, Sketches of Naval Life, S. 91. Jones diente 1826 im Mittelmeer als Lehrer auf der Fregatte Brandywine. Kurzzeitig befand er sich auch auf der Constitution.)