M 0118

By Commodore George Henry Preble, USN (1875),



 Note:  Only those rolls covering periods when CONSTITUTION was in squadron service have been researched.


          "...A portion of the timber used in her [CONSTITUTION's] construction was taken from the woods of Allenstown, on the border of the Merrimac, fifty miles from the ship yard."  (P. 24.)


          “The duck for the sails of 'Constitution' was made by an incorporated company in Boston; they erected buildings on a large lot in Boylston street, at the corner of Tremont."  (P. 25.)


          "The first battery of the Constitution, and which she carried through the war of 1812, and long after, was of English make, and bore the monogram G.R."  (P. 25.)


          “At length, the 20th of September 1797 was the day announced for the launch of the 'Constitution.' commodore Nicholson who had the general superintendence of her construction left the ship yard to get his breakfast, leaving express orders not to hoist any flag over her until his return, intending to reserve the honor for himself.  Among the workmen upon her, was a shipwright and caulker, named Samuel Bentley, who assisted by a comrade named Harris, bent on and hoisted the Stars and Stripes during the Commodore's absence, and thus they were first floated over that now historic ship; when the Commodore returned, and saw his order disobeyed and his intention disappointed, we can imagine his wrath...  About six hundred people went over to Noddles Island, where they could obtain a fine view of the launch.  At high water, twenty minutes after eleven, the signal was given, but the ship did not start until screws and other machinery had been applied, and then she moved only about twenty seven feet.

          "...Her colors were hauled down, and the multitude dispersed..."  (P.26.)


          CONSTITUTION's repair costs at Boston in 1812 were $46,638.46.  (P. 85.)


          Feb 9, 1818: Ice pressed CONSTITUTION against the wharf carrying away a quarter gallery.  (P. 118.)


          Apr 21, 1820; Orders received to repair CONSTITUTION; work commenced "at once."  On 5 Nov, orders received to fit her out "with all dispatch," and on 25 Nov she was hove down and out, her shores to windward.  (P. 127.)


          Mar. 8, 1821: preparing the "propello marino."  CONSTITUTION dropped down abreast of Hancock Wharf on 10 Apr, and sailed on 13 May.  (P. 128.)


          In 1830, the BNC reported that CONSTITUTION could be repaired in 120 days at a cost, exclusive of stores, of $128,081.05.  (P. 181.)


          ”The docking of the Constitution [on 24 Jun 1833] was made a great occasion...  The Constitution was entirely dismantled and dismasted, and stripped of all her ornamental work previous to being docked, and presented in the dock a most vulnerable appearance, her bottom being encrusted with mussles [sic], many of which were gathered as relics.  She was rebuilt under the superintendence of Naval Constructor Josiah Barker, and emerged from the Dock, June 21st 1834 intirely [sic] a new ship, scarcely a timber of her old frame remaining in her.  Care was taken however to preserve her model and dimensions."  (Pp. 225‑6.)


          "The busts [of Hull, Bainbridge, and Stewart] were however completed, and are still a part of the stern ornaments."  (P. 244.)


          "April 28th [1834] according to the private diary of Noah Butts, the Statue of Jackson was placed on the bows of the Constitution."  (P. 244.)


          CONSTITUTION was in dock at Boston " at the beginning of the year" 1848 and remained in until May; sailed from that port on 9 Dec.  (P. 298.) 


The Captain's Clerk

1989, TGM