Little Known Naval History

This is probably old, but I hadn’t seen it before. Actually, I don’t even know for sure its true, but it did come from a former Naval officer. Even it its not true, it made me smile, so I thought I would share it with my readers.

The USS 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 (fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her log, ‘On July 27, 1798, the USS 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 rum. 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 man o’ war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchantmen, salvaging only the rum aboard each. By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted.

Nevertheless, and though unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, NO rum, NO wine, NO whiskey and 38,600 gallons of stagnant water. Now these guys knew how to drink!


  1. “40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch” consumed by the crew? That must have been a lively place. With that much drinking, maybe Cpt. Jack Sparrow was their captain? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. probably the only to get sailors on the crew! and I think a lot of Captains were like Jack Sparrow ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speak Your Mind