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February 18, 2010

Naval history

I have no idea whether this is true. I suspect it's not. But it makes a good story.

The U.S.S. Constitution -- Old Ironsides -- 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 (i.e., fresh water distillers).

Let it be noted that according to her ship's log, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston on July 27th, 1798 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 October 6th, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.

Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there November 12th. She was provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On November 18th, 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 January 26th, 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 whiskey 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 February 20th, 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whiskey, and 38,600 gallons of water.

Posted by joke du jour at February 18, 2010 06:03 PM

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