The “Constitution” Escapes Certain Capture

The fabled USS Constitution is still the oldest commissioned vessel in the US Navy.  Just the sight of her in Charlestown drydock is enough to quicken the pulse of any man entranced by feats of heroism and valor.  A relic from an era when warships circled each other at sea like snarling dogs, she tallied an extraordinary list of accomplishments during her active service life.  We will here relate the tale of her escape from almost certain capture by a squadron of British ships during the War of 1812.    

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Perry Captures The British Fleet At Lake Erie

A glance at a map of Lake Erie quickly reveals its strategic importance to the belligerents of the War of 1812.  The lake sits atop what was then the western boundary of the United States.  The British were in control of Canada; with the waters of Lake Erie at their disposal, they would be able to ferry armies into positions allowing them to launch attacks on western Pennsylvania and New York, and proceed from there to America’s east coast cities. 

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The Defense Of The “General Armstrong”

Samuel Chester Reid was born in 1783 and first went to sea at the age of eleven.  Various adventures, including time as a captured prisoner of the French at Basse-terre in the Carribbean, honed his resourceful instincts; and privateering seemed a logical choice of career.  Upon the outbreak of the War of 1812, Reid assumed command of the brig General Armstrong.  She sailed from New York with a crew of about ninety men, composed of the expected assortment of adventurers, rogues, and merchant sailors. 

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Thomas Boyle Attacks Four Opponents At Once, And Beats Them All

Privateers were used extensively by the United States during the War of 1812.  The young American Navy did not have the money, resources, or manpower to conduct naval operations along the entirety of its vast coastline; it found it expedient to commission private parties to carry out some of its objectives. 

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The Mysterious Disappearance Of Captain Blakely And The “Wasp”

The premise of John Carpenter’s 1980 horror film The Fog is an intriguing one.  In the 1800s, we are told, a Captain Blake and his crew were lured to their deaths by townspeople who had set up a false beacon near some coastal rocks.  The ship was dashed against the rocks at night; Blake and all hands were lost.  But many generations later, the spirits of the murdered captain and his crew would wreak a brutal vengeance from beyond their watery graves. 

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