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He saw action in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and sparred with the French navy and Barbary pirates. Not satisfied with forty-four, Hull crammed at least fifty guns on board in One month later, in August, , the Constitution encountered the British Guerriere in the Atlantic. The broadside weight of this heavy frigate gave the Constitution an advantage over her British counterpart, easily withstanding the British attack and answering with round after round of punishing cannon fire.

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Two more U. Navy could not break the blockade, but early in the war, these sea battles showed the world that Americans knew how to build ships, and how to sail them. In December, Congress voted to fund another ten of these heavy ocean-worthy frigates but none would be ready to fight for years. In a way, this did not matter. Both sides knew early on that naval dominance of the Great Lakes was the key to victory, since these inland waterways were crucial for supplying any army.

A race was on to build lightweight warships for the lakes as quickly as possible. This is where the decisive naval battles would take place. Navy started building a squadron of gunboats and two frigates in the remote town of Erie, on the shores of Lake Erie.

It was an odd choice, given that there were no access roads, no foundries, rope factories or shipwrights nearby.


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In fact, the timber resources in North America were one of the several reasons that Britain wished to hold on to the Canadian provinces. Timber on the British Isles was all but gone — any new ships for the Royal Navy would be fashioned out of New World wood. Not surprisingly, British shipwrights were also busy building ships on the Great Lakes, in Amherstburg and Kingston, Ontario.

The British captain charged with control of Lake Erie was Commander Robert Heriot Barclay, an experienced naval officer frustrated by the difficulties of maintaining an inland fleet. Supplies and reinforcements came only intermittently, and by his squadron was smaller in both number and size than the American squadron in Erie.

Presently the cap-tain received a shot in the liead. On board the Ranger poor Wallingford was killed, but Jones had not been touched. Securing his prisoners and his prize, on board of which he foundthe anchor which had been Note About Images. At the time of upload, the image license was automatically confirmed using the Flickr API.

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File information. Structured data. Captions English Add a one-line explanation of what this file represents. Summary [ edit ] Description The boys of and other naval heroes The Naval Apprentice System which was originally established by law in for enlisting boys not under thirteen nor over eighteen years of age, to serve until the age of twenty-one, was revived around Under this system the education and training of boys was greatly increased.

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Under it apprentices were taken on cruises similar to those of the midshipmen. Occasionally a promising youth on board ship was given an acting appointment but as a rule the man who entered service by way of the recruiting office remained one of "the people" the rest of his life. Regulations of directed that wind sails and ventilators were to be kept in continual operation. Regulations continued to emphasize the importance of the comfort and health of the men.

In the captain was directed to see that the ship was well ventilated, dry, at a comfortable temperature, and well supplied with light. Ships carried enough water when they sailed to last during a normal cruise. It was carried in wooden casks stowed in the hold. For one reason or another it sometimes became so stagnant it could not be used. In that case men were sent ashore at the first opportunity to secure a fresh supply.

Until then both officers and men were put on short supply. Normally they were provided with one half gallon per man on foreign voyages and more on the home station. Regulations of read "In rivers men are not to be permitted to drink the water alongside the ship, but casks are to be filled with the water if fresh, and the mud and other impurities allowed to settle before it is used.

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Heating in the old sailing ships, many of which were in use until the late s, was almost non-existent. The only fire allowed on board was the one in the galley on which the food was prepared. Wood or coal was used as fuel. The cabin and sick bay were heated by hot shot partially buried in sand in an iron bucket. The quarters of the enlisted men were unheated. Hanging or charcoal stoves were used to dry between decks but were used to dry between decks but were of no value in heating the ship.

With the advent of steam it became possible to heat our ships. Just when steam-heat was first used has not been found. Commanding Officers were enjoined to keep the ship dry by ventilation and by the use of stoves below decks. Bedding and clothes were aired as often as possible and men were not to be allowed to sleep in wet clothes nor in a wet bed. However, a glance at the list of clothing allowed each man shows how impossible it must have been to keep them dry.


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Clothing was to be suitable for the season and climate. Flannel shirts were encouraged for both summer and winter. The men were encouraged to wash themselves two or three times a week depending on the climate and to change their linen at least twice weekly. In the sailing ship bath tubs looking like giant sized cake tins were used on the forecastle and in the chains.

By bath and wash rooms were supplied with hot and cold water and were kept open evenings to accommodate the men. The captain was directed to pay special attention to the sick and wounded, to provide them with a comfortable place, with berths, cradles, cots, buckets with covers, and other conveniences. Those with contagious diseases were to be kept apart from the rest. Nurses were to be selected from the crew by the surgeon. When sick or wounded were removed from ship to ship or to a hospital they were to be accompanied by an officer and a surgeon or one of his mates. Hospital ships came into use around the Civil War period.

Rheumatism, consumption, syphilis, debility and scurvy were the most frequent causes of medical discharges. Yellow fever and small pox were prevalent at certain seasons and in certain climates. Many officers continued service on shipboard during the last stages of consumption because of the lack of any sort of retirement benefits. Larger ships, such as frigates, had a surgeon and two or three surgeon's mates aboard while the very small vessels had none. All were provided with medicine chests.

On ships without a doctor the sick and wounded were cared for by the captain or a member of the crew. When cruising in company with a ship with a surgeon help came from it. Thomas Harris, a surgeon in the navy from to and an advocate of better training naval surgeons wrote that many of them never had performed an operation before being called to operate in an emergency or during a battle.

Special foods were provided for the sick including jellies, juice of lemons, limes, and oranges. Hospital stores, medicines, etc.

Image from page 35 of "The boys of 1812 and other naval heroes" (1887)

Surgeons in the early navy and the executive officer later were required to inspect the cook's coppers, mess utensils, provisions and liquors. Sick call was held on the gun deck at 9 a.

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Slops for First Year per Man, Regulations of This list shows how difficult it was to keep the men clean and dry. There never were enough naval chaplains to supply all the seagoing ships consequently only the larger ones were provided with them. Many of these were not ordained ministers but did double duty as chaplain and clerk on board. Where there was no chaplain the captain officiated at funerals and divine services which were held twice a day with a sermon on Sunday, unless prevented by bad weather or other extraordinary circumstances.