The Captain's Clerk
A Database of Naval History. Contains a little
of everything about the History of the Navy.
The Captain Speaks
In these articles, a commanding officer of USS
Constitution ("Old Ironsides") writes
about some of the important moments in her
history and about life aboard the famous
frigate. These are pamphlets
that may be printed out for your use.
Basic Statistical information about the
of the USS Constitution
Basic information about each who
commanded the ship.
The Ship's Calendar
This shows the history for each month
of the year by day for all
that this ship has been in existence!
The Ship's Logs
and "Quotes" from the Ship's Logs in the National Archives
It was customary, in the early Navy, to require
all midshipmen to maintain journals
as a way
for them to learn the proper way to keep a ship's log. Most
midshipmen responded merely by
copying the pages from the log of the ship to
which they were assigned, but some went beyond
that and the result is a
unique source of information not found in any official documentation.
Included here is material from more than two dozen such works, including
some by more
senior officers and by enlisted personnel.
In her more
than eight decades of regular service, Constitution
voyaged around the
world, calling at many ports.
Some, she visited often; others, only once.
Newspapers and Magazines
From the early years starting in 1794 and moving forward.
Also included is the Elliott Court-Martial of 1839-1840.
as used here, refers to a group of documents concerning the ship that were
written weeks, months, years - even decades - after the events they record.
As a result, less
than total recall comes into play and not everything can
be taken as true. Nonetheless, these
efforts offer unique, personal
recollections by persons directly involved in the events recorded,
add at last "texture" to our knowledge of these matters. "Notes" and
have been employed both to save research time and to reduce
Constitution is an offspring of the Congress.
She was created and manned by that body,
then maintained, sustained, and
directed by legislation. Collected and transcribed here are
the laws that
applied during her days of front-line service - until 1855.
Beginning with Commissioner of Revenue Tench
Coxe in 1794, record were kept what materials
and equipage was purchased for
the ship, and in what quantities and their cost. These records
often are the
sole sources of information on the construction and outfitting of the ship
moment in her career. For a selection of some of the earliest such
records may be found in this section.
Constitution ~ A Visual Record
For the first century of her service, a multitude of
artist of varying skill sought to portray
Constitution in historical
context. Some sought historical accuracy, others sought an
many were thrilled with her story and did their best regardless of talent.
Beginning in the 1850s, the camera began taking a more critical eye and it
is possible to
view the ship in ever greater detail. Present here is a
collection of images of the ship,
together with critical comments, as
Captains In Court
legal action in the Navy always has been the general court-martial. In
a court is preceded by a court of inquiry that determines if
an alleged offense is, in fact, present
and prosecutable. In her long
history, "Old Ironsides" has had two captains who have been
involved in the
process, one who was the subject of a court of inquiry and another was
court-martialled. Detailed records of the cases is presented here.
Archives - Microfilm Series
The National Archives in
Washington, DC, has copied hundreds of thousands of its documents
microfilm and assembled them into useful categories. A number of these
related to the creation and operation of the U. S. Navy from its
earliest days. Many of these
have been researched and the material relating
to USS Constitution assembled here.
Particularly pertinent documents
are transcribed verbatim; routine administrative
correspondence has been
paraphrased to save space.
Records of more than 15,000
sailors who have served in or on "Old Ironsides," mainly before 1934,
are on file.
If you have a family member tradition says was on board
"Old Ironsides", and
you would like to
confirm it, send the individual's name and any other
information you have, like approximate time
of service, to the address
below, a check will be made, and you will be notified.
Please use this email address for request of
The Lucky Bag
Time and again, professional and vocational
historians, artists, model makers, and others, have
sought out information -- or have
argued -- about many items of what should be information
basic to an understanding of the
environment of the sailing navy: How many provisions were
carried for a six-month cruise?
What did an ammunition load out consist of? What were the
dimensions of a rammer? And on
and on and on. There follows here a "lucky bag," a randomly
compilation, of such information gleaned from more than twenty years of poring
contemporary documentation and recording same in The Captain's Clerk. Much of it is
derived from materials relating to USS Constitution. It is a "working document,"
and by no means complete.
POEMS AND SONGS
Throughout her career, Constitution
has been the subject of poems and songs. Some political,
some dignified, most intensely
proud and patriotic. Some can still be
sung with confidence,
as with The Constitution
long shall be the glory of our Navy, to the tune of Yankee Doodle.
Presented here is a representative collection,
by no means complete, of such poetical efforts
beginning in the year of her
USS Constitution Sites worth visiting
These sites have even more information on this mighty fine ship!
Books, Videos, Music, Etc.
Just what the title says!
Graphics of the Ship
Pictures / Paintings of the ship!
Yes these are for sale as well if interested.
The official web site of the