A two-year overhaul in dry dock for USS Constitution ended on the night of 23/24 July when the waters of Boston Harbour flooded Dry Dock 1 at the Charlestown Navy Yard and the three-masted, 44-gun Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, was afloat again.
Launched in 1797 and named by the first US President, George Washington after the written Constitution of the United States of America, she was one of six frigates authorised by the US Naval Act of 1794 to form the new United States Navy.
Her famous nickname, “Old Ironsides” was earned in battle with the British Royal Navy. Constitution defeated HMS Guerriere and HMS Java in 1812 and HMS Cyane and HMS Levant in 1815. During the battle with Guerriere, a sailor saw a British shot bounce off Constitution’s hull and cried, “Huzza! Her sides are made of iron!”