Boston and the War of 1812June 7, 2011
The War of 1812 did not play out in Boston the way it did in Baltimore. Boston was never directly bombarded due to Fort Independence, which guarded Boston from marine invasion, and possibly the fact Boston was not building a type of vessel that was causing the British fits like the Baltimore Schooner did that caused the British to be interested in getting past Fort McHenry so as to burn the Fell’s Point shipyards building the fast “sharp built” Baltimore Schooners. But the waters off of Boston did see a number of American vessels captured by the British Navy during American efforts to conduct trading by water near Boston.
Boston is the home of “Old IRONSIDES”, the American Navy’s longest surviving warship, the USS CONSTITUTION. During the War of 1812 with England, OLD IRONSIDES engaged the Royal Navy on four separate occasions and won all of them. While none of these engagements had any pivotal impact on the course of the 1812 War, they did have a significant impact on the self esteem of Americans at an uncertain time during our early years as a nation, as well as earning the grudging respect of both the British Empire and the rest of the world for American boldness, seamanship and inspirational maritime naval prowess. USS CONSTITUTION is reputed to have gotten her nickname of OLD IRONSIDES due to sailors observing a cannon shot “bouncing” off of USS CONSTITUTIONS hull during the vessel’s first naval engagement, which took place off of Nova Scotia against the HMS GUERRIERE.
PRIDE II is moored in Boston at Rowes Wharf. Over the years Rowes Wharf has been very generous permitting PRIDE II to dock as a guest through the auspices of Sail Boston, a not-for-profit organization that concentrates on providing welcome of sail training vessels on behalf of Boston. On this arrival yesterday the Colombian sail training vessel GLORIA was leaving just as PRIDE II arrived to take her place. PRIDE II’s stop in Boston on the inbound voyage to the Great Lakes was primarily for the purposes of exchanging Guest Crew between transits.
The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) took advantage of PRIDE II’s stop in Boston by hosting a sailing reception of their commercial maritime partners in the Boston area. There was not a breath of wind so PRIDE II was motored around the edge of Boston harbor. Just before the end a cannon salute was made toward Faneuil Hall.
Today the crew are completing some “get ocean ready” details for the long trek around Eastern Canada on the way to Rochester in Lake Ontario. By 1400 hours…all crew could be given the rest of the day off. With only two nights in port it is very hard to both keep PRIDE II functional and provide the crew with time off. But to tell the full truth…the crew are very anxious to make this voyage. So, even a little time is received very well.
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II