Photograph of the wreckage of the USS MAINE, 1898
This telegram from the Key West Naval Station forwards word from Charles S. Sigsbee, Captain of the Maine about the destruction of his ship in Havana harbor on the evening of February 15, 1898, a pivotal event leading up to the Spanish-American War. Read More about the legacy of the USS Maine at Prologue…
The Java in a Sinking state, set fire to, & Blowing up. The Constitution at a distance… repairing her Rigging &c. in the Evening of 29th December, 1812.
Copy of aquatint by N. Pocock, engraved by R. & D. Havell after sketch by Lieutenant Buchanan, 1814.
200 years ago today, USS Constitution defeated the HMS Java after a 3 hour engagement, her second major victory of the war following the battle with HMS Guerriere in August earlier that year.
“On the eighth day of Archives an archivist brought to me:
Eight Navy officers
seven of Mrs. Hicks’s eight children,
six tiny thorn carvings,
five sisters from Alaska,
four boys hanging out at the Fletcher aircraft school,
three happy girls at a West Virginian celebration,
two San Francisco children painting,
and one astronaut in space.”
Image: Photograph of President Truman posing on the White House lawn with officers from eight U.S. Navy aircraft carriers that received Presidential Unit Citations for heroic service during World War II., 07/16/1946, ARC Identifier 199399
We hope you’re not spending Turkey Day by yourself in front of a radar screen, but let’s remember those who can’t take today off.
Arabian Sea. An air controlman AIRMAN eats his Thanksgiving dinner while keeping an eye on the radar scope in the helicopter direction center aboard the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3), 11/26/1987
An A-7E Corsair II aircraft is reflected in the mirrored visor of Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) John Leenhouts’ flight helmet as he takes a self-portrait while in the cockpit of his A-7E. Leenhouts is flying his Attack Squadron 46 (VA-46) aircraft off the coast of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 11/18/1987
“Five Sullivan Brothers - They Did Their Part”
The five Sullivan brothers (Albert, Francis, George, Joseph, and Madison) served together as shipmates aboard the cruiser USS Juneau after requesting special permission from the Secretary of the Navy. The Juneau was sunk on November 13, 1942, off the island of Guadalcanal by Japanese submarine I-26.
On 12 November 1942 three days of fighting began, in what came to be known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The battle began with Japanese air attacks on American ships which had just landed reinforcements, including units from the US Army’s Americal Division (learn more here). Over the course of the next three days, the battle would evolve into a monumental engagement between battleships, cruisers, and destroyers in the narrow confines of Iron Bottom Sound.
In this photo, USS President Jackson (AP 37) maneuvers while under Japanese air attack off Guadalcanal on 12 November. In the center background is smoke from an enemy plane that had just crashed into the after superstructure of USS San Francisco (CA 38), which is steaming away in the right center. National Archives image 80-G-32366.
On 8 November 1942 American forces landed at Casablanca during Operation Torch. French naval forces attacked U.S. Navy ships and 13 French ships were sunk without a U.S. loss. This photo shows the battleship USS Massachusetts (BB 59) maneuvering off Casablanca during the invasion. Note that Massachusetts’ main battery guns are trained out to port. National Archives image 80-G-K-2134 photographed from USS Mayrant (DD 402).
National Sandwich Day!
Sailor eating sandwich beneath propellers of torpedo being loaded aboard U.S. submarine at New London, Connecticut., 08/1943
Some people will do anything for a great sandwich - what lengths have you gone to in order to get that perfect sandwich (hopefully it didn’t involve standing under naval ordnance)?
Regarding the Capture of H.B.M. Frigate Macedonian by U.S. Frigate United States, 10/25/1812
…She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailers in the British service…
200 years ago today, the frigate USS United States, commanded by Commodore Stephen Decatur, captured the HMS Macedonian, after an hour and a half engagement.
(Reportedly Decatur and the captain of the Macedonian, John Carden, had met previously and bet a beaver hat to the victor if they ever met in battle. However, there is no mention of the hat in Decatur’s report.)
First launched 215 years ago October 21, 1797, the USS Constitution remains the oldest commissioned naval warship afloat. This sail plan was recently treated in the preservation lab, as highlighted during the Preservation 2012 conference.
Today we mark the 200th anniversary of the USS Constitution’s defeat of the HMS Guerriere in which she earned the name “Old Ironsides” for the cannonballs that bounced over her sides. An 1890 tracing by A H Dutton of her sail drawing is in the lab. Treatment will remove pressure sensitive tape and stains from the tracing linen, made from a drawing by Charles Ware in 1817.
On Sunday, the USS Constitution sailed across Boston Harbor to commemorate the battle, for the first time since the bicentennial in 1997 of its launching.
On 18 October 1812, U.S. sloop of war Wasp captured HM brig Frolic during the War of 1812.
This reproduction of an aquatint in colors was drawn and engraved by F. Kearny, from a sketch by Lieut. Claxton, of the Wasp. Published by C.P. Fessenden, No. 7 N. Seventh St., Philadelphia. NHHC image NH 43040. Print from the Beverley R. Robinson Collection. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland.
(Note: the National Archives has a similar copy of this print in our holdings but the version here is a higher quality scan.)