The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried
48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This
was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. Unlike
ships today, she carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers!) .
However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27,
1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement
of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon
shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."
Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping."
Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300
gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She
provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese
On 18 November, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she
defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English
merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.
By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless,
although unarmed she made a night raid upon the Firth of Clyde in
Scotland. Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred
40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed
The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February, 1799, with no
cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whiskey, and 38,600
gallons of water.
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