| American History Stories, Volume III|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Anecdotes from the time Washington became president through the War of 1812, the rise of Andrew Jackson, and the sectional differences leading to the Civil War. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-12 |
THE CONSTITUTION AND THE GUERRIERE
ABOUT a fortnight before the unfortunate surrender of General
Hull, his nephew, Captain Isaac Hull, set sail from
 Boston Harbor, in a vessel called the Constitution.
This little vessel, which afterward became so famous,
carried fifty-four guns, and was manned by as brave a
body of men as we have ever read about in the history
of our country.
They sailed up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they
cruised about for several days, watching for English
vessels. One evening, at about six o'clock, the
English frigate Guerriere was seen not far away, making
signs to the American vessel to come and fight.
"We are quite as ready to come as they are to have us,"
said Captain Hull; and he at once ordered his men to
put on full sail, and go to meet the Guerriere.
"I wonder what vessel that is," said the English
Captain; "It can not be an American ship, I am sure."
"I am sure she shows the American flag," answered an
officer, who was watching her through a glass.
"It can't be," said the captain; "no American vessel
would dare approach us so boldly. See! she is coming
as fast as she can—under full sail."
In a few minutes, however, all doubts were settled.
The Constitution drew nearer, until the stars and
stripes were plainly to be seen.
"What daring!" cried the English crew; and at once the
Guerriere opened upon the approaching vessel a terrible
Not a gun was discharged from the American vessel.
 Another broadside from the Guerriere! Hull's officers
began to mutter among themselves. "Why may we not
return the fire?" asked they.
"Not yet," answered Hull firmly. "But one man has
already been killed by the British fire," said one of
the crew. "Is it not time to fire, then?" said
"Not quite yet," returned Hull, watching the British
boat, and pacing up and down the deck in great
Nearer and nearer drew the vessels, until they stood
almost side by side.
"Now! fire!" commanded Hull. Bang! bang! bang! went
the guns, sending such a deadly storm of fire that the
Guerriere was nearly swept clear of officers and men.
Rivers of blood poured over the deck in the track of
the terrible fire.
Never was battle more terrible! Both ships seemed
wrapped in flame and smoke; and when the smoke had
cleared away, there lay the Guerriere, her masts
broken, her sided torn with balls—a mere useless
hulk, already sinking into the sea.
The "Constitution" now drew near, cut down the English
flag, unfurled the stars and stripes in its place, took
prisoner the few remaining officers and crew, and then
set fire to the wreck.
Such was the battle between the Constitution and the
Guerriere! a brave, daring attack on the part of Hull
 his men, we know—and a brave resistance
part of the English ship. But what can compensate for
such a bloody ghastly contest!
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