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The War of 1812
"Aye, Captain!" — Old Ironsides' Isaac Hull



"Aye, Captain!" — Old Ironsides' Isaac Hull
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.94

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    atlantic, equipment-every, nearer-almost, officialdom, portly, reefing, subterfuge, weaponry, arduous, manpower, imminent, squall, fleets, frigate, darling, tactics
     content words:    Captain Isaac Hull, Captain Hull, Boston Harbor, Isaac Hull, Old Ironsides


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"Aye, Captain!" — Old Ironsides' Isaac Hull
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     In 1812, the U.S.S. Constitution was America's darling. Amid dismal news of ground troops that gave up ground, the frigate had brought the U.S. some badly needed hope. The defeat of British ships Guerriere and Java was not a big deal in a military sense. But the impact on morale was huge. The news buoyed American hearts and renewed courage.
 
2     Captain Isaac Hull was 39 in August of 1812. He was a short, portly man with a mop of dark curls. It was he who captained the frigate in her most famous meeting with history. As the voyage began, Hull immediately set out to shape his crew of raw recruits into a fighting unit. Battle drills, readying the ship and equipment—every minute was used to prepare. In their first seven days at sea, the crew drilled nine times at battle stations, loading and aiming the ship's fifty-some cannons.
 
3     Constitution's first challenge was more a battle of wits and seamanship than weaponry. Right off the U.S. coast, the frigate ran into five British ships of war. The enemy gave chase, but Constitution outran the slower British ships. The challenge came the next day when the ocean fell calm. The ship's sails hung limp. Hull put his crew to work. The Captain had his ship's boats lowered, each with a crew of oarsmen, to tow the large frigate with ropes. The British ships had the same problem, but the enemy had the advantage of more boats and manpower. In spite of the U.S. crew's arduous labor, the British were gaining on the Constitution.

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The War of 1812
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