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The War of 1812
Under Fighting Sail — U.S. Super Frigates

Under Fighting Sail — U.S. Super Frigates
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.52

     challenging words:    battle-hardened, blunder, dubious, liquor, mondays, outgun, outmaneuver, shipboard, revolutionary, figurehead, ally, bluster, firepower, hardtack, launched, newly
     content words:    Royal Navy, United States, Some American, Another U. S., Revolutionary War, Paul Revere, Boston Harbor, Captain Samuel Nicholson, On Tuesdays, On Fridays-a

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Under Fighting Sail — U.S. Super Frigates
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     In 1812, the U.S. began a second war with England. A few years earlier, Britain's navy had beaten France. Now the Royal Navy ruled the high seas. It was a large, handsome fleet. Britain had a hundred of the great warships called “ships of the line.” There were dozens of frigates (a faster, medium sized warship), and countless smaller vessels. Her crews were battle-hardened after the long war with France.
2     The United States had a tiny navy. They had no ships of the line. As a matter of fact, the U.S. ocean fleet consisted of thirteen vessels. Some American crews had experienced battle against the Barbary pirates. Most were green, newly enlisted youngsters.
3     The U.S. did have a couple of things going for them. One was that U.S. crews were not made up of forced labor. U.S. sailors had chosen their job. Few men chose to be British sailors. Conditions on British ships were miserable. The British navy had to impress, or seize, men and force them to work. Part of almost every British crew was sailing under protest. Who knew what they would do in a crisis?
4     Another U.S. advantage was in the type of ships it launched. Three of the U.S. ships were new "super frigates." These were the Constitution, the United States, and the Constellation. The ships were specially designed for speed and firepower. They had been built to outgun and outmaneuver the older, smaller French and British frigates. While the older ships had 38 guns, the new U.S. frigates carried at least 44 guns.
5     These ships were the "Stealth bombers" of the early 1800s. They were the best designed, best built warships of their day. No less than 1,500 trees went into the construction of each of the three frigates. The wood of live oak trees formed the supporting timbers. The tall, majestic masts were made from perfectly tapered live oaks from the forests of Maine. The hulls were fashioned of white oak. They were sheathed in copper.

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The War of 1812
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