'Old Ironsides' to Sail Again

Oldest warship USS Constitution to mark pivotal 1812 victory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 17, 2012 4:08 PM CDT
'Old Ironsides' to Sail Again
In this 1997 file photo, the Blue Angels fly in formation over the USS Constitution. She'll sail again on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The world's oldest commissioned warship will sail under its own power for just the second time in more than a century to commemorate the battle that won it the nickname "Old Ironsides." The USS Constitution, first launched in 1797, will be tugged from its berth in Boston Harbor on Sunday to the main deepwater pathway into the harbor. It will then set out to open seas for a 10-minute cruise.

The short trip marks the day two centuries ago when the Constitution bested the British frigate HMS Guerriere in a fierce battle during the War of 1812. The vessels blasted away at each other at close range, even colliding at one point, during the 35-minute battle, and the win set off celebrations around the country. The Sunday trip follows a three-year restoration project and is the first time the Constitution has been to sea on its own since its 200th birthday in 1997. (More War of 1812 stories.)

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