|The old navy--three veterans of the line: “Santee,” “constitution,” and “MacEDONIANDONIANdoniandonian” In the center of this war-time photograph rides the famous frigate “Constitution.” She was one of the four fighting-ships the construction of which, under Act of Congress of March 27, 1794, marked the birth of an adequate navy to protect the commerce of the young republic. She was the third to be launched, October 21, 1797, at Boston. Her exploits in the harbor of Tripoli in 1804 and her great fight with the “Guerriere” soon made her name a household word to all Americans. Full of years and honors in 1861, she was lying at Annapolis as a training-ship at the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion, and was in great danger of falling into the hands of the Confederates. General Benjamin F. Butler, who was in the vicinity with the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment, sent a detachment that guarded the old ship till she was towed to Newport, where she arrived May 9th under Lieutenant-Commander G. W. Rodgers, with officers and midshipmen from the Military Academy aboard. At the extreme right of the picture is the “MacEDONIANdonian,” originally a British sloop-of-war captured by the U. S. frigate “United States” in 1812. She was a spick-and-span new vessel then. In 1852-4 she sailed in Commodore Perry's fleet that opened Japan to American commerce. The outbreak of the war found her lying at Vera Cruz. The frigate on the left, the “Santee,” was a later addition to the navy, also mounting fifty guns. She served on blockade duty, chiefly in the Gulf, during the war. There, while lying off Galveston, November 7, 1861, in command of Captain Henry Eagle, some of her crew performed one of the most brilliant naval exploits that marked the beginning of hostilities. Lieutenant James E. Jouett volunteered to run into the harbor and destroy the Confederate steamer “General Rusk” and the schooner “Royal Yacht.” Near midnight the little party in two launches pulled boldly into the harbor. When almost upon the “General Rusk,” Lieutenant Jouett's launch grounded and was run into by the second launch. With the Confederates thus aroused and several steamers speeding to find him in the darkness, Lieutenant Jouett nevertheless determined to board. After a thrilling encounter, he made prisoners of the crew and destroyed the schooner, returning with a loss of one killed and six wounded.|
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