tv [untitled] July 4, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm EDT
my name is anne grimes rand and i am the president of the museum and pleased to share with you our newest award-winning exhibit called "all hands on deck," a look at the life of the enlisted crew who served on constitution are during the war of 1812. we have been researching who were the men at the guns? what was their experience? as we walk upstairs we'll step back into time as boston of 1812 and you'll see how we load provisions on for constitution, whether it is salted beef stored in a barrel or the live provisions, you might hear billy the goat being loaded aboard to provide fresh milk for the officers. in this exhibit we meet the enlisted sailors coming to constitution to join the crew, and it may be someone who served in the fishing fleet with a blockade they can't get to sea or after an american sailors made up 10 to 15% of constitution's crew.
in the navy in 1812 working at sea you would be paid the same wages whether you were black or white, and that wasn't true on shore. during the war of 1812 our research uncovered another crew member who was four-foot and furry member of the crew, a terrier named guerriere. his owner named him after the first victory over guerriere, and he had a job to do on board the ship catching rats in the hold, but he could also travel to any part of the ship where sailors weren't allowed into officer's country n their quarters guerriere is someone
who lets us interpret the constitution throughout all three decks with glimpses into all the lives of the sailors, so we also have the paw prints leading from the front desks of our youngest visitors, and even if you can't read you can follow the paw prints and follow the exhibit you like best. we're stepping into boston in 1812, and for the officers we would load fresh provisions on board like billy the goat here, so how do you get a goat from a small boat if you're trying to load it on constitution? you might use with our block and tackle we can bring billy closer to the ship and you would load heavy provisions. think about loading a gun barrel on constitution. constitution is full of simple machines using block and tackle or pulleys and ropes to lift heavy pieces on board the ship. here we are in boston of 1812 and a lieutenant from constitution like lieutenant morgan would have rented a room on the water front, put a notice in the newspaper and maybe get a little music or a drummer to attract attention to recruit sailors to join constitution's
crew. 200 years ago you signed on for a specific ship and captain. you didn't just join the navy like we do today. each ship had to recruit their own sailors. we'll go inside and see if you're willing to join constitution's crew in 1812. we're here in the recruiting station in our "all hands on deck" exhibit. here we ask a series of questions to see if you're willing to join constitution's crew. the ship needs about 450 men to serve on board. we ask questions are you willing to eat a biscuit as hard as a brick because these ships biscuits would have been stored in a barrel for months before you get to eat it. do you have all of your fingers? do you have all of your teeth? we're looking for healthy
sailors to serve on constitution. are you willing to sleep in a hammock next to 200 others who haven't taken a bath in awhile? at sea it is pretty smelly and sticky. we have other questions. can you name the lines on the ship? could you still remember their names at night or during a storm? if you're recruiting a crew for constitution, you want people who are willing and able to learn the skills of a sailor or arrive with the skills. depending on your level of experience you will be paid more money when you sign on board. throughout the exhibit you will meet many different people who have taken photos to represent what a sailor looked like in 1812 and this is as accurate as we can be in terms of the clothing they would have worn, what they would have looked like when they joined constitution's crew. we also look at the crew as a whole and see how today's visitors compare to constitution. we know that the average crew member in 1812 was 5'6" inches tall. the average age was 27, but we
know there were many teenagers serving on the ship, some over 50, and we know from these records that about 5 to 10% of the sailors had tattoos, whether it was an anchor or a cross or a heart. these were records kept by the british. prisoners of war wanted to know if someone ran away how could they identify those people. it gives us a profile of what the average sailor looked like in 1812. when you join constitution's crew you'll have to pack your sea bag and be away from home for two years, and this is the amount of space that you have. you have to have your shoes, your pants, vest, coat, and there is very little room for personal items that you might want to take with you. if you're an enlisted sailor, this is what you bring. if you are an officer, you will be packing multiple trunks. whipple here is someone joining as an officer in training, so he would take navigational equipment, and he would have to
provide his own telescope, his sword, get a new uniform to become a sailor. there is a great investment in money just to become an officer to dress the role of an officer because you have your nicely fitted jacket which cost him the equivalent of five months' pay. as we see the items here, that's the actual sword owned by monte whipple and this will help with you navigation in 1812, and these are instruments from that period. again, you see the press telescope, so it won't corrode at sea and that would expand out to help with ships on the horizon. throughout this exhibit we learned about many of the sailors who served on board constitution, so each person is identified. this is dorthea who worked as a
servant in the roberts' household in brookhaven, new york, and was married to william cooper, and the roberts' family employed her husband on the farm. they have two daughters, charlotte and fanny, and they have to say goodbye because william has chosen to go to sea for two years. the reason we know the story, i am afraid he doesn't have a very good fate. we know from the records of the national archives, he dies, so she applies for a pension. the only way you can get a pension from the government is to prove that you were legally married. we have a mulatto servant who married a native american and married by a preacher at the indian camp. the household she worked for, the roberts' family wrote this down, and said, "i know them and they have lived together as man and wife, and they had two children and she is deserving of
his pension." it is to bring to life the real people who served on constitution. we as historians need to find the record, the letter in the national archives to help you see how we bring to life the stories of the men who served on constitution and the women and families that they left behind. throughout this exhibit we tried to bring the story to life from the point of view of the sailors themselves, so unlike a traditional museum exhibit, all of the labels are written in the first person voice as the sailors share their story with our visitors. we invite our visitors to participate in the life of a sailor. we'll with head on deck next. when you're a sailor on a ship like constitution the marines are sort of the police force at sea, and the marines will make sure everyone does their job and does it had they should and they're where they should be. some of the people you meet as a sailor may include the purser, the person that keeps the ship's accounts.
purser 2 was the name of the constitution's purser during the war of 1812 and he keeps track of your pay or if you need to buy something, you can buy it from the purser. if you rip your pants or you need a new shirt, he can deduct that from your pay. each day the life of a sailor starts by scrubbing the deck. it wasn't a popular task with the sailors. instead of starting your day with a hot shower, you'll have to roll up your pants, get down on your hands and knees and scrub the deck. with a bucket of salt water and a holy stone you have to scrub the deck until it shines bright white. they use a piece of sandstone. it is almost like using sand paper to scrub the surface of the deck. it was called a holy stone. there are a couple of guesses for the reason, either because it looks like you're praying when you are down using a holy stone or some were small and bible size and had a number of different theories why it is called a holy stone. that's what you too. you scrub, scrub, scrub.
an officer, the lieutenant, would be proud of the white sparkly decks and the surgeon would be pleased because there would be fewer germs and probably a safer environment and the sailor who is have to scrub each morning with cold salt water aren't fond of the job. constitution sailors also work aloft when with they're serving on constitution. we have a yard here with a foot rope and you can see on the wall you can see folks working aloft on another ship. maybe we'll see if i can get visitors to join me in helping to furl the sail. if you are going to furl a sail on constitution in 1812, you have to climb up the mast on those black rat lines and you step out on the foot rope. this is our foot rope and we're each going to step on the foot rope and each time one of us steps on it, it changes the angle for other people. if i climbed up by the mast anden this i work my way out, i will slide along the foot rope and work out to the end.
if you can lean your body on the yard, then when you're throwing a sail, you need to be able to use both hands so instead of holding on you reach down and haul that up and tuck it under your tummy and haul it up and tuck it under your tummy and can haul it up and tuck it under your tummy and haul it up until you get it all the way there and then you see two lines there. there is one here and one over there. we're not there. right over left. and then if you look at that, we have the sail furled the way you need to shorten it in a storm. there is also you can see a little film clip of a merchant ship there where the men are working aloft actually working aloft 100 years ago and you can see when they're working they're leaning so much on the yard their feet pop right up there. they're not putting their weight on the feet. they have their feet on the
yard. this is footage from mystic sea port museum. it includes scrubbing the deck in the morning, working on the sales, climbing aloft, whenever the duties designed, gun drill practice and by the end of the day you are ready forest. but you don't get eight hours sleep. it is four hours on, four hours off, so only four hours to rest in the hammock and you can take a look what it is like to live below deck on the constitution. all of the hammocks would be higher like this. we lowered some so some of our smaller visitors can climb into a hammock because there is nothing better after you are working hard than climbing into the hammock and being able to enjoy a few hours of rest before you are called back to duty. if are you a sailor on constitution, it is four hours of rest and back to work. the life of a sailor is not easy. it is not what we're used to these days. it is nice to have an opportunity to think about what
was it like to be on board constitution to eat food that's been in barrels before it comes aboard the ship because 200 years ago there is no refrigeration. all of our food comes aboard in a barrel, whether it is sauerkraut. this was an attempt to prevent scurvy, if you don't get your vitamins and have enough vitamin c, sailors would be sick from scurvy. sauerkraut was one way. we also have dried beans or rice as a part of the diet. as we look at different types of food that came aboard and even in there sailors weren't the only ones that ate the food. if you look closely, you can see a rat in there enjoying some of the sailor fare as well. here we meet the ship's cook who was responsible for feeding 450 hungry sailors. in this case a sailor who injured his arm and couldn't work as a sailor anymore became
the cook doing battle with the food and cooking on a hot stove. you can see each day sailors would get ship's biscuit or what they would call their bread. each day they would get their allotment of rum or spirits, and depending upon the day of the week, they may get pork and peas. they may get beef and cheese. food that preserves in a barrel day after day, weeks after week, it is not a very interesting diet. when you came into port you could get fresh provisions but once you're at sea the fare would be similar day after day after day. one of the provisions we saw every day is what's called ship's biscuit or later on they call it hard tack. we have an example of a ship's biscuit someone took from constitution in 1861. constitution was already a famous enough ship they took the ship's biscuit home, wrote on the back it was taken from uss constitution and it has been
preserved in the collection of the mariner's museum ever since. they are generous to loan it to us for this exhibit to bring to life true stories of sailors on board constitution. the life of a sailor is curious. they're sailing to defend our rights written in the constitution, but at the same time a sailor at sea forfeits his rights because when you're on a ship at sea the captain has absolute authority. if you are part of crew and disobeyed orders you could be flogged which is to be whipped with a cat o'nine tails. this is an example because you take the pieces of the rope and you break it apart into the strands within and that would be used as a whip on the back of a sailor who was being punished for something he did wrong. there are both sides of the life of the sailor. this would certainly help keep sailors on their toes and minding officer orders but it is not something we think of as a
part of serving in our navy, certainly not today anymore. the frequency with which they used a cat o'nine tails varied according to the officers and the captains. there were regulations you couldn't get more than 12 lashes for a single offense. if a sailor was drunk and neglected his duty and said something to an officer, then he may have three different offenses for 12 lashes a piece. it wasn't used every day or as often as people tend to think. with captains like isaac hull who really did a good job of managing his crew, he infrequently used the cat o'nine tails. it is part of the story of being a sailor and always there as a threat. we have incomplete records from the war of 1812.
the records of flogging, we only have 11 recorded examples of flogging on board constitution during that time period. there may have been more. the records are incomplete. we can document 11 floggings during the war of 1812. with incomplete records there may have been more but that's what we know of. the sailor lived in fear of the possibility of being whipped by a cat o'nine tails. it was always carried by a petty officer in a bag. the thing a sailor never wanted to see is a petty officer getting ready for a flogging. you don't want to see the cat o' nine tails coming out of the bag for flogging. the youngest crew member we know of to have served on the institution during the war of 1812 was david dobias, only 8 years old. we use him to help teach people how to learn the ropes, how to tie the knots they need to shorten sail. having looked at the daily life of a sailor working on the decks of constitution, we take a look at battle. that is obviously infrequent but what you train for every day. we have a battle theater that looks at the anticipation when sailors are called to their battle stations, the thoughts of
waiting. there is a wonderful quote, the dart of death hangs and no one knows on whose head it will fall. you can think about being a sailor at their guns waiting for battle to start. during battle it is what you practice for and train for and the teamwork that makes the ship an effective fighting crew and the aftermath of battle, when you go to the decks of the enemy ship and you see what your guns have brought, that's really powerful and the words of the sailors describing that are very potent. here we take a look at the impact after battle. you have the surgeon who will do his best to save as many sailors as possible, the key when there is blood loss is amputate and bind a wound as quickly as possible to keep the sailor alive, so when constitution fought guerriere, there were
only seven dead and seven wounded on constitution. when they brought the injured over from guerriere, the surgeon, the british and the american surgeons worked together as quickly as they can to help the injured from the british ship. this is a medical case that was used by a surgeon during the war of 1812. so you can see the tools of the trade and they're very simple, but very powerful, and we have here the bone saw. richard dunn served aboard constitution during the war of 1812 and he is one that lost his leg during battle. when he came down to the surgeon's cockpit and they got out of the bone saw, the only thing he said to the constitution surgeon amos evans, you're a hard set of butchers. he was popular amongst the crew. after that he left constitution but the sailors took up a subscription and amongst the crew they contributed about $1,000 to help richard dunn. when you go into battle, you never know if you will come out a hero or prisoner of war. that was true of constitution's crew. when they went into battle three times in the war of 1812.
each time they ended up victorious. if you look in this case you can see this amazing silver urn presented to captain isaac hull. after his victory over the guerriere the people of philadelphia took up a subscription, contributed funds, and the silver maker made this enormous, beautiful urn which really created their reputation enormous, beautiful urn which created their reputation as silver smiths for the nation. so isaac hull gets the urn, where the british prisoners might have ended up in shackles on "constitution's" decks. so this urn was made by the silver smith's fletcher and gardner and it became their signature piece. it really made the reputation as a company. they put it on their trade cards. and it became their example of the fine craftsmanship they were capable. in the final gallery here, we follow the crew members that we've met throughout the exhibit, and learn a bit more about what happened to them. you met david dubias who was serving aboard "constitution" at
the age of 8. he was part of the final victory over cyane and levan and part of the prize crew to take one of the captured british ships back to boston. but along the way, they were recaptured by the british, so instead of coming home as a hero, he was then imprisoned in the caribbean. eventually, he was exchanged, returned to the united states, continued to serve in the navy, and in the merchant service. serves again on "constitution" in the 1820s. we see him here as an older man, because in the 1830s, he was serving on a merchant ship in a southern port. we still had slavery in the united states, he was walking without his papers, and he was arrested as a runaway slave. he told the local judge his story, and the local magistrate wrote down his whole story, that he was david dubias born free in boston, beacon hill, sent the
letter to the secretary of the navy and asked them to confirm his naval service. so we were able to find a letter at the national archives from the treasurer, saying, yes, david dubias was paid in 1814 for his service on "constitution." what we don't know, the local records at the courthouse burned. so we don't know if that letter was enough to free david from prison, or if he was sold into slavery. and here you see richard dunn, who we learned was injured during the battle and lost his leg. we've just recently learned that another museum in portsmith, new hampshire has his sunday leg, the leg he would have worn on special occasions on sundays. it's displayed there now while their house is open in the summertime. but in the winter, we look forward to displaying it here at the "uss constitution" museum. in this exhibit, we hope that visitors will have an opportunity to meet the sailors, to think about what was it like,
if i had lived 200 years ago, what would i have done in a similar situation? because the men who served aboard "constitution" 200 years ago were ordinary men, but they served aboard at an extraordinary time. and what they did together had impact on our nation as a whole. so here at the "uss constitution" museum, we appreciate the opportunity of sharing the rich stories of "constitution" because it's a formative time in our nation's history when we were still a young, untested nation. but the men who worked aboard "constitution" accomplished great things that helped our nation to become more of a nation, through the war of 1812, we came out feeling more united, more of a national entity. and the ship really did sail in defense of the words in the document "constitution" and helped to prove we could live on as a nation with this new form of government. when you visit boston, "uss constitution" is still an active duty navy vessel with our active
duty navy sailors giving tours on board ship. it's housed within the charlestown navy yard, which is a part of boston national historical park. so you see park rangers giving tours in the park, and of the world war ii destroyer. but here in the "uss constitution" museum, we are a private, nonprofit museum. we welcome all visitors. there's no set admission fee, but we welcome donations, since we're not funded by the government. the museum is open 7 days a week, 362 days a year, we hope you will take the time to visit boston, see old ironsides, and try your hand as a sailor in 1812. you can watch this program again at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. also there, you'll find another american artifacts program from the "uss constitution" museum that looks at the full history of the ship. including details about her
three sea battles during the war of 1812. and watch american artifacts every sunday at 8:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern. he with congress on break all this week, we're featuring some of american history tv's weekend programs in prime time here on c-span3. on thursday night, join us as we take a look at women's history, starti starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, former democratic congresswoman pat schroeder of colorado reflects on women and politics in the 1970s. 9:00 p.m. eastern, remembering first lady pat nixon who traveled to over 75 countries during her time in the white house as an ambassador of goodwill. and at 10:30, professor horowitz explores harvard's relationship with women since its founding 35 years ago. american history tv in prime time, all this week on c-span3.
american artifacts airs every sunday at 8:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern time on c-span3. and we have come now to very proud moment. we are selling george washington's personal copy of the acts of congress, consigned by the he is indicate of h. richard diedrich jr., and it is showing in the front of the room for those of you who have not had a chance to peek at it, you may do so. we will start the bidding, ladies and gentlemen at $1,300,000. 1,300,000 -- [ auctioning ] $2 million. the gentleman at $2 million. [ auctioning ]
>> further down is a passage which gives -- >> could you just begin by telling me who you are, what your position is, and why you're here in washington? >> hi. my name is francis walgren, head of books and manuscripts for christies and we're bringing significant items we've handled, the acts of congress that belonged to george washington from his library, signed by him and an know an owe stateded by him in the margins. >> you say it's one of the most important things you've ever handled. why is that? put that in perspective. >> well, both based on its significance, historical significance. his own copy of the
constitution. an owetating his copy, demonstrating his role, outlining it, virtually outlining his role as president, and setting the precedent for the future role of president, how it's interpreted from the constitution. >> you can see this very light bracketing in pencil. and writing that says president. involves approving or vetoing legislation, which is, of course, the president's purgative. so historically significant, we don't always handle things necessarily historically significant at that level. they might be valuable, but there will be another copy of a book. something like this is unique [ auctioning ]
this copy is unique. we try to find things that have sold before that you can relatively say they have a similarity and significance, iconic stature, for example. we sold -- george washington group of letters to his nephew two years ago that kind of come in around that value. >> the exterior, you can see, is very, very fine binding. classical style. with a gilded label. to reinforce that ownership, washington has affixed his
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