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"Old Ironsides" was the nickname of the USS Constitution, an American warship that was involved in the War of 1812. This war was fought between the United States and Great Britain.
The most famous engagement in which the ship fought took place in August of 1812 when she (I don't know why ships are called "she") defeated the British ship Guerriere. During that war, she also defeated four other British warships and captured many merchant ships.
Other than the individual combats (especially with Guerriere), the ship was not involved in any famous battles or anything.
"Old Ironsides" is the nickname of the USS Constitution. She is a three-masted frigate commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1794 and named by George Washington. The USS Constitution protected American shipping during the so-called Quasi War with France (1798-1800) and attacked Tripoli during the First Barbary War (1801-1805).
She was given the name "Old Ironsides" in the War of 1812 during her battle on August 19, 1812, with the British frigate HMS Guerriere in the North Atlantic (about 750 miles from Boston). At this time, Isaac Hull was her captain. Apparently, cannonballs lobbed at "Old Ironsides" were not able to puncture the hull, and one member of her crew said that she must be constructed of iron. She is in fact built of a triple layer of oak (including southern live oak), and her copper fastenings were made by the famous Patriot Paul Revere. Her masts are constructed of pine from Maine. The HMS Guerriere was injured so badly that she wasn't even towed to port, and she was burned after surrendering to the USS Constitution. After the crew of Old Ironsides returned to Boston, they were celebrated as heroes. The boat is now a museum docked in the Charlestown Navy Yards in Massachusetts.
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