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Fragment of U.S.S. Constitution Flag
Linen affixed to paper
overall: 3 1/4 x 6 1/4 in.; 8.255 x 15.875 cm
Gift of the Estate of Naomi A. Keast

Fragment of U.S.S. Constitution Flag; affixed to paper card; ink inscription reads "A piece of the flag which waved over the "Constitution" during the fight in which she sank the..." (in pencil "Guer're" (sic) / War of 1812."

The Constitution's most well-known battle, against the HMS Guerriere, took place on August 19, 1812. The two ships engaged southeast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As the Constitution approached, the British ship fired but the cannons did little damage to the ship's solid oak hull. This reportedly led one American sailor to shout "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!" Since then, Constitution has also been known as "Old Ironsides." On August 19, 1812, in the space of about 35 minutes, the Constitution and her crew soundly defeated the Guerriere, losing only seven men, while the British ship lost 78, and was virtually destroyed.