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Yagami_Crewman

USS President: Did the British discover her secret?

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In 1815, a British squadron captured the frigate President, sister of the famed Constitution and United States. Supposedly, President HAD been regarded as the finest sailing of the trio but the British discarded her after only two years, apparently unimpressed.

 

Meantime, her sister, Constitution would undergo several refits, after which her condition seemed to deteriorate until someone realized that the diagonal riders which Joshua Humphreys designed to counter hogging had been removed. Constitution's condition markedly improved after the riders were reinstalled.

 

My question: Is it known whether the British removed these riders in an attempt to lighten and 'improve' the heavily built President? Could this be why they found the American frigate to be such a poor ship? 

 

It should be noted that the Frigate Essex, captured about the same time, was regarded by her British captures as one of the finest Frigates afloat so no national prejudice seems to figure here.

Edited by Yagami_Crewman

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Alpha Tester
150 posts
197 battles

And why they did order a new ship as exact copy of one they discarded after 2 years?

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Weekend Tester
32 posts
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Between deep-seated rot and further rot exacerbated by battle-damage and being sailed hither and yon after capture without repair for several months the President was pretty much rotted out and unsuitable for refit after a couple of years in British hands.

 

The British weren't to impressed with the President partially because she basically lost a one-on-one duel with Endymion, a ship the RN already had and knew how to build, so was not a massively over-arching threat that post-1812 American popular history likes to claim the 6 frigates as. Additionally, whilst the American frigates were fast and strong, there were also somewhat inefficiently designed and better ships could've been made for similar tonnage and expense.

 

That isn't to deride those ships overmuch, but they were somewhat like the WW2 Bismark, very powerful but not as good as they might've been had a more experienced shipbuilding nation been asked to produce a ship for a similar purpose. A good razee was better in almost every respect.

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Players
96 posts
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Putting so many 32 pounder carronades on a 5th rate was a waste of firepower in a duel between equals, only really useful for privateering or for Guerre de course. Of course, on paper, that made the President and Constitution sound impressive, able to talk up being a 44 gun frigate.

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