Isaac Hull

WAR OF 1812

Watch a short presentation about Isaac Hull made by Derby Historical Director Julia Baldini on the occasion of the issuance of the 2012 U.S.S. Constitution stamp

Click here for "The Constitution Hornpipe"

Isaac Hull was born in Derby in 1773. His father was a sea captain and Isaac learned his nautical skills in Derby before joining the merchant service and commanding his first ship at the age of 19. When the new United States Navy was created in 1798, Isaac Hull was appointed a lieutenant on one of the four ships built for the new navy.

When Hull attained the rank of captain in the American Navy, he was put in command of the U.S.S. Constitution. On Aug. 19, 1812 the Constitution became engaged in a battle with the Guerriere, an English Navy vessel. Within one half hour, the Constitution had won the battle, making it the first  naval win for the U.S. during the War of 1812. Hull had used his heavier broadsides and his ship’s superior sailing ability, while the British, to their astonishment, saw that their shot seemed to rebound harmlessly off Constitution’s hull — giving her the nickname 'Old Ironsides'. This battle marked the first time in history that an English frigate had struck its flag to an American ship of war.

Hull went on to command the Portsmouth Naval Yard and build the USS Washington, the largest American  battleship ever built to that time. Hull was Promoted to commodore in 1823. After Portsmouth he commanded the Pacific squadron, the Washington Navy Yard, and the Mediterranean squadron.

The U.S.S. Constitution is the oldest commissioned battleship in the U.S. Navy and is still on display in Boston Harbor.

For more information, use the following links:

  • Listen to a song about the battle and Commodore Hull's leadership by clicking here.

  • Visit the official site for "Old Ironsides" by clicking here.

  • Read the poem "Old Ironsides" by Oliver Wendell Holmes by clicking here

Commodore Hull Bridge

The Route 8 bridge between Derby and Shelton is named for him, and there is an annual 5K road race between Shelton and Derby named for him.

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